Robocorp Lab changelog and release notes

Robocorp Lab (4.9.11)

January 21, 2021

Updates, fixes and tweaks

  • Updated to the official version of JupyterLab v3.
  • Lab now uses MicroMamba instead of MiniConda to build the environments, resulting in a considerable speed boost during builds.
  • Lab now supports using the ROBOCORP_HOME environment variable to change the location of common data for all Robocorp Applications.

The mysterious case of 'spaces in username'

NOTE: This only affects users with operating system usernames containing spaces or special characters (like scandics).

The solution is for now to use the ROBOCORP_HOME environment variable to point to a 'tool friendly' -location on the system (For example: C:\temp\robocorp).

The next Lab release will include a more user-friendly way of managing this setting.

Background & next steps:

During MicroMamba tests, we noticed that having spaces in username (and special characters like scandics) does not affect only users on Windows, but also on other operating systems in addition to internal tools like pip.

While testing for the shift to MicroMamba, we realized that the issues caused by spaces or other special characters in the username affect users on all operating systems (not only on Windows), in addition to interfering with the correct functioning of tools like pip.

So we had to change direction from just solving the issue for Lab on Windows to solving it for all users on all platforms.

The fix is included in version 8 of the underlying tool RCC: this means that the Vs Code extension will also benefit from it at the same time.

RCC executions will now warn you in case it detects issues with your ROBOCORP_HOME location.

Once we have the user-friendly implementations for fixing the issue in the tools we will change RCC to just block execution in these cases.

Known issues

  • JupyterLab V3 has a new "Simple Interface Mode" that activates automatically if you resize the editor window to a small enough size.
    • To get back to the normal interface mode go to: View -> Click on Simple Interface to deactivate.
    • We are looking into ways of disabling this functionality, because it appears to be rarely useful in automation cases.
  • Some reports for errors INIT_3_10 and INIT_4_10 under investigation
    • These errors seem to be really specific to individual system setups, so please submit issues on these with your email attached so that we can get in contact with you and figure out the root causes.
    • Some cases have been tied to firewalls blocking outbound traffic. To solve these kind of issues, you can now find details on how to configure your firewall in the troubleshooting section.

Robocorp Lab (4.8.8)

December 22, 2020

Fixes and tweaks

  • Fix for the Restart and Run All Cells -functionality (Upgraded to JupyterLab v3 release candidate 14)
  • Fixed the "stuck when opening a robot" bug.
  • Improved code-completion (Minor tweaks in the LSP functionality)

Known issues

  • JupyterLab V3 has a new Single-document mode that activates automatically if you resize the editor window to a small enough size.
    • To get back to normal mode go to: View -> Click on Single-Document Mode to deactivate it.
    • We are looking into ways of disabling this as it really serves little purpose in automation cases.
  • Some reports for errors INIT_3_10 and INIT_4_10 under investigation
    • These seem to be really specific to the system setup so please submit issues on these with your email attached so that we can get in contact and figure out the root causes.
    • Some cases look like antivirus software is causing file locks. We are using VirusTotal to scan our software deliveries but individual antivirus setups are notoriously hard to pinpoint.

Robocorp Lab (4.7.6)

December 15, 2020

JupyterLab v3 update

Upgrading to JupyterLab v3 enables us to avoid building JupyterLab extensions on your machine and deliver them in a more controlled manner. This reduces initial startup times and adds stability to the initialization phase. We are jumping in as early as we can as the release candidate is about to go live and the benefits were so great.

One of the most visible updates is that the Command Palette can now be trigged with: Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + C and works much like the command palette in VS Code.

Introducing Robocorp robots Portal

The Download Examples functionality in Robocorp Lab now points to our Portal site where you can discover shared robots and choose what you want to look into. Use the Open with Robocorp Lab button on each robot page to trigger robot retrieval to your machine. You can also just Download zip to get the robot source files.

