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What's new in Pega Robotic Automation

Suggest edit Updated on November 16, 2021
Attention: November 17, 2021. To see a preview of the future of robotic automation, download the Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview 2 today. This is the second version of the v21 Preview and it includes several new features, including a utility that lets you migrate your 19.1 solutions to v21. For more information, see Overview of the Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview.

We also encourage you to check out the various Pega Robot Studio Preview training modules to get an overview of the new interface and how the new, re-imagined version of Robot Studio can accelerate automation development. Links to the various modules are provided in the Overview.
 

Pega Robotic Automation 19.1 includes significant changes to the product infrastructure, and continues work that began in version 8.0 SP1. The infrastructure changes modularize Pega Robotic Automation so that you no longer have to update the entire product each time a component changes. Additionally, the system now only downloads the actual changes, which means smaller, faster downloads. For more information on this and other changes, see the Pega Robotic Automation version 19.1 Release Notes.

Note: For more information on Pega Robot Manager, see What's new in Pega Robot Manager.

What's new in recent builds

For detailed information about all the changes in the version 19.1 builds, see Build Notes: Pega Robotic Automation 19.1.

Replacing controls in automations

The new Replace usages wizard guides you through the process of replacing the automation blocks of one control with that of another control. The controls are typically in different adapters, but you can use this wizard to replace components or other Toolbox items that are used within an automation. For example, you can use the Replace usages wizard to assist in migrating web adapter (Microsoft Internet Explorer) automations to Universal web adapter (Microsoft Edge) automations.The Replace usages wizard is included in build 19.1.95 and later. For more information, see Replacing controls in automations.

Ask the Expert -- Pega Robotics

Want to talk to a real robotic automation expert? Learn tips and tricks from an automation pro? Join Thomas Sasnett, Lead System Architect, in this Ask the Expert session, which runs from 13 September through 24 September 2021. Thomas will be discussing all items pertaining to Pega Robotic Automation, including migrating to Edge or Chrome from Internet Explorer. If you miss the session, you can learn from the questions and answers that are captured on the Collaboration Center.

Support for IE compatibility mode in Microsoft Edge

Version 19.1.86 adds support for Internet Explorer (IE) mode for interrogation and automation in the Microsoft Edge browser. IE compatibility mode on Microsoft Edge makes it easy to access all of the sites your organization needs from a single browser. IE compatibility mode uses the Chromium engine for modern sites, and the legacy Internet Explorer 11 engine for legacy sites.

For more information, see Microsoft Edge (Chromium) Support in Pega Robotic Automation

Windows Server 2019 support

In April 2021, the Robotic Automation team verified support for Microsoft Windows Server 2019 in build 19.1.51 and later. You must also install Pega Native Foundation 10.1.13.2004 or later to use Windows Server 2019. Pega Package Server and Server Status Page 3.1.3.0, Pega Synchronization Engine 3.1.13.0, and Pega Synchronization Server 3.1.13.0 have also been tested with Windows Server 2019.

.NET Core update

Version 19.1.77 updates the Pega Synchronization Server, the Pega Package Server, and the Server Status Page to use Microsoft .NET Core 3.1. There is no change in functionality. For more information, see the 19.1 build notes.

ActiveX support

Version 19.1.76 adds support for ActiveX applications to the UI Connectors functionality. In addition to .NET support, since the initial release of this feature we have added Java, Java FX, and now ActiveX support to UI Connector functionality. For more information, including limitations, see Creating UI Connectors.

X-ray Vision

Build 19.1.73 introduces X-ray Vision, an exciting new technology that makes interrogating an application much easier. With X-ray Vision enabled, when you begin interrogating an application screen, Robot Studio scans the screen, identifies the controls on the screen, and assigns a PegaId to each control. These PegaIds then serve as the match rules for the controls. While you can still interrogate and set match rules as before, X-ray Vision can make the interrogation much faster and more effortless. For more information, see Using X-ray Vision in Pega Robotic Automation

Support for Microsoft Edge (Chromium)

Build 19.1.70 adds support for automating Microsoft Edge Chromium. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Supports automating the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge.
  • Uses the Universal Web Adapter (UWA) and is very similar to the existing Chrome support. To automate the Edge browser, you install an extension in the Edge browser and register our Messaging Host to that extension ID.
  • Does not support pages running in Edge’s compatibility mode (which is actually Internet Explorer 11 functionality).

For more information, see Microsoft Edge (Chromium) support in Pega Robotic Automation.

Support for Pega Robot Manager™ 8.5.1

Build 19.1.61 adds support for the latest Robot Manager release. Pega Robot Manager 8.5.1 includes the following major enhancements:

For more information about the latest updates in Pega Robot Manager, see What's new in Pega Robot Manager.

