This article will help you to get started using FoxHub and understand how the application can help you schedule and orchestrate your bots. If you experience any issues while setting up FoxHub or when trying to connect to any bots, please reference the FoxHub Deployment/Troubleshoot Guide available as a link in the middle of this article.
Remember, if your objective is to schedule your Foxtrot projects, you may also consider using the approach using .bat files. You can read more about it in this article. The FoxHub application is the latest application in the product suite offering a very user-friendly method for scheduling your projects. If you are an advanced user looking for comprehensive scheduling options, batch files is probably the way to go.
If you wish to schedule Foxtrot on virtual machines and servers (Remote Desktops) make sure to read this article.
Important General Notes
Before you start using FoxHub, it is essential that you are aware of these facts and make sure that all your projects executed via the FoxHub comply:
- You need to have at least one general error task surrounding your whole project that is making sure to end the job using the action "Go to End" under "Flow" in the action list. It is also recommended to close all the applications before so. Remember to set all actions in any error task to "Ignore Errors" in the top-right corner of the action settings.
- Do not use the "Close Me" action in projects executed via FoxHub. Always use the "Got to End" action instead. If you, for example in an error task, need to end the project, use the action "Go to End" under "Flow" in the action list.
- Do not use the "Stop Me" action in projects executed via the FoxHub as this will cause significant issues.
- FoxHub will utilize your Foxtrot and FoxBot licenses the same way. So, it handles your license pool as a total number of available bots, and the scripts running through the FoxHub will always run via the FoxBot app.
- All FoxHub and Bot machines must be on the same version of Foxtrot Suite to communicate properly.
- All communication between the FoxHub and the Bot machine happens through the "FoxService.exe" service. If you experience significant issues, make sure to restart the service.
- All machines must reside on the same network.
- Bots can be set up on either virtual or physical machines.
- FoxHub must be running in order to send work to your bots. If FoxHub is closed, all bots will stop their work. Therefore, if you restart your machine, you must restart FoxHub as well. A tip is to set FoxHub to automatically start when the machine is started.
- If a job is started at a moment where no licenses are available, the job will fail and not start. It is a coming feature to be able to have the job waiting for a license to be available. Until then, we recommend to make sure to always have an available license on the machine where the bot is running.
It is important to note that everything done in FoxHub is stored locally in the "C:\ProgramData\Foxtrot Suite\FTManager.mdb" file. Settings in a FoxHub is specific to the FoxHub on the same machine. At the moment, it is not possible to share FoxHub settings between multiple machines. Also, it is important to note that only one FoxHub can be opened on the same machine, therefore, if you are working on a server with multiple users, only one user can have FoxHub opened to administrate the bots. If you experience any issues or malfunctions in FoxHub, you may consider renaming or deleting the "FTManager.mdb" file to reset the settings of FoxHub.
Getting started is fairly quick and easy:
- Step 1: Add your bots into FoxHub.
- Step 2: Add a Job specifying the project. Select which bot(s) should participate in this project.
- Step 3: Once the Job has been added, choose the desired method to start your Jobs. The Job will be placed in the queue and FoxHub will begin distributing the work to your bots.
There is no additional installation needed in order to use your FoxHub. Simply open the application on your machine and proceed.
Before you can begin issuing work to bots, each bot must be added into FoxHub. By default, your local machine is already added as a bot in your FoxHub. If all you need to run automation on your own machine, you do not need to add any additional bots. If you are on a server or need to connect to other machines, go to the bot page in FoxHub and click the plus icon to add a bot. Enter the bot name (the computer name where FoxBot is installed) then click OK.
This is an example of adding a bot from a server. When working with servers, you need to specify the exact Windows user you wish to work on. FoxHub will automatically suggest an appropriate port number to use.
This is an example of a list of bots. You can add notes to bots and everything else in FoxHub similarly to things in Foxtrot.
Now that your Bots have been added, you are ready to set up the Jobs you wish to run thru FoxHub. To do this, go to the Jobs view and click the large Plus icon. There are two options available:
- Solo Job - A Solo Job is one that will be worked by a single bot that does not involve a database (this is the most used type of job)
- Data Job - A Data Job is one that will be worked by multiple bots based on a database file (this is rarely used and for advanced users)
There are three ways to run a job:
- To tell a job to run now, you can right-click the Job in the Jobs view and select Run.
- To tell a job to run at a certain time, either once or recurring, you can go to the Schedule view and then click on the plus icon in the top right corner to schedule a job.
If scheduling your jobs, please make sure to read the instructions at the top of the article under "Important General Notes" and this article.
When using the scheduler, make sure that your date-format settings are aligned on your machine. These two settings need to be aligned: general date format and language for non-Unicode programs.
- To tell a job to run when a certain event happens, you can go to the Trigger view and then click on the plus icon in the top right corner to set up a trigger for your job.
Looking for a way to trigger your project based on emails? Read this article.
Once any of the three options are activated, an item (job) is added to the Queue, and it will begin running. When a Job runs, FoxHub will contact all bots assigned to the Job. If a bot is available to participate, FoxHub will assign the job to the given bot to execute the job.
To receive notification when a bot errors, set up your email account in FoxHub by clicking Email Settings on the Alerts menu.