Comparison Table – Top Automation Systems

Once you’ve read our 10 +1 most striking points to note on our Review and Comparison of the top Automation Systems in the market, you may want to see them all at the next level of detail: AutoMate, WinAutomation, RoboTask, and Automation Anywhere.

A table says more than a thousand words… – right? Well, there are more than a thousand words in this one!

Criteria – key points AutoMate WinAutomation RoboTask Automation Anywhere
Editions offered Professional, Premium (and BPA Server Standard/ Enterprise) Standard, Professional Lite (free) and Full Standard, Premier, Server
Recommended Edition (and why) Professional for individual user; Premium (or BPA Server Standard/ Enterprise) for enterprise (multi-user, Network, Legacy systems, etc) – Note: Automations CANNOT be compiled to .exe! Professional for individual user and enterprise (required to compile Automations to .exe) Full for individual user and enterprise (required in order to have Loop, Email, Clipboard, FTP etc Actions) – Note: Automations CANNOT be compiled to .exe! Premier for individual user (required to compile Automations to .exe), but see note below on Integration Pack; Server for enterprise (multi-user, Network, Legacy systems, etc)
Price (2011) $1,495 for Professional, $4,995 for Premium, $5,995/ $14,995 for BPA Server; plus $595 per Runtime Licence (to execute on another system)! $285 for Professional (includes Addons too) $120 for Personal (non-commercial) licence, $180 for Business licence $2,495 for Premier; plus $5,500 for Integration Pack (if you need Email automation, Web server integration, OCR, or Terminal Actions)
Licensing concept Execution of Automations requires licence per system! Execution of Automations on unlimited number of systems Execution of Automations requires licence per system! Execution of Automations on unlimited number of systems
Give Automations to friends, customers, etc NO – everyone needs Runtime Licence (Automations need to be interpreted during runtime) YES – can be given/sold to anyone (Automations can be compiled to run stand-alone) NO – everyone needs Runtime Licence (Automations need to be interpreted during runtime) YES – can be given/sold to anyone (Automations can be compiled to run stand-alone)
Primary user group Computer experts like Programmers, Network managers, System Administrators, and other IT Professionals Ordinary computer users who like things plain and structured Ordinary computer users who want to start on their automation endeavor using a simple, basic, robust, and fast Automation System Ordinary computer users who fancy graphics, easy step-instructions, and rigid out-of-the-box solutions
Customer Support responsiveness None! – They use a ticket system and close even UNanswered tickets automatically every week! Outstanding – fast, friendly, trend-setting! Using plain English – Personal Emails, attentive Quick – but anonymous Emails, broken English, and minimal response Friendly but slow – For every answer I have to wait a week (minimum), and anonymous Emails!
Help documentation Very detailed, but highly technical (and incomplete in v8, eg the help on Available Actions); NO relevancy indication! Weak (v3.1) – little help in addition to the context-sensitive help – however, shows relevancy indication to quickly find the most relevant pages Not too detailed, but okay – however, English language errors make it stressful to read No details at all – however, spells everything out with 1, 2, 3 (etc), and shows relevancy indication to quickly find the most relevant pages
Developed in USA Greece Ukraine USA
MS NET Framework required YES YES YES YES
Variables (1) Private (Local) Variables, Public (External) Variables (passing values from one Automation to another), Static Variables (passing values between subroutine/ procedure calls), 100s of System Variables (Functions); 13 data types: Text, Number (of various bit length), Boolean, List and Table (both of consistent data type, incl. Auto ie General values, and Dynamic – for both!), Variant Variables (holding General values), Constants/ Read-only Variables, File, Folder, Date-Time, Active-X Object, Currency, and any User-defined type! Local Variables, External Variables (passing values from one Automation to another), Persistent Variables (passing values from one execution to the next), Encrypted Persistent Variables, limited System Variables (Functions); 8 data types: Text, Number, Boolean, List (of consistent data type, incl. Auto ie List of General values, and Dynamic List), Table (of consistent data type), File, Folder, Date-Time Global Variables (default), Local Variables, 88 System Variables (Functions); 6 data types: Text, Number, List (of consistent data type), (no Table!), File, Folder, Date-Time; Nice built-in functionality: Variables can be exported and imported as XML file (useful since RoboTask has no dynamic Variable management – only WinAutomation has this) Variables (like Actions) are structurally a mess (and related Help documentation a bad joke)! – VERY LIMITED System Variables (Functions); 6 data types: Text, Number, List (of consistent data type), (no Table!), File, Folder, Date-Time
Action Groups (in Recommended Edition for individual) (2) 26 Groups: Variables, Loops, Text, System, FTP, Database, Services, Excel, Compression, Window, Clipboard, Wait, Files, Flow, Network, Dialog, Advanced, Session, Interactivity, Multimedia, XML, Security, Active Directory, Timer, Cryptography, AutoMate 23 Groups: Variables, Loops, Text, System, FTP, Database, Services, Excel, Compression, Window, Clipboard, Wait, Files, Folders, Flow Control, Conditionals, Web, Email, Message Boxes, Mouse and Keyboard, Date Time, WinAutomation, Twitter (free Addon) 23 Groups: Variables, Loops and Flows, Strings, Windows NT/2000/XP, FTP, Zip, Window, Clipboard, Files and Folders, Internet, Email, Web Documents, Dialogs, Mouse, Dial-Up, Task, Registry, Network, Regular Expressions, Basic, CD-DVD Writer, RoboTask, General 22 Groups: Loops, String Operations, System, FTP, Database, Services, Excel, Window, Clipboard, Wait, Files/Folders, If/Else, Web Recorder, Email Automation, Prompts, Screen Capture, Printers, Play Sound, Error Handling, Terminal Emulator, XML, all others
Actual number of Actions (in Recommended Edition for individual user) (3) 210(!) in Professional (Marketing claims 250) – 231(!) in Premium (Marketing claims 461) 182 (incl. 38 Twitter Actions) 132 (incl. all Plugin Actions) 174(!) in Premier (Marketing claims 380)
Number of Actions that are genuinely different (in Recommended Edition for individual user) (3) 162 genuinely different Actions of related functionality in Professional edition! 111 genuinely different Actions of related functionality in Professional edition! 98 genuinely different Actions of related functionality in Full edition 83 genuinely different Actions of related functionality in Premier edition!
Run-time error handling on System-level (Email, Run other Automation), on Automation-level (Email, Log file, Run other Automation, Windows event log), on Action-level (Retry, Run other Automation, Set Variable, Email, Sound, Log file, Windows event log; Stop, Continue, Break loop, Goto label, Goto Action) on System-level (Email, Log file, Run other Automation, Windows event log), on Automation-level (Email, Log file, Run other Automation, Windows event log), on Action-level (Retry, Run other Automation, Set Variable; Stop, Continue, Goto label) on System-level (none), on Automation- and Action level (Log file, Run other Automation, Stop, Continue) on System-level (none), on Automation- and Action level (Email, Log file, Run other Automation, Take snapshot; Stop, Continue)
Automation Designer features (4)
       
