Our main focus in this release, codenamed Firefly, was on scalability and stabilization. We are proud to officially announce that we can now simultaneously host and manage up to 10K Robots in Orchestrator.
Security is one of the most basic needs we have in life, if you are to believe Maslow. Therefore, we constantly keep an eye out for things that could elevate our security standards, and, normally, this release features multiple security improvements.
Starting with this release, we decided to refine our versioning scheme to major.minor.patch. The major number represents the year the release is delivered in, and will be modified if incompatible changes are needed. The minor number will be increased each time we add functionality in a backwards-compatible manner and the patch number every time we make backwards-compatible bug fixes.
New Features and Enhancements
To make your deployments run even smoother, especially when we're discussing large ones, we made a few changes to how licenses are consumed. Attended Robots use a named license, which is dependent on the number of users, regardless of the number of machines you are actually using. Unattended Robots use a node-locked license, which depends on the machines you deploy them on. If you are planning on deploying a High Density environment (Windows Server), each robot you have on a machine is counted. You can find out more if you take a look at the documentation.
Reviewing one’s work and knowing what went well and what didn’t is an important task for all of us. Consequently, we thought of easing the queue item reviewing process by bringing it closer to the real deal. You can assign a reviewer to transactions that failed or were abandoned. Once the deed is done, you can reassign it or just get on with it. And don’t worry, all these actions can be viewed in the Transaction Details window. You can find out more in the Orchestrator guide.
Starting with this release, users have the ability to change their own password without requiring edit user permissions. Also, the Profile page now has its own login history, which states whether anyone attempted to login or perform profile-related actions.
The tenant management functionality has been improved and now enables you to be a pretty powerful Orchestrator wizard. As a system admin you can now enable and disable tenants with just a click, and you can check the last time a user was active on a specific tenant.
The system admin now has their very own user profile page in which they can change his password and view all the available login attempts. Application and security settings can now be configured at this level, for an extra touch of control. For more information, take a peak at the tenant documentation.
As mentioned previously, we really take security seriously. Don’t take our word for it, just read on:
Account lockout settings were added to help protect users from Brute Force attacks. You can now prevent additional login attempts for a period of time after a number of failed ones. These settings are configurable per Tenant.
Logging in with the same user on a different machine now disconnects the user from the first machine.
Users with the Administrator role can edit user information even for currently logged in users, including the password.
To further ensure account security, passwords can be set to expire after a certain number of days.
The X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff response header has been added to all available API calls, thus helping you protect your data from bad requests.
A mechanism has been added which prevents the auto-complete feature of web browsers in all Orchestrator credential fields, to help you keep your passwords safe and sound.
Auditing is an essential part of managing a large robotic workforce, so this update brings several improvements to the Audit page in Orchestrator:
An assessment on the evolution of your automation projects that can’t be analyzed by using any tool you prefer is fruitless in the long run. Thus, the entire content of the Audit page can be downloaded as a .csv file.
In every release we like to improve your user experience, and this release is not different. We fixed a few inconsistencies here and there, and generally made data easier to reach and to get around, especially when dealing with large deployments.
For example, the currently selected Robots are now displayed in the Start Job and Manage Environment windows, while the Transactions page was redesigned for an easier understanding, searching, and sorting of details, including by start and end times.
Seeing you all enjoy poking around with the Orchestrator API, we made a few changes in there. We added a few new endpoints to help you ensure your Orchestrator instance is up and running, to raise alerts in Orchestrator, as well as mark them as read, to request permission-related information, and to extract the entire history of an indicated queue item.
Remember that part about assigning a reviewer to a queue item? You can do it from the API too, as well as find out who is in the process of reviewing a failed or abandoned transaction.
The name of the queue can now be used to help you filter transactions in API requests. The parameter validation process on the API side was improved, throwing appropriate 400 Bad Request errors when you try to do too much with too little.
All endpoints now contain documentation about what permissions are required to perform requests. No more second guessing yourself.
All these changes, coupled with the new activities we prepared, help you include Orchestrator even more in your workflow logic and automate more. Try out the API here.
Centralized Robot Settings
As promised, we focused our attention on helping you set up large deployments in an easier manner. One way in which we did this is by adding the runtime settings of Robots in Orchestrator. You can configure the logging level, the login to console, as well as the resolution settings when first provisioning the Robot or later, if you had a change of heart.