Fixes

  • Lab now has a direct method to fix the Windows Long Path support.
  • Fixes to the weird behavior for users that have spaces in their usernames:
    • Issues with UI locators Start browser timing out with Chrome.
    • Miniconda and Chromedriver workarounds improved.
  • Lab is now able to cancel running RCC tasks if the user opens and closes robots quickly.
  • Lab now shows RCC idle/busy state in the top-bar to signal environment setups etc.

Known issues

  • Execution does not always start when using Restart Kernel and Run All Cells... (all cells display [*]).
    • Cell-by-cell and Robot Run can be used as a workaround.
    • Running Restart Kernel and Run All Cells separately can be used as a workaround.
    • Affects macOS "Big Sur", but also some Windows installations.
    • The underlying JupyterLab issue #9008 is being fixed.
  • JupyterLab V3 has a new Single-document mode that activates automatically if you resize the editor window to a small enough size.
    • To get back to normal mode go to: View -> Click on Single-Document Mode to deactivate it.
    • We are looking into ways of disabling this as it really serves little purpose in automation cases.

Robocorp Lab (4.5.7)

November 24, 2020

A stabilizing release

So far, we have been focusing on implementing the key features in Lab. This release is focused on stability improvements.

The long filenames limit in Windows can cause issues with Robocorp Lab. Allowing long filenames should fix these issues. Robocorp Lab now checks if the long filename support is enabled.

The Help menu on the welcome screen now allows for submitting issue reports. Sending an issue report delivers the needed logs and details securely.

Another stability item on the horizon is the JupyterLab V3 update. This should reduce startup errors and improve performance.

Fixes

  • macOS "Big Sur": Fixed a bug in UI locator snipping.
  • Fixes to temp folders and file locking in Windows should reduce INIT errors or Lab not opening. chromedriver can still lock files on Windows but should not prevent Lab usage.

Known issues

  • Opening a robot with a conda.yaml that is not found in the cache takes a minute or two (conda package loading), and the Lab is missing the UI notification for this.
    • Closing the Lab view does not stop the cache set up, so the user needs to wait for it to complete.
    • Environment build status notification coming to the next release.
  • JupyterLab v2 builds extensions on target machines, making Lab initialization error-prone. The upcoming JupyterLab v3 update should reduce startup issues.
  • Execution does not always start when using Restart Kernel and Run All Cells... (all cells display [*]).
    • Cell-by-cell and Robot Run can be used as a workaround.
    • Running Restart Kernel and Run All Cells separately can be used as a workaround.
    • Affects macOS "Big Sur", but also some Windows installations.

Robocorp Lab (4.4.13)

November 11, 2020

Image-based workflow improvements and support for macOS & Ubuntu

  • The image-based selector feature now also supports macOS and Linux.
  • Added confidence slider, which can used to fine-tune the hits you get for your image.
    • Helps out for example in Windows where the contrast changes when the application is focused vs. unfocused.
  • Multi-monitor snipping is still experimental. Feedback is welcome from all platforms.

Keyword explorer documentation formatting

  • Keyword explorer now out of beta with improved documentation formatting.
  • Improved documentation formatting also visible in the documentation site: see an example

Robot run supports Python robots and output improved

  • Support for pure Python robots added.
  • More visibility to the output feed coming from the robot run.

Robocorp Lab

Fixes

  • Cloud linking now works directly from Lab view: Upload to Robocorp Cloud directs to linking without having to exit your robot.
  • Loading a shared robot from robocorp.com/robots while in Lab view notifies you to save and exit the current robot to import the new one.

Known issues

  • Opening a robot with a conda.yaml that is not found in the cache takes a minute or two (Conda package loading). Closing the Lab view for the robot does not stop the cache set up, so the user needs to wait for it to complete.
  • JupyterLab v2 forces extensions build to happen on target machines, which makes the Lab initialization error-prone. We are pushing JupyterLab v3 upgrade hard to get rid of the issues on startups.
  • Miniconda, Chrome web drivers, and temp folder handling are causing file lock states on Windows machines.