Cause-based error handling YES YES NO NO
Design-time error detection NO YES – instantly, with cause! NO NO
My Actions list YES NO NO NO
Summary of Actions used that have specific features Variables, Labels, Comments, Attachments NO NO Mouse moves, Mouse clicks, Keystrokes, Delays, Other
Variables created/deleted dynamically NO YES NO NO
Sensible default naming of all Variables NO YES NO NO
Debugger YES – powerful, but unnecessarily complicated YES – powerful, easy to use NO NO
Expression builder YES – very powerful: all operands, Variables and Constants, (mathematical, text, and other) Functions, and execution objects (errors and triggers; only Attachments missing) NO NO NO
Regex integration YES YES YES NO
Color-code different types of steps YES NO – colors are fixed: Actions black, Comments green, Variables and own text blue NO – everything black NO – colors are fixed: Loops and Conditionals blue, Comments green, rest black
Run selected steps YES YES YES YES
Ease and speed of Automation design and editing intricate and slow response! very easy and instantly! easy and instantly – fastest of all! easy and acceptable speed
Automation flexibility/ room for creativity Very flexible! Very flexible Acceptable flexibility Limited flexibility!
Search for Actions YES YES NO NO
Context-sensitive Action help NO YES YES NO
Structuring an Automation YES – powerful feature Regions NO – must use Comments to give an Automation structure NO – must use Comments to give an Automation structure NO – must use Comments to give an Automation structure
Enable/Disable Actions YES YES YES YES
Automation Administration        
Execution Triggers 15
Schedule (date/time, interval), Keyboard (hotkey, word), Process, File/Folder, Idle System, Service, Windows Event Log, Startup, System Performance, Window, SNMP Trap, WMI; multiple triggers possible, trigger usable as Variable
10
Schedule (date/time, interval), Keyboard (hotkey), Process, File/Folder, Idle System, Service, Windows Event Log, Ping; multiple triggers possible, trigger usable as Variable
17
Schedule (date/time, interval), Keyboard (hotkey), File/Folder, Idle System, Tray Icon, Window, Dial-up connection, System time change, Spooler change, Device change, Global Variable change, Battery power, Monitor color palette change, Logoff, Receive command from another system; multiple triggers possible, trigger usable as Variable
13
Schedule (date/time, interval), Keyboard (hotkey), Process, File/Folder, Idle System, Service, Performance, Window, Incoming Email, Startup, Logon; multiple triggers possible
User account management NO – only in BPA Server Enterprise edition NO NO NO – only in Server edition
Password-protected execution YES NO NO YES
Password protection and Encryption of Automations YES NO NO YES
Execution when logged off YES YES YES YES
Automation attachments integrated in .aml file (but note: NO .exe files anyway!) NO (must combine .exe and attachments in zip archive) integrated (but note: NO .exe files anyway!) NO (must combine .exe and attachments in zip archive)
Automation execution calendar past and future executions past and future executions past executions only past and future executions
Report generation/ Log Success, Failure, All, Scheduled (all as simple table) Info, Warning, Error, and All events (all as simple table) Errors only, Errors and Warnings, All Messages Automation runs, Workflow runs, Automation timeline, Workflow timeline, ROI (all graphical)
Visual Presentation        
Appearance of User Interface very appealing simple – but fast and effective extremely plain – but fastest of all! simple – but appealing
Menu style Ribbon or Menu and Toolbar Menu and Toolbar Menu and Toolbar Menu and Toolbar
Graphical Automation presentation NO NO NO YES
Automation Scope        
Terminal emulation NO – only in BPA Server Enterprise edition NO NO NO – requires Integration Pack
Unicode support YES YES NO NO
Specialties        
Replicate recorded user input (keyboard and mouse) NO – works only on systems up to Windows XP! YES YES – but only mouse movements and clicks, no keyboard input! YES
Windows Object Recorder NO NO NO YES
Direct web browser interaction YES (Firefox and IE) NO (planned for v4) NO – instead uses a simple integrated browser YES
Context-sensitive Web Recorder NO NO (planned for v4) NO YES
Web Data Extraction YES NO (but easy to implement with existing Actions) NO YES
Image recognition NO – only Pixel recognition (intricate) YES NO YES
OCR NO (this should be the next major functionality!) NO (sadly, apparently, not planned) NO NO – requires Integration Pack ($5,500 – oh yes!)
Application Integration NO NO NO NO – requires Integration Pack (but then can integrate any application!)

