Simple No-Code Bots and Automation for Beginners

noellarkin

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I'm far from an expert on botting, but I've been working on my skillset for close to a year now, and am reasonably proficient when it comes to scaling to a couple thousand bots, using JS based browser automation, and distributing botting operations across multiple computers. I'm still pretty clueless about reverse engineering HTTP requests, but I'm learning :)

However, this is definitely NOT how I started out. I didn't have any prior experience in coding, and when I started botting a year ago, I used simple no-code solutions that helped me understand the overall architecture of botting, as well as things like scaling considerations. No-code RPA bots worked quite well for 20-50 bots.

There's usually a new "how do I write a bot for XYZ" question here once a week, this post is for those people.

If you want to write bots quickly and easily, without having to learn how to code, try using the following:

Pulover's Macro Creator:
A UI front-end for AutoHotkey. Great for making simple bots. A good way to start understanding basics like flow of control.

Actiona:
Has better image recognition than Pulover, and basic DB read write functions like writing to INI and CSV.

OpenRPA:
A powerful, fully featured no-code automation solution, has significant system overhead though. It's also complex enough that you might as well start learning coding if you're using it.

Browser Automation Studio:
A good software to start learning how to use things like XPath and Selectors. I never used it much, because by the time I learned XPath and Selectors, I was already coding, but worth a shot.

iMacros:
Great for in-browser automation, and I've seen people scale iMacros way more than you'd expect.

Which One Is The Best:
Test them out. They're all free. This isn't hard to do.


Oh, and this:
Browser Profiles:
The easiest way to manage bot profiles when you're starting out. Browser extensions can help you do things like setting proxies for profiles, bypassing ReCaptcha, and importing/exporting cookies for your profiles.



Transitioning From No-Code Solutions To Coding

You may never have to make that shift. It depends on how much you want to scale your bots. If you're just dealing with 20-50 bots, maybe 100, no-code solutions are all you need. The determining factor is Opportunity Cost: how much time are you willing to spend on learning coding, that you could be using to get new clients, focusing on other elements of marketing and business etc.

However, if you really want to transition out of no-code solutions, the factors that will tip the scales are:

1. Distributed Computing:
At some point, a single computer or VPS will be inadequate. Deploying and syncing bots across multiple systems cannot be done effectively with most no-code solutions.

2. Resource Optimization:
RAM and processor bottlenecks. Coding forces you to learn memory management and how to design your bots for better concurrency. No-Code solutions are also weighed down by things like UI and learning to code allows you to trim the fat from your bots.

3. Database Management:
Good db management for bots is pretty non existent for no-code solutions. The best you can do is write to CSV files. Once you scale your bots, the optimal DB is a centralized server running something like Directus. You're going to have to learn how to design a relational database for your bots and specify your entities so you can scale them, as well as log errors and use the statistical data to find patterns (example: if you're logging your bots and doing the right checks, you may notice that all bots that are using a particular IP are getting their accounts blocked - - this is really hard to do manually once you cross 1k bots). Having good DB management will also help you make consistent "personae" for your bots, making them more realistic, with their own interests, personalities and corresponding cookie profiles.

4. APIs
If you want to start working with APIs, most no-code solutions aren't going to work for you. Even if some of them support API related functions, at that point you're better off just learning how to code.


The way to start learning coding when it comes to bots, is just fire up your browser console (CTRL+SHIFT+K in Firefox), and start learning how to write basic JS to interact with the browser. Something as simple as:

Code:
window.document.location.href='https://www.google.com/'

Did it work?

If yes, realise that, instead of manually typing that snippet into the browser console, you can remotely inject that code into the console by opening a WebSocket and using the browser's documented API. For me, learning that browsers had a built-in API for remote injection of code was the point at which I decided to start learning how to code.

Hope this helps people who are in the situation I was in a year ago: no coding experience, and wanting to run a few bots for social media marketing.
This is just a 30,000 ft view. All the details have already been explained on this forum, multiple times, by people far more competent and experienced than I, so use the search feature if you want to learn more.
 

Oleb

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I started learning python for this particular purpose
thanks for your valuable insight
 

reaaski

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Don't confuse javascript with a programming language.

You can call typescript a programming language. But it's just a better version of js.

Don't try to understand programming writing javascript. Learn backend and databases first.

The only thing you need from javascript is DOM manipulation and some events. It's done by libraries / frameworks anyways which syntactically are hard to compare to plain javascript.

So learning plain javascript is kind of pointless.
 

noellarkin

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Don't confuse javascript with a programming language.

You can call typescript a programming language. But it's just a better version of js.

Don't try to understand programming writing javascript. Learn backend and databases first.

The only thing you need from javascript is DOM manipulation and some events. It's done by libraries / frameworks anyways which syntactically are hard to compare to plain javascript.

