There are many Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools in the market now, some with huge price tags and some so complicated that they need their own “RPA University”. But the main aim of RPA is simple: To let the bot do the tasks which are easy, repetitive and documented – so that by using these rules a bot (macro) is able to complete the task.
In this post we compare UIPath with Automation Anywhere (AA) and UI.Vision RPA.
UIPath vs Automation Anywhere
The table below compares the key features of the two well-known Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools. As third option it includes the specs of UI.Vision RPA, the popular lightweight and open-source alternative to the big name RPA tools.
|Enterprise Pricing||Very expensive||Very expensive||$499-$2499|
|Free Version available||Yes||Yes?||Yes|
|Supported Platforms||Win only||Win only||Win, Mac, Linux|
|Security Rating||Good||Good||Very Good|
|Openness||Medium (Open forums)||Low (Forum not very active)||Very high (Open-Source, Forums)|
|Text Recognition (OCR)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Supported Browser||IE, Chrome, Firefox||IE, Chrome, Firefox||Chrome, Firefox, Edge|
|Selenium IDE compatible||No||No||Yes|
|Script language||VB||C#||Many (API)|
|Advanced Scheduling||Yes||Yes||With external tools|
In addition to comparing UIPath and Automation Anywhere, the table above contains the UI.Vision RPA software specs, a popular lightweight alternative to the big name RPA tools.
At a9t9 we work in the computer vision, AI and usability space, so this is where we focus our comparison.
UIPath and Automation Anywhere both do not mention their Enterprise pricing on their websites. You need to ask their sales team for a quote. UIPath is rumored to have a 450 million revenue with 2000 customers, so this means each customer pays in average 225,000 US$ per year for its license (source: TechCrunch reporting on 2019/3/22). The UI.Vision RPA Enterprise Edition has a public price list that starts at US$ 499, which is roughly 500(!) times less.
UIPath and UI.Vision RPA offer a free version of their tools with some limitations, but still very useful. The UI.Vision Web Automation Core is completely free to use, without any limitations.
Both UIPath and Automation Anywhere are well-known trustworthy companies. But their code is closed source. So you must trust these companies that they do not send of critical corporate information to outside servers. By contrast, the UI.Vision RPA core is open-source, so you can easily check that no information is send anywhere. We require a software to be Open-Source to be eligible for a very good security rating.
Desktop automation and Citrix automation is sometimes also called “RDA” (Robotic Desktop Automation). This section rates the usefulness of the tool to automate tasks on the users desktop. Note that UIPath and Blue Prism can only automate tasks on a Windows desktop, whereas UI.Vision’s desktop automation works on Mac and Linux desktops as well.
For desktop automation to work, you need to keep the desktop unlocked. This is true for all RPA software tools. The best way to do this securely is to run the automation in an unlocked virtual machine (VM) inside a locked server. For the virtual machine, we recommend to use a Linux machine, since Linux VMs are much smaller and faster then a comparable Windows VM. And there are no license issues with Linux. Using a Linux VM for desktop automation is only possible with the UI.Vision RPA tool. UIPath and Automation Anywhere can not utilize Linux VMs, as they are Windows only tools.
Web automation means Browser Automation. It is the ability to automate tasks directly in the web browser. Typical tasks include form filling, data up- and download and web scraping, the extraction from information from websites. For web automation UI.Vision RPA brings a key advantage to the table by having Selenium-compatible commands. So if you know Selenium, you will be right at home with UI.Vision RPA. And in the other direction, if you know how to automate tasks with UI.Vision RPA, you are trained for the Selenium IDE at the same time.
All automation tools have one thing in common: Unless the task or test to automate is very basic, you must expect to have to “script” or “program” part of the solution. UIPath uses an proprietary visual languge. In addition it supports the VB.NET language, a language that is rarely used otherwise. Blue Prism uses the more popular C#. And UI.Vision exposes a command line API that allows you to use it with any programming or scripting language, for example (in alphabetic order) C#, Java, Node.JS, PowerShell, Python, VB.NET, VBS and to combine it with other tools like AutoHotKey.
UIPath and Automation Anywhere IDE
The UIPath tools allow the user to “draw” a workflow within a flow chart editor. This is helpful for beginners and marketed as “no coding” solution. Here is how this looks:
UIPath has a modern-looking UI but “Programming by flowchart” was pioneered by LabView decades ago. Visual programming remained a niche solution since “flow chart source code” becomes very difficult to debug and maintain as your scripts grows. And sharing code snippets is difficult, as you can not copy and paste “flowcharts” easily e. g. in a forum. These are two of the many reasons why it remained a niche.
The Automation Anywhere UI has no flow chart options. It is a rather complex user interface, but with many powerful options and is developer friendly.
By contrast, the UI.Vision tool uses the classic text based approach, similar to other known tools like the Selenium IDE. UI.Vision focuses on computer-vision and AI powered automation. For everything else, UI.Vision can be combined with any scripting or programming language like Powershell or Python. For example, for Office automation you are better of using the standard Microsoft VBA scripting, instead of the proprietary Word and Excel components of UIPath.
RPA Market Overview
For more RPA Market Overview blog posts please see
- UIPath vs Automation Anywhere (this post)
- UIPath Pricing
- UIPath vs Blue Prism
- AutoHotKey vs AutoIT
- Sikuli vs AutoHotKey
- Selenium IDE vs Katalon vs UI.Vision
Planned future reviews: Cognizant, Contextor (acquired by SAP), Kofax, Kryon Systems, NICE Systems, Pegasystems and WorkFusion.