Clicknium VS RPA

RPA is in full boom these days, more and more individuals and organizations start adopting RPA in different areas to replace repeatitive tasks by leveraging different automation technologies. Based on this, we are comparing Clicknium to RPA, especially from development perspective, to understand what could be a better option in accomplishing automation tasks in different use scenarios.

Clicknium is a GUI automation framework, developers can write python script with clicknium to do GUI automation for web and desktop applications.

Attended robots and unattended robots reflect some typical RPA usage scenarios, so we try to find out the differences, pros & cons when using both types of tools to accomplish same tasks in these scenarios. And from the comparison, RPA editor could be a good option for users without much programming knowledge, and clicknium could be better if the users are professional developers, especially when automating some complex end to end business workflow without people monitoring during task execution.

What is RPA

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation. It is software which can interact with systems like human, and help to automate repetitive tasks by leveraging various types of automation technologies.


  • RPA editor. RPA editor is a development tool for users to write software bots. Users normally write bots by drag-drop automation components to a canvas to form a visualized workflow, and configure each component ‘s properties. The automation components provide capabilities like GUI automation for web, GUI automation for desktop applications, clerical processing functions like interacting with Microsoft Office, logical framework to orchestrate workflow and interaction components with humans, and more. Some RPA editors may also provide coding toolset to help users implement some customized functions or complex data processing logic.
  • RPA bots. It is an RPA tool for running automation workflow, normally categorized as unattended robots and attended robots. Unattended robots are deployed to run automation workflow that may be triggered automatically . The workflow is out of human’s supervision during execution. Attended robots are deployed to run automation workflow that may be triggered by human on-demand, and they are also called assistants running on users’ working computers. The workflow is running with human’s supervision, and humans may interact with workflow during the execution.
  • RPA control center. It is a centralized platform to manage RPA workflow, RPA bots and RPA execution scheduling. The enterprise level features like security and auditing may also be supported in this platform. AI integration. AI is also integrated to RPA for unstructured data processing, especially AI capabilities like extracting content from images and documents.
  • Marketplace. This is a platform to host some RPA components which are provided by 3rd party individuals or organizations as a supplement to enlarge editor’s automation coverage.


  • Clerical work automation. RPA is widely introduced to improve efficiency by bringing automation to clerical works, like automating some repetitive tasks, web scraping and logical business workflow.
  • Low code pattern. Users implement automation workflow by drag-drop components to canvas in a graphical view. Not many programming skills are required, and there is a trend that RPA editors are more and more friendly to clerical workers known as citizen developers.

What is Clicknium

Clicknium is a new generation GUI automation framework. It contains programming SDK, and code editor (like visual studio code) extension to help developers write automation related code easily. There are similar automation frameworks like selenium, playwright and autoit. Selenium and playwright can only support web page automation, and autoit can only support some desktop application automation. While Clicknium automation covers more, it can support both web and desktop applications, and is more reliable in GUI automation operations with AI powered drivers.


  • Code editor extension. Clicknium provides code editor extension to improve developer’s experience in writing GUI automation code in well-known code editors (like Visual Studio Code). Regarding implementing GUI automation, there are two important factors: one is to locate the UI element that you want to take action on; the other is to invoke a method which can precisely reflect the behavior of the expected action. Code editor extension helps developers generate UI locators more easily than writing XPath and CssSelector, which brings higher development efficiency and also lowers the bar for any new beginner to start automation.
  • Programming sdk. Clicknium python package provides unified programming interface to write automation. As it supports both web and desktop applications, developers don’t have to learn different programming interfaces and can focus more on the scenarios. The Clicknium python package now is available to download via pip install clicknium. Other languages support is on the way.
  • Cloud store. Clicknium cloud store is a centralized platform for users to share UI locators, so the locators can be captured once and shared among different projects repeatedly. Whenever the target UI changes, users can update the locators in the cloud store, then the automation scripts can automatically reference to the latest locators without updating each automation project one by one.


  • End to end automation. For its full coverage of automation, higher efficiency in development, and stability in execution, Clicknium can be used in UI test automation. In both web testing and desktop application UI testing. Since the locators and code are decoupled, the test engineers can maintain the test projects by simply updating the locators if only product UI is modified.
  • Business process automation. Such as web scraping, filling data into web form, migrating data between systems, SAP tasks automation, data tracking and processing etc.
  • Professional development. Users implement automation by writing code, so it requires users to have basic programming language knowledge, like Python.

How to Compare

From a broader view, RPA stands for a new typical IT solution to improve people’s efficiency by replacing repetitive tasks with software bots. It is a new mindset and a new way to solve a type of problem. While clicknium is a product for writing automation, we compare clicknium to RPA editor in writing automation workflow.

To get a full view of the complete RPA solution, we illustrates its six stages shown as the below picture. It starts from idea to development, to deploy and long term execution and maintenance. Several roles are involved in the life cycle, while we specifically make a comparison in the development stage as a developer role.


