Is RPA Just Scripting?


Heather Bennett

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has gained significant attention in recent years as a powerful tool for automating repetitive tasks and improving operational efficiency. However, there is a common misconception that RPA is simply scripting. In this article, we will explore this misconception and understand the key differences between RPA and scripting.

What is Scripting?

Scripting refers to the process of writing a series of instructions or commands that are executed by a computer program. Scripts are typically written in programming languages such as Python, JavaScript, or PowerShell. They are used to automate specific tasks, manipulate data, or perform calculations.

However, scripting is limited in its capabilities:

  • Lack of user interface: Scripts often lack a user-friendly interface, making them less accessible to non-technical users.
  • Difficulty in handling complex workflows: Scripting may become cumbersome when dealing with complex business processes that involve multiple systems and decision-making.
  • Fragility: Scripts can be fragile and prone to errors if not maintained properly. A small change in the underlying system can break the script.

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

RPA, on the other hand, goes beyond traditional scripting by imitating human actions to perform tasks across multiple applications. It is designed to mimic human interactions with software systems and automate repetitive tasks without requiring any changes to the existing systems or infrastructure.

RPA offers several advantages over scripting:

  • User-friendly interface: RPA tools typically come with visual interfaces that allow users to design automation workflows using drag-and-drop functionality. This makes it easier for non-technical users to create and maintain automation processes.
  • Robustness: RPA bots are resilient and can adapt to changes in the underlying systems.

    They can handle exceptions, retry failed steps, and recover from errors without human intervention.

  • Integration capabilities: RPA enables seamless integration with various systems, including legacy applications, web interfaces, APIs, and databases. It can retrieve data from different sources and perform actions across multiple systems as part of a single automated process.
  • Scalability: RPA allows organizations to scale automation efforts quickly. Multiple bots can be deployed to handle high-volume tasks simultaneously, increasing productivity and efficiency.

RPA vs. Scripting: Key Differences

RPA and scripting differ in their approach and purpose. While scripting focuses on automating specific tasks within a programming language framework, RPA aims to automate end-to-end business processes by mimicking human actions across multiple applications.

The key differences between RPA and scripting are:

1. User Interface

RPA provides a visual interface that allows users to design automation workflows without coding knowledge. Scripting requires expertise in programming languages to write code manually for automation.

2. Complexity Handling

RPA is better suited for handling complex workflows involving multiple systems, decision-making, and exception handling. Scripting may become cumbersome when dealing with such complexity.

3. Maintenance

RPA bots are more robust and require less maintenance compared to scripts. Changes in underlying systems or interfaces can break scripts but have minimal impact on properly designed RPA workflows.

4. Scalability

RPA allows organizations to scale automation efforts quickly by deploying multiple bots. Scripting may require significant manual effort and code modifications to achieve scalability.


In conclusion, RPA is not just scripting. While scripting focuses on automating specific tasks within a programming language framework, RPA goes beyond by automating end-to-end business processes with a user-friendly interface, robustness, integration capabilities, and scalability. Understanding the differences between RPA and scripting is essential for organizations looking to leverage automation technologies effectively.

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