So learning plain javascript is kind of pointless.
Makes sense.
IMO understanding that at the end of the day it just boils down to an open TCP socket/HTTP server (like what webdriver does) sending a command to the browser to manipulate the DOM was what made it 'click' in my head.
It also made me stop 'shopping' for what the 'best language for botting' was since I realized they all did roughly the same thing when it came to browser operations, and the decision had more to do with which language had better libraries for db, data analytics etc.
After that, as you said, it was largely about db management, concurrency, resource utilization.
 

reaaski

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with which language had better libraries for db, data analytics etc.
Mix and match. PHP for API, JS for frontend, dart for a mobile app and low level language for some other operation.

Then analyze your data using Python and train your models.

webdriver
This should be avoided in botting unless you have some exceptional knowledge about inner workings of it.

Stackoverflow is not the best place to learn how to code bots (this is where you will hear to start botting using webdriver).

It's a place full of jerks, like reddit for programmers or smth.
 

Oleb

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Mix and match. PHP for API, JS for frontend, dart for a mobile app and low level language for some other operation.
Then I think I now now where to head once I have a good knowledge of python

I saw people doing auto blogging that's what really made me getting hooked. Ofc before that I was programming just for the fun but the auto blogging unlocked something in me
 

reaaski

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Then I think I now now where to head once I have a good knowledge of python

I saw people doing auto blogging that's what really made me getting hooked. Ofc before that I was programming just for the fun but the auto blogging unlocked something in me
If you don't build UIs, maybe try django.

If you are eager to learn new patterns and explore new ways of thinking try one of these:
1. laravel + vue + nuxt,
2. nest + angular,
3. django (if you want to stay in python) + react + react query + next.

Build APIs for your bots. Turn them into reusable libraries and keep them in your private repositories.

These are some pairs I have found to blow everything else away.

Having reactive interfaces for your bots and everything you do can take it to another level. You realize how much stuff you can control, twist around and mix. Another thing is you can sell it to 1000s of people if you feel like that.

Remember to do as much stuff as you can through automation command line interfaces bring to you. Generate CRUD, database schema and all that stuff automatically. Don't write repetitive stuff by hand. If you find something to be repetitive, create a script for that. The frameworks I listed allow doing that easily.

If you have some problem to solve, find a solution on github. Just yesterday I found 3 libraries that would take me weeks to code.

Use MySQL database since it's what Wordpress uses and it will come in handy in many projects. Don't focus on fancy stuff like graphql unless you understand clear benefit of that (can be just money, a lot of companies want graphql apps).
 

Oleb

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If you don't build UIs, maybe try django.

If you are eager to learn new patterns and explore new ways of thinking try one of these:
1. laravel + vue + nuxt,
2. nest + angular,
3. django (if you want to stay in python) + react + react query + next.

Build APIs for your bots. Turn them into reusable libraries and keep them in your private repositories.

These are some pairs I have found to blow everything else away.

Having reactive interfaces for your bots and everything you do can take it to another level. You realize how much stuff you can control, twist around and mix. Another thing is you can sell it to 1000s of people if you feel like that.

Remember to do as much stuff as you can through automation command line interfaces bring to you. Generate CRUD, database schema and all that stuff automatically. Don't write repetitive stuff by hand. If you find something to be repetitive, create a script for that. The frameworks I listed allow doing that easily.

If you have some problem to solve, find a solution on github. Just yesterday I found 3 libraries that would take me weeks to code.

Use MySQL database since it's what Wordpress uses and it will come in handy in many projects. Don't focus on fancy stuff like graphql unless you understand clear benefit of that (can be just money, a lot of companies want graphql apps).
Really appreciate that
Thanks man
 

RealDaddy

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Thanks for the info. One question: Do you think that it's possible to build a complete SaaS using no code? Because most of the "SaaS" built with no code is downright garbage. I mean, someone built a website, where you can see stock prices, and then he called it a SaaS.

g6R9B9Q.gif

Really? Why can't I use Google for that?
And he was actually charging $49/year for that, it's insane.
Enlighten me, please!
 

Techno_Cats

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If you don't build UIs, maybe try django.

If you are eager to learn new patterns and explore new ways of thinking try one of these:
1. laravel + vue + nuxt,
2. nest + angular,
3. django (if you want to stay in python) + react + react query + next.

Build APIs for your bots. Turn them into reusable libraries and keep them in your private repositories.

These are some pairs I have found to blow everything else away.

Having reactive interfaces for your bots and everything you do can take it to another level. You realize how much stuff you can control, twist around and mix. Another thing is you can sell it to 1000s of people if you feel like that.

Remember to do as much stuff as you can through automation command line interfaces bring to you. Generate CRUD, database schema and all that stuff automatically. Don't write repetitive stuff by hand. If you find something to be repetitive, create a script for that. The frameworks I listed allow doing that easily.

If you have some problem to solve, find a solution on github. Just yesterday I found 3 libraries that would take me weeks to code.

Use MySQL database since it's what Wordpress uses and it will come in handy in many projects. Don't focus on fancy stuff like graphql unless you understand clear benefit of that (can be just money, a lot of companies want graphql apps).
Will this work for web automation? i need to do web automation to scrape data from browser network. . i need to make Telegram bot that will handle my client requests that will be some action commands for web automation to scrape data from the browser network.
 
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