 

Please Note: If something says “NO” in the table, it generally does not mean that you cannot do it with that Automation System, it’s just not a functionality already built-in (predefined). But to allow you to build (or design) an Automation Solution for generally anything you can imagine – this exactly is, and should be, the purpose of a modern Automation Software System. All Top Automation Systems allow you to do this: AutoMate, WinAutomation, RoboTask, and Automation Anywhere. – Depending on what you want to do, it will be easier and quicker with one or the other Automation System though.

When you are ready, here’s the next level of detail: Actions comparison table of the top Automation Systems.

 

Legend

(1) Variables: The variety of Variables offered in an Automation Software System materially influences how easy it will be to design an Automation for whatever aim the user may have.

(2) Action Groups: Of course, 1) the naming of Action Groups, 2) the naming of Actions and their allocation to an Action Group, and 3) the functionality of each Action differs across the Automation Software Providers. But only an experienced user will notice the genuine differences in the functionality offered by each Automation Software System. Therefore, in this Automation Software Review here on AUTOMATION.all-time-best.com, we follow a systematic approach and compare all Actions in detail.

Regardless of the naming in an individual Automation System, the Crucial Action Groups for Automation Software are: User Interactions, Variables, Flow Control, Loops, Text, File and Folder Management, Excel, System, and Connectivity. – All modern Automation Software Systems offer Actions that fulfil (at least) the basic functionality required in these Action Groups.

(3) Actions: The number of Actions an Automation Software System offers is meaningless: It is easy to inflate the number of Actions (by splitting related functionality into multiple Actions) or to keep it to a minimum (by combining related functionality into a single Action).

(4) Automation Designer: Task Editor is the more common but less appropriate language. The Top Automation Software Systems in the market, AutoMate, WinAutomation, RoboTask, and Automation Anywhere, allow for far more than just automating a task! A broader term is job, however job relates to occupation, and the use of modern Automation Systems is not restricted to the business or office world, instead they allow you to design an Automation for anything – including your hobby and any other private matters. Therefore, we speak more accurately of Automation, not task or job. Likewise, you don’t just edit an Automation, you build or design one (per drag & drop and applied process logic) – including testing, debugging, editing it, and possibly setting triggers, user rights, protection features, etc.

One may argue that the language used is not important – but then, why do we use language at all? Misunderstandings are best avoided by using the most appropriate language.

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