New variable components

Build 19.1.54 adds new variable components, which include methods that operate directly on the values that are contained in those variables. Here are some examples of the new methods that you can use:

  • Equals, GreaterThan, Add, Multiply for numeric variables
  • Concat, Contains, StartsWith, Replace for string variables
  • Compare, Now, AddDays for datetime variables

These new variables replace the variables previously in use on the Toolbox. This hotfix also updates the String utils and Datetime utils to support the additional methods that are added to the String and Datetime variables. You can use Pega Robot Inspector to read values from and assign values to these variables.

Windows 10 version 2004

Build 19.1.49 adds support for automating 32-bit applications when running the 64-bit version of Windows 10 version 2004.

New Project Wizard

Build 19.1.43 adds the New Project Wizard, which you can use to create projects, add multiple project items, configure adapters, create global containers, and quickly add other standard objects to a project. With this wizard you can perform the following tasks:

  • Right-click a project or a folder item to create new project items for all the projects and folders in your solution.
  • Create templates for automations.
  • Rename the project and project items.
  • Delete project items.
  • Drag and drop project items within the project.

For more information, see Using the New Project Wizard

PowerBuilder version 19.0

Build 19.1.42 adds support for PowerBuilder 19.0 applications. PowerBuilder is an Integrated Development Environment that is primarily used for building business applications.

Toast-style notifications

Build 19.1.38 adds a ToastNotification component to the toolbox so that you can display toast-style notifications. A toast notification is a nonmodal window element that you can use to display brief messages that automatically expire: 

"A toast-style notification"
A toast-style notification

In the toolbox, select Show to activate the ToastNotification component, and then enter the message and choose a severity icon to indicate whether this is an Info, Warning, or Error

"toastNotification component options"
toastNotification component options

For more information, see ToastNotification component.

PowerPoint Connector

Build 19.1.38.0 adds a Microsoft PowerPoint connector to the toolbox so that you can automate the process of creating PowerPoint presentations.

Whitespace options for Text properties

Build 19.1.38 adds the TrimRegionText property to the Text adapter. You can now choose to leave leading and trailing whitespaces for the Text property of a region or field. For more information, see Text adapter properties, methods, and events.

OCR parameters and methods

Build 19.1.38 adds new occurrence parameters to existing OCR methods and also adds the following new OCR methods:

  • GetLocationByOcr - Returns the location of the text found.
  • GetValueAtLocationByOcr - Returns the text at a specified location.

For more information, see Creating Automations Using the Screen OCR Feature.

Interrogation Form

Build 19.1.34 streamlines the interrogation process by providing the most common functions directly on the Interrogation Form. Robot Studio minimizes when you begin an interrogation, so that you can focus on the Interrogation Form and the application. You can rename controls, highlight controls, delete controls, modify properties, and test modifying target properties and methods directly from the Interrogation Form. Only when you need to perform the most advanced features such as editing match rules or working with the Windows, Web or Virtual controls tab will you need to return to Robot Studio.

The Interrogation Form also adds a new delayed interrogation feature. You can start a timer and then navigate the application. When the timer expires, the currently selected control is then interrogated. This makes it easier to interrogate controls that hide automatically when they lose focus.

The following figure calls out two convenient features of the Interrogation Form. 

"Interrogation Form"
Interrogation Form
Note: You can still complete all of these tasks in Robot Studio; however, the Interrogation Form can save time and mouse clicks as you complete these tasks. For more information, see Enhanced Interrogation Form.

Server Bot Framework

Build 19.1.32 adds the Server Bot Framework to fully utilize the resources of a Windows Server when running Robotic Process Automations. A Server Bot is a robotic process automation (RPA) running in its own Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) session on a machine with Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016. An RPA becomes a Server Bot when you deploy it on the Server Bot Framework. This feature allows you to:

  • Run multiple Server Bots in the same workgroup at the same time
  • Run Server Bots in multiple workgroups at the same time
  • Start, stop, and assign work to Server Bots from Robot Manager

For more information, see Server Bot Framework.

Ask the Expert -- Pega Robot Manager

Join Angel Hermira, Product Manager, Robotics, to learn more about integrating your robotic automations with Pega Platform applications in this Ask the Expert session, which runs from 02 March to 13 March, 2020. Angel previously led the Robotics services team in Europe, where he helped clients  architect their solutions and extract the best of both Pega Platform and Robotic Automation capabilities to create truly intelligent automations. If you miss the session, you can learn from the questions and answers that are captured on the Collaboration Center.

BeyondTrust support and enhancements

Build 19.1.27 implements full support of the BeyondTrust credential provider for Robot Runtime. You can use your existing BeyondTrust portal to provide credentials for the registration operator, Windows user, Runtime user, ASO manager, and Credential Store.

Build 19.1.32 further enhances the existing BeyondTrust support. Pega Robotic Automation can now retrieve configuration values from BeyondTrust.  

For more information, see Integrating BeyondTrust and Pega Robotic Automation and the Cumulative Build Notes: Pega Robotic Automation 19.1.

