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Pondering Automation: How do you do what you do?

Shaun Roberts
Cisco Employee

Howdy out there in automation land! Over the past couple of months(more like years) I've always had one question asked of me that I really have not addressed yet. That question is "How do you do what you do?" More-so, how do I write processes/automation from scratch. Even in general coding a lot of people have issues in just getting started. So I figured I would take a use case and run it through soup to nuts (as they say) and show you how I would develop it out from mapping it out until having it run and succeed. This use-case is not a massive use-case or even a full program, but it should give you enough information and get you going in the right direction.


A couple of the things I use a lot are things like powerpoint, visio, and pseudo code. You have to be able to convert the English (or whatever language) you speak and the thoughts you have into a program. I use Powerpoint and Visio to diagram what I'm going to do. I still use pen/pencil and paper to jot out ideas and map what I'm going to do as well. Furthering this I use pseudo code to get a good idea about what I can expect during the development cycle. Through my development I do stress testing small chunks of code as well. I suggest developing a small chunk of code and running it and testing and making sure you get the expected output (to that point) each time. I suggest you make liberal use of the set variable activity and set outputs to local/temp variables along the way so you can see what's going on in your process. (although sometimes you do not need this as the activities will show output). So in turn, you should spec out your code, you should pseudo code, and you should incremental test a ton! I think I've typed enough now... and you want to see it all in action, so please watch this recording and I hope you gain a ton out of it.



Shaun's Monthly Q/A


No questions this month! Hopefully we'll get some in to answer for next time!



Every month I will pick a handful of questions from you, the reading CPO public, to answer in this part of the blog. Please post comments/questions below. I will no longer be using the external e-mail from previous blogs.


Please also let me know if you like the format of this blog and what else you would like to see/know about. Feel free to give any ideas as to future blog posts, etc and I will be happy to post them. I hope to  do more how-tos, best practices, tips, tricks, and hopefully some interviews of the important people behind the scenes of CPO.



WEEKLY AUTOMATION BLOG DISCLAIMER: As always, this is a blog and my (Shaun Roberts) thoughts on CPO, my thoughts on best practices, and my experiences with the product and customers. The above views are in  no way representative of Cisco or any of it's partners, etc. None  of these views, etc are supported and this is not a place to find standard product support. If you need standard product support  please do so via the current call in numbers on or email



Thanks to all for reading and happy automating!



-Shaun Roberts

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