As we mentioned above, there are two typical scenarios from execution perspectives: attended bots and unattended bots. Due to the complexity, different development skills may be required to implement the related automation workflow for developers. Hence, we make a comparison of the tools when they develop workflows in different scenarios.

Attended bot scenarios

Attended bots means automation tasks must be triggered by humans, or human intervention is required during the automation execution, such as decision making, logging into a system etc. It could help the business worker save time by reducing some repetitive tasks.

  • Usually used in front office operations.
  • It is normally part of a complete business process. Like processing a batch of requests in a running system, and scrapping data for further analysis etc.
  • The process logic could be simple and straightforward for users to accomplish the same tasks.
  • The automation is triggered on demand by users manually, so no complex scheduling configuration is required.
  • The process’s running time could be short, and it could be running under human supervision, so there is no need of negative engineering to make the workflow error tolerant. Users can take intervention when anything unexpected happens.
  • The process’s lifetime could be short. The automation could be implemented within 5 minutes to save ad-hoc 1 hour cost if the repetitive tasks are performed by humans.
  • It normally requires low programming skills, as the process logic could be simple and straightforward, and it is not necessary to be error tolerant.
  • Business workers can be trained to develop such processes.
Ease of Use– Graphical flow view is straightforward and easy to understand when the logic is simple
– Low learning cost and easy to start for citizen developers
– Need a certain level of programming language knowledge
– Not user-friendly to citizen developers without programming knowledge
Capabilities– Web and desktop application automation
– Office document automation
-Database integration
-User interactions
-More from market
– Web and desktop application automation
– More from Python ecosystem to support almost anything
Cost– Community version for limited use
– Paid version
– Free version available
– Paid version for more support
Compatibility– Workflow is required to run in a specific RPA bot
– Different RPA bots are incompatible with each other, so you need to rewrite the automation if switching to a new RPA product
– Python is popular and you can use any code editor you like
– Packaged project can be running independently

Unattended bot scenarios

Unattended bots means automation tasks are executed in a predefined manner, the execution is beyond human supervision, like order processing, data scraping, data migration etc. It is running as a digital workforce to replace humans to process some repetitive work.

  • Usually used in back office operations.
  • It normally consists of complete unit of business process. Like continuously processing incoming orders following specific rules, performing data migration whenever a specific event is triggered.
  • The process logic could be complex . For example, an incoming order could be processed differently in different conditions, and when some errors happen, retry logic should be taken to ensure a success rate that makes the automation workflow resilient and reliable.
  • The process is configured to run on schedule, like running during working hours, or on events, like running when a ticket is received in the system. The schedule could be configured in a centralized platform, or on a back office computer.
  • The process is running without real time human supervision. The video/logs are normally necessary to track the process execution, so in any case of failure, users can investigate and fix the automation process through the tracking data.
  • The process’s lifetime could be long, the process is expected to run on a regular basis that consists of a complete business workflow. Unless the business logic is changed end to end, the automation process logic won’t be changed much.
  • As the process is being part of end to end business operations, the process execution success rate has to be guaranteed at a certain level so that human resource can be pulled out of the loop. To achieve this, maintenance work is necessary along with monitoring to ensure high SLA.
  • To implement complex unattended bot scenarios, no matter what tool is used, the developers are required to master the programming skills . Learning courses or taking trainings may not be enough, the developers should also practice a lot in real projects, know what is right and wrong, and earn rich experience in engineering for a resilient and stable process.
Ease of Use– The complex workflow may not be easy to read in graphical view, especially the parameters needed to click to see
– The development efficiency could be low as drilling through may be taken quite often due to limited editing space
– Complex data processing may not be well defined in existing RPA components, users need to find a way (like a code block) to customize the logic
– Professional developers may need extra learning costs for advanced RPA features to implement some complex logic
– Almost impossible for RPA citizen developers
– User-friendly to professional developers to write automation code in familiar code editor, without extra cost to learn new tools
– Python code can support complex logic natively
– Writing code efficiency is higher than RPA drag-drop operations for professional developers
Capabilities– Web and desktop application automation
– Office document automation
– Database integration
– User interactions
– Code blocks for customized action
– More from market
– Web and desktop application automation by clicknium
– More from Python ecosystem to support almost anything
Cost– Paid version may be required for full support– Free version for development
Paid version for additional configuration
Compatibility– Workflow is required to run in an RPA bot software
– Different RPA bots are incompatible with each other, you need to rewrite the automation if switching to a new RPA
– Python is popular and can be edited in any code editor you like
– Packaged project is independent to run
– Easily integrated into any orchestration system


While RPA is becoming more and more popular, we take RPA as a concept of solving a typical problem in a new way. In comparison with clicknium, we emphasize on the development experience in implementing automation workflow.

From the analysis above, we can see:

  • For business users who want to write some automation workflow to improve front office operations, if the repetitive tasks are not complex, RPA editor is a good option.
  • For professional users who want to write automation workflow that is expected to run a long time without human intervention, clicknium is a good option.


What are your feelings