We recently hosted an Ask Us Anything webinar to cover the topic of the impending Manifest v2 Sunset. The event prompted a lot of questions for our experts Robert Nicklin (Product Manager) and Carlos Correia (Solutions Consultant). You can rewatch the session in the embedded video or explore the questions and answers below. The session was hosted by Dominique Duquennoy (Head of Customer Success, EMEA).
Do you have any additional insight to the dates for Manifest v2 Sunset, outside what the Chromium team have published?
The short answer is no, we don't currently have any more insight into the plans than our customers. The announcement of the plan to move from Manifest v2 (MV2) to Manifest v3 (MV3) came at the same time for all of us. The latest update from the Chromium team postponed the proposed dates for deprecation of MV2 support. The latest update said that we would be expecting an updated timeline in March 2023, but we haven't seen that yet (as of the time of recording) so we are eagerly awaiting the revised dates for the MV2 Sunset.
Is the Browser Automation Agent latest version available for 6.10.2, and can it be installed in production?
We released the first version of the Browser Automation Agent (BAA) in October 2022, which was valid for use with Blue Prism version 6.5 through to 6.10. We have iterated upon that solution to produce version 2 of the BAA that is planned for release this month (March 2023).
We are working on migrating Chrome MV2 to MV3. We need to identify the list of objects and processes that are using Chrome, which is tedious to do manually. Does Blue Prism have any tool to provide the list of objects and dependency processes in an Excel file?
Does the Browser Automation Agent (BAA) need to be installed manually on each machine? Is there a script or tool to bulk install?
It can be installed manually with an MSI file. We also provide a silent install as part of the MSI deployment. Effectively you can pass parameters in the command line through to the application. There are clients that we work with for example, that are using things like Puppet (or other available SCCM tools) to roll this out. Those tools can certainly be used to deploy this package as well.
However, there are alternatives to that functionality. Instead of using the click action in your process or object, you could instead use Global mouse click, or click the element using something like UIA spy mode, that would only impact the browser/HTML node. To summarise; there’s no significant impact to spying elements, but some other interactions with those elements may be affected by the MV3 changes.
Yes - the reason is that browser vendors will eventually remove support for MV2 browser extensions entirely. It hasn't been announced which version of Chrome or Edge will contain that update, but when updated you could be looking at a situation where your browser automations stop running because the browser extension is no longer responding in the way we expect it to.
We're expecting updates from browser vendors this month, but the previously announced date before they put everything under review was June for things to start being turned off. This was then followed by a six-month period where you could use group policies within the browser to extend support for MV2 browser extensions. That meant a hard cut-off date of January 2024 where MV2 browser extensions would no longer be supported and would be removed from the browser extension stores as well.
If we only use browser mode along with XPath in Chrome. Can we continue to use "old/MV2" browser extension
There's no way around the sunset of the MV2 browser extensions as far as we are aware. A change will come in the Chrome and Edge browsers themselves and that will turn off support for the MV2 browser extensions. There may be the ability to extend support for a limited amount of time after that policy is introduced. But in the long term the answer is no, you won't be able to continue to use that old MV2 browser extension perpetually.
If we are not on Blue Prism version 6.10.5 and above the only option for us post sunset of MV2 is to install Browser Automation Agent? Is my understanding correct? If we are not invoking/injecting JS would MV2 continue to work post sunset with default BP spying and other modes?
Your understanding is correct. If you are on a version of Blue Prism outside of 6.10.5 and one of the releases in the 7.1 series, then you've got two options: upgrading to one of the versions that is MV3 capable out of the box is one option; or the BAA. That will provide you with a MV3 browser extension which works with your current version of Blue Prism. It doesn't require a core system upgrade and you'll be able to migrate your processes using that MV3 browser extension to continue your operations.
For the second part, as in previous answers, there's going to be an initial switch-off of that support and there will be mechanism, we've been told, in which you can extend the support temporarily. After which the Sunset will become a lot more hard line and you won't be able to do anything about that. As far as we’re aware, there's no way around the coming MV2 Sunsets.