Logging and Reporting
Logging is an essential part of the automation process, as it provides an in-depth overview of all actions performed by a Robot. Therefore, in an ongoing process to improve it, we have added several new features, such as:
We’ve added a new log field in all the Execution logs, called logType, which clearly specifies what kind of log you’re looking at, as the distinction between Default logs generated by the UiPath Platform and User logs, created via the Write Line or Log Message activities was not crystal clear.
The Transaction End log entry that is generated whenever a process is finalized contains several new log fields, further detailing each transaction.
For the sake of transparency, exception logging now includes any Inner Exception, without stating that the inner exception itself should be accessed for more details.
No one likes spam, so whenever an email alert cannot be sent due to various reasons, the multiple errors that appeared in the Event Viewer are now replaced by a single error message containing all the necessary details.
Lastly, we’ve added better support for execution reports, by adding the jobId to the queue items it is processing.
The Robotic Enterprise Framework (in the Start > New section of Studio) now replaces the old Transaction Business Process. This type of project offers an out-of-the-box automation template that uses all of the best practices we have learned in our implementation experiences, comprising logging, exception handling, application initialization and others, and being ready to tackle a complex business scenario.
We’ve improved the way Studio loads all menus and icons in the UI when starting up, thus achieving a shorter overall startup time. Also, the Activities Panel is no longer dependent on your internet connection, which further enhances the startup speed.
If you’re using Windows 10 for your projects, you might be happy to know that the Recording wizard has been optimized for Universal Windows Platform apps, such as the good old Calculator. To do this, you have to switch to the UI Automation framework by using F4 while recording. This also means recording-specific hotkeys, such as F2 (Pause) or F3 (Select Area) work like a charm now.
We know that in complex automations with apps like SAP, the selector IDs can be very long, so we’ve made UiExplorer selector IDs no longer truncated at 64 characters. That means you can get a hold of both control elements and parent containers!
While using the Indicate On Screen feature of activities or the Recorder, the Active UI Framework can now be switched by using F4.
With the decision to add Release Notes for all future activity pack releases, the Activities Guide has been rearranged to reflect this change. These are now grouped by the activity pack they are part of. There are also other goodies in store for you, just visit the guide and see for yourself!
For more flexibility, you can now integrate easier with the Orchestrator API from your automation project. We have added activities in the Core pack for the most used actions:
- Update Assets (Simple or Credential)
- Raise Alert
- Query Jobs and Queue items
- Delete Queue Items
- Start and Stop Jobs
For any other requests you need, you can now use the generic Orchestrator HTTP Request activity that automatically authenticates your Robot to Orchestrator.
We now support Tesseract 4.0 which comes with a new OCR engine based on LSTM neural networks. This results in a higher scraping accuracy across all languages.
If you use Elasticsearch with Orchestrator, you might be glad to hear that the installation wizard helps you automatically set up Elasticsearch details. Moreover, enabling Windows authentication has also been moved at the setup level. No more complicated configurations, just pasting in a graphical interface.
Last but not least, you might want to know that the database creation and/or upgrade is now done during the installation, regardless of the method you are using: scripts, Azure scripts or Windows installer.
- Modifying the deadline of a queue item or postponing it no longer counts as an item retry. Now, their status is only changed to new, thus not affecting the queues’ auto-retry mechanism.
- Count stats are no longer displayed through API calls for users that do not have rights.
- If you manually set the cookie expiration value to 1 minute in the web.config file and then waited for the session to expire, the cookie’s expiration date was automatically set to 14 days.
- The Orchestrator’s server banner is no longer displayed in response headers.
- If the DeploymentURL was set to an invalid feed location, but with a valid domain such as https://www.uipath.com/, the HTML from the target webpage was shown in the Packages page.
- It is now possible to fill in the Tenant Name field with Japanese characters.
- Fixed an issue that made it possible to also delete queue items that were in the in progress status by using the API.
- The Cron expression field in the Add Schedule window is now trimmed for extra spaces, preventing the expression from being accidentally formatted in a wrong way.
- It is no longer possible to add new items with a duplicate reference, if the unique references feature was enforced at queue level, even if existing items were postponed.
