Lab changelog and release notes

Robocorp Lab (4.21.1)

October 4, 2021

New features

  • Recent Robots listing implementation changed not to show deleted items
  • Set Global Variable & Set Suite Variable values are now held in cell-by-cell running
  • Restart kernel -button added to the notebook button panel
    • All the kernel commands are still available behind Ctrl+Shift+C > type restart
    • Having a button there simplifies working with Python libraries.

Bug fixes

  • Update to RCC v11.1.6
    • Reduced use of os.stat as they seem to affect Windows usage
    • V11 migration guide at: RCC changelog
  • Lab kernel environments are now rotated to avoid file lock when changing conda.yaml
    • Note: If robot logic opens a process that freezes or does not shut down when Lab asks it to, you can still get file locks.

Known issues

  • Having `defaults '-channel in conda.yaml will cause errors; now is the time to get rid of that.
    • Parts of the Lab basement are no longer shipped via defaults -channel, causing weird errors.
    • Templates and robots in Robocorp Portal have been updated since February, but basically, you only need to remove that one line.
    • Simplest conda.yaml example is:
channels:
  - conda-forge
dependencies:
  - python=3.7.5
  - pip=20.1
  - pip:
      - rpaframework==14.1.1
  • "Lab is unresponsive" on some machines.
    • RCC v11.1.6 improvements to performance.
    • Kernel environments rotation now reduces the change of file locks which are compounding the issue.
    • Big dependencies still take time on the first run of a unique conda.yaml.
      • At the moment, pip for example, does not support any parallel actions, so machine utilization is really low during pip steps.
    • A Windows machine with 2 CPU cores does struggle quite a lot as Windows Defender (or anti-virus scanners in general) pretty much occupy half of the processing power trying to scan the incoming files.

Robocorp Lab (4.22.8)

October 25, 2021

New features

  • Dynamic Robot template updates
  • Updated and curated Keyword Explorer content to match rpaframework v11.4.0
  • RCC updated to v11.4.3 --> rcc configuration speedtest
    • In Lab, use File > Terminal and run rcc configuration speedtest command to test the performance of your system.
    • System requirements are notoriously hard to write up as in virtualized environments, we cannot trust just the hardware specs.
    • The speed test results are set so that zero is a "good enough" value, positive values are good and negative values indicate slower performance.
    • The results are split into operations over network and operations over filesystem
      • These are not just transfer speeds, as in virtualized systems, you can have blazing fast internet, but the CPU actions related to those might slow down the result.
      • Same goes for the filesystem measurement; the specs of the hardware mean nothing if the actual file storing and reading is slow due to some virtualization layer or a heavy virus scanner process.

Bug fixes

  • Update to RCC v11.4.3
    • Added retry mechanisms to attempt retries earlier and in smaller chunks.
    • Added retries to removal processes as well (Windows file locks)
    • Dropped minimum worker count to 2 to ease the load on minimal hardware.
  • Lab kernel switching now jumps directly to the new one without an extra step to "backup kernel"
  • Dependency updates for most extensions
  • In Python the problem with a={"b":"c"} format fixed
  • Fixes to JupyterLab Tornado timing out, causing stuck states to Restarting or Connecting states.

Known issues

  • Having `defaults '-channel in conda.yaml will cause errors; now is the time to get rid of that.
    • Parts of the Lab basement are no longer shipped via defaults -channel, causing weird errors.
    • Templates and robots in Robocorp Portal have been updated since February, but basically, you only need to remove that one line.
    • Simplest conda.yaml example is:
channels:
  - conda-forge
dependencies:
  - python=3.7.5
  - pip=20.1
  - pip:
      - rpaframework==14.1.1
  • "Lab is unresponsive" on some machines.
    • Use rcc configuration speedtest to determine the cause and ping the result on Slack / Forum.
      • Disk speed seems to be the most common cause for slow environment setups
      • A Windows machine with 2 CPU cores does struggle quite a lot as Windows Defender (or anti-virus scanners in general) pretty much occupy half of the processing power trying to scan the incoming files.
    • Lab base dependencies are big, and we are working on getting a significant cut to those (via ipywidgets v8).

Lab