Automating Legacy Apps with Zoho RPA for Data Extraction (API & Webhooks)

Extracting data out of legacy applications can take a long time and be boring. When done manually, there is room for mistakes and differences. Therefore, automation seems like the right answer. To make extracting data from legacy apps more efficient, Zoho RPA can perform this task automatically. To automate scraping data from a legacy app...

Published on June 19, 2024

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Extracting data out of legacy applications can take a long time and be boring. When done manually, there is room for mistakes and differences. Therefore, automation seems like the right answer. To make extracting data from legacy apps more efficient, Zoho RPA can perform this task automatically.

To automate scraping data from a legacy app with Zoho RPA and save it into CSV file format, follow the steps described in this article which use webhooks/API triggers to execute a Zoho RPA flow to execute the automation.

Introduction

The lack of modern APIs for data exchange is a common problem with legacy applications. Zoho RPA addresses this issue by allowing automation via user interface (UI) interactions. In this post, we will give you a detailed explanation of how to create workflows in Zoho RPA that scrape information from old apps and also show you the steps for creating flows in Zoho RPA to automate this process.

Step 1: Setting Up the Environment

Sign up or log in to your Zoho RPA account. Choose the legacy app you want to automate for data scraping, such as a password manager like KeePass or an ERP solution like BlueSeer.

Install Postman or a similar API platform for building and using APIs to test webhooks.

1.1

 

Step 2: Configuring Zoho RPA

The first step is to create an RPA flow. Log in to your Zoho RPA account and click Create Flow to start a new flow, naming it (e.g., LegacyAppScraper).

2.1

 

The next step is to add an RPA agent. RPA agents are software robots that automate tasks on your desktop.

During the flow setup, click Create Agent. Download and install the agent for your system. Apply the installation key to activate the RPA agent. Enter the agent name “LegacyAppScraper” and paste the agent key. Click Next and then Done.

2.2

 

The next step is to set up an API trigger to activate this RPA flow with the help of an RPA agent.

Configure the flow to trigger via a webhook by selecting the Webhook option. Choose JSON as the payload format and copy the unique endpoint URL.

2.3

 

Next, test the API trigger using Postman:

Open Postman and select POST as the method. Paste the endpoint URL to trigger the webhook and click Send.

Return to the Zoho RPA page to check if it receives a response. If it does, congratulations! The test is complete.

2.4

 

After testing the webhook, click Done to complete the Zoho RPA flow setup. You are now ready to configure your workflow to automate data scraping from the legacy app using the Zoho RPA agent you created earlier.

2.5

 

Step 3: Automate Data Extraction from Legacy App

We will utilize various actions available in the Builder section of the Zoho RPA flow to create a workflow for automating data extraction from a legacy app.

The initial step is to launch the application. Add an Open Application action to initiate the application launch. When you drag the Open Application action to the flow, it will prompt you to navigate to your Windows desktop.

Double-click on the legacy application you wish to launch and press Ctrl + Left-click to inform the RPA agent that this is the application you intend to launch.

3.1

 

To click a button in your legacy app, use the Click action in RPA flow builder. Use the Set Text action to write your username and password or to enter data in your legacy app.

To press a button, we will use the Click action. You can press Ctrl + Left to specify the key or option you wish to press.

3.2

 

For this specific legacy app, we will extract the data into a CSV file. To do so, first, we use the Click action to select “Entry,” and then we use the Click action again to select “Select All” and choose all the entries in the database.

3.3

 

Use the Click action again to select “File” and click on “Export” to export the database entries.

3.4

 

Use the Click action to select “KeePass CSV.” Once selected, use the Click action again to specify the destination for the file containing the data, and click OK using the same reliable Click action.

3.5

 

Use the Click action in RPA flow builder to click on “Confirm Export” to successfully export the data from your legacy app.

3.6

 

The process will successfully import the extracted data into a CSV file.

3.7

 

Step 4: Finalizing and Testing the RPA Flow

As a final step, ensure that all actions are correctly configured and linked in the workflow. Before publishing or enabling the RPA flow, it’s important to test it. Press the Test & Debug option in Zoho RPA

4.1

 

Now it’s time to trigger the RPA flow via a webhook. Use Postman or a similar tool to trigger the webhook by sending a POST request using the webhook URL.

After clicking on Test & Debug, copy the test URL and paste it into Postman, then click Send.

The test URL will look something like:

https://rpa.zoho.com/853490449/flow/webhook/incoming?zapikey=1001.72b548ecc375b7924582933753dbfd2b.81e7d57b05b709a0825ce1ccb6522aa9&isdebug=false.

4.2

 

Wait for the response and see if the webhook received any response. If yes, then click on Test to test the RPA flow.

4.3

 

After successfully testing your RPA flow to extract data from a legacy app, ensure that the flow is enabled in Zoho RPA, and you are ready to go.

4.4

 

Verify the output by checking the CSV file to ensure that the data was processed correctly.

4.5

 

By following these steps, you can configure Zoho RPA to scrape data from different legacy apps and store it in a CSV file. This approach leverages the available actions within Zoho RPA to achieve the desired automation.

Verdict

Now you have learned how to set up Zoho RPA for automating data extraction from outdated applications. This involves using UI interaction capabilities and webhooks of Zoho RPA to automate tasks without modern APIs which are absent in the legacy applications.

By customizing user interface interaction actions according to the interface of a particular application, Zoho RPA can automate the data extraction process from different legacy applications with ease.

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