Pega Synchronization Server support for Citrix

Build 19.1.30 enables you to use the Pega Synchronization Server in a Citrix mixed-mode environment on the Citrix server. Robot Runtime now passes parameters to the Pega.Loader.exe file so that the Synchronization Engine switches to the correct Robot Runtime version for the package that the client loads. For more information, see Using Citrix Contexts.

JavaFX support

Build 19.1.30 provides limited support for JavaFX applications. For more information, see JavaFX support in Pega Robotic Automation.

Standard Properties view

Build 19.1.22.0 introduces a new Standard view of the Properties grid. By default, Standard view filters to show only the most commonly used properties for each control. The Standard view is displayed by default, but you can select the Advanced view when you need to see the full complement of properties using the dropdown list at the top of the Property grid.

Working with properties is the same as in previous versions, except that you can now tab through the list of properties in the Standard view.

Adding additional properties to the Standard view

To add an additional property to the Standard view, right-click the control in Advanced view and then select Add to Standard View:

"Add to Standard View"
Add to Standard View menu option

To remove a property that you have added to the Standard view, right-click the control and select Remove from Standard View. You can only remove items that you have added.

Studio retains your choice of which view to display between editing sessions.

For more information, see Properties Grid

SendKeys methods

Build 19.1.14.0 now includes support for the SendKeys method in both the Web and Universal Web Adapters. This works much like SendKeys in the Windows adapter. When you use this technique to create an automation, the system more closely mimics user interaction, so that you do not have to raise events to make the web page perform as expected. For more information about the new SendKeys methods, see the following topics:

PDF Connector 2.0

Build 19.1.14.0 greatly enhances your PDF processing capabilities. The new visual designer makes working with PDF files much easier because you can visually identify the items within the file that you want to automate. Once identified, these items appear in your Object Explorer so that you can use them directly in your automation. With this functionality you can now perform the following actions:

  • Read and write to form objects (items that users can edit in a standard PDF editor) in your automation, similar to what you would do with an interrogated adapter control.
  • Use Optical Mark Recognition (OCR) to detect whether an image-based document has any check marks, signatures, or both at known locations.
  • Automatically detect tables within PDF files based on intersecting lines and extract the information in those tables into a data table for use in your automation.
  • Use the reconciliation mode to quickly automate a workflow. In this mode, Runtime users can see the data elements that are extracted from a file and update those elements if required.

For more information, seeIncorporating PDF files in your automation using Pega Robot Studio version 19.1.

Pega Robot Inspector

Build 19.1.14.0 introduces the new Robot Inspector for Pega Robot Runtime. The Robot Inspector lets you start and stop adapters, start automations with supplied parameters, provides live visibility into adapter matching, and lets you view and modify global variables, lookup tables and more.The Robot Inspector is available for every solution without having to add a component to the solution, and can be enabled through the Runtime icon menu.

For more information see Using the Robot Inspector.

Custom credentials provider API

Build 19.1.13.0 adds an API for connecting an in-house credentials provider to Pega Robotic Automation. Use this API to write your own C# extension to retrieve credentials. Pega provides a sample C# solution for you to use as a guide.

To set up a custom credentials provider, use the CredentialManager server options in the CommonConfig.xml file, and make corresponding entries in the CredentialManagerConfig.xml file.

For more information, see Common configuration settings.

Support for additional types of spreadsheets

Build 19.1.7.0 adds support for the following additional spreadsheet types when you use the Excel Connector:

  • Microsoft Excel: .xlsx, xlsm, .xltx, .xltm, .xls, .xlt
  • OpenDocument spreadsheet: .ods, .ots
  • Character Separated Values: .csv, .tsv

This build also adds the following methods:

  • FindRows
  • FindColumns

Support for Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex applications

Note: Adobe ended support for Adobe Flash on December 31, 2020. For more information, see Adobe Flash Player EOL General Information Page.

Build 19.1.4.0 adds support for Adobe Flash® and Apache Flex applications that use the Google Chrome browser. The Adobe Flash and Apache Flex translator works with Universal Web Adapter. The Adobe Flash and Apache Flex (formerly Adobe Flex) software provides a development environment for building games and applications by using the ActionScript® language and the open-source Flex framework.

For more information, see, Adobe Flash and Flex application support.

What's new in the initial release

The initial release of Pega Robotic Automation 19.1 includes the following features:

Pega Synchronization Server

The Pega Synchronization Server is a new addition to the Pega Robotic Automation product suite that hosts the product repository, which stores bundled product versions. For more information, see the Pega Synchronization Server User Guide.

Pega Package Server

Version 19.1 includes enhancements to the Pega Package Server so that it works together with the new Pega Synchronization Server so you can easily distribute the automations that you create with Pega Robot Studio. For more information, see the Pega Package Server and Server Status Page User Guide.

CyberArk support

Version 19.1 adds support for CyberArk. For more information, see CyberArk support in Robotic Automation.

Microsoft Office 2019 support

Version 19.1 adds support for Microsoft Office 2019.

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