- Queue charts were not properly displayed if Orchestrator and the SQL database were installed on different machines and had different time zones.
- If you changed the permissions of the user you were logged in with, they were not automatically applied.
- The Asset Type field is no longer editable through the Edit Asset window.
- User-generated content is no longer returned in an invalid login session error message.
- The Save button is no longer displayed for users that do not have Settings edit permission.
- Invalid results were returned when trying to search for the new word in the Audit page.
- In the Audit page, Assets displayed boolValue, intValue and stringValue in the Audit Data window. These properties have been replaced by the Value property.
- Fixed an issue where the robot was still available in Orchestrator even though it had crashed.
- In rare cases, the Robot failed to install the latest available dependent activities pack, even if it existed in the local feed and an older version was available in the Orchestrator feed.
- The time format in exported logs is now set to the timezone you chose for your Orchestrator instance.
- In rare cases, if you triggered an execution on many Robots on the same automation project, at the same time, some failed to install the package.
- The Robot now installs dependent activity packages when not found on the Orchestrator Feed, but found locally.
- To help you easily understand what is going on, failing to connect Robots to Orchestrator using the ConnectionString parameter now throws relevant errors in the Event Viewer.
- Starting a job on a Robot while it was still logging out caused the Robot service to fail.
- Fixed an issue that prevented recording and identifying items with UiExplorer in Windows 10 and Edge from working properly.
- From Recording, the Send Hotkey activity wasn’t able to indicate elements on all applications.
- From Recording, Send Hotkey wasn’t able to send Enter, but typed it in instead.
- Since stability is a mark of quality, we’ve tackled some more of those random crashes happening with Studio to give you the best experience yet.
- We’ve fixed an issue that caused a large amount of unused activity packages to be downloaded when installing a new activity package.
- Cells in Excel 2016 were not recognizable by UiExplorer.
- The Package Manager window did not correctly display information on activity packages. Also, after searching for something in the Package Manager, the focus was lost and subsequent searches could not be performed.
- Variables of int32 type, declared for TimeoutMS, were removed from all activities in which they were referenced if Manage Variables > Remove Unreferenced was used.
- The Output panel caused hangs and sometimes freezes in Studio.
- If you opened multiple workflows in the same Studio instance, keyboard shortcuts and contextual menus did not function properly.
- In some cases, an out of memory exception was thrown if your workflow dealt with repeated operations on large images.
- The Click activity used with the SimulateClick property did not work with Windows 10 applications.
- Window elements were not properly identified if you minimized the Java application you were automating. Now they are brought to the foreground and properly identified.
- Text from the Command Prompt could not be properly retrieved when using the Automatic scraping method.
- Running a workflow that invokes a custom activity threw an error.
- Using the Send Hotkey activity failed when sending hotkeys that closed an Internet Explorer window.
- The Close Tab activity didn’t work in Firefox.
- The Generate Table feature did not work when using OCR for scraping the data.
- F2 and ESC did not work while recording inside a PDF file opened in Acrobat Reader.
- Selectors could not be retrieved in the Java Applet. Also, fixed a detection issue with UI Automation on Java based applications created with Java v1.3.
- Double Click did not work in Chrome.
- If you assign a reviewer to a queue item while a job is still processing items from that queue, the reviewer is not assigned and the following error is displayed: “Some items have not been updated. Reason(s): the items have already been modified by another user.”
- When updating a Robot’s logging level, the action type will be audited under the name of ExecutionSettings.
- With each upgrade on Orchestrator, customers will lose their saved filters in the Audit page. Also, manipulating comments on transactions is audited on the main Audit page, instead of the History tab.
- In rare cases, the Robot stops working and throws an error which states that it does not have access to a temporary file. This is caused by a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 issue and can be solved by installing this hotfix.
- Studio stops working on machines that have the KB4055002 update on Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. As a workaround, manually uninstall this .Net framework update and install the next version, KB 4055532.
- Every invoked .xaml file whose title contains a dot has all the text that is before the dot (including the dot) replaced with an underscore ("_").
- The Set Text activity does not work on Java 1.3 applications, if the Text property contains only two double quotes (“”).
- Microsoft OCR fails when scraping small images.
NOTE: The 2017.1 version of the UiPath Platform is now on a Fast Time Support track.