When using Manifest v2, how to ensure extensions are stable? Any recommendations? Would the same apply if migrating to MV3?
We expect released browser extensions to be stable so if unexpected behaviour is observed, please do raise a support ticket and highlight it in the community. Raising a support ticket means we can understand exactly what the problem is and try to solve it for you. In terms of the MV3 browser extensions, we shouldn't expect any further instability from the web extension in MV3 than we may have had in MV2.
One of the areas where we've seen some issues around browser extensions or stability is where we have people developing on a machine on multiple sessions. What we’ve found is that having multiple Chrome or Edge sessions across a multitude of instances on that VM does sometimes cause a bit of a challenge. Make sure you've got the expected number of processes when doing your build out to make sure that you're targeting the correct browser within the environment.
We are running BP V6.7.2 and currently have many processes interacting with Edge using the BP 6.10.1 extension. Due to the Manifest changes coming we are trying to find a way to keep our processes running as updating to V7+ isn't really an option for us. We don't have the option to update from 6.7.2 to anything but 7.x and we don't have the option to use an alternative Browser like Chrome. Unless we can get Browser mode working in an MV3 compatible extension with 6.7.2, we will have to rebuild all our objects to use UIA or AA mode and just accept any processes that cannot function without a Browser Mode element. Is there a workaround for this?
If you're on an older version of Blue Prism and you don't have the ability to upgrade to one of the versions that comes out of the box with an MV3 browser extension, the solution for you in that situation would be to look adopt the BAA.
The first version of the BAA is compatible with 6.5 through to 6.10 and the second version, which is going to be made available imminently will extend that support all the way out to 6.4.2 onwards all the way up to 7.1.2. However, the point around them being on 6.7.2 and needing to use Edge is a little bit of a question mark for me as we only support Edge automations from 6.7 onwards as I mentioned. So I can't speak to that in any more detail than that.
It’s not possible to just install the MV3 browser extension that is provided with the BAA alongside existing releases of Blue Prism and expect this to operate – the BAA components are necessary to establish a connection between the browser and the core product.
We need to extract data from local storage on a web application into our BP process. Currently we use a hack where we insert a JS fragment into the web app to read local storage and write the required items from local storage into the DOM of the page. Then we read the value with a plain old read stage. Are there plans for Blue Prism functionality that will allow us to read local storage data items more cleanly? Or alternatively - any suggestions for other hacks that might work?
Will Blue Prism team or respective Customer Success Managers start notifying the clients as soon as they hear back from Google/Microsoft regarding MV2 sunset? so that we are aware in advance
Short answer yes – what we’ve been doing the last year is working closely with Rob and the extended product team here so that when we can provide updates, we're doing it as fast as possible. We know that timeframes are quite tight, so once we have more clarity around updated dates in terms of MV2 Sunset, you'll receive a communication from us to be sure that you are able to plan as in advance as possible. We'll also continue to update our resources as appropriate as and when we receive those updates.
Do you know if objects based on "Edge on IE mode" (migrated from IE) will be affected by Google Manifest V3? Especially I mean actions like "Insert JS fragment" or "Invoke JS function".
Could we go step-by-step what is needed to be done to be safe after manifest will be active. Our version is BP6.9 and Browser is Edge. Could you mention the details on where to get any installation part (file) needed?
There are two routes to take. The first is to upgrade Blue Prism Enterprise to a version such as 6.10.5 or a release in the 7.1 series that come with MV3 compatibility. The other option if you’re on Blue Prism 6.9 and you're using Edge browser automation, would be to adopt the BAA solution to allow you to move to an MV3 browser extension without that core product upgrade.
What is the best recommendation or approach to migrate from IE or chrome processes to Edge? Is the more stable approach to use IE mode in Edge or to rebuild entirely? Currently we are using Manifest v2 on v6.10.5 but Edge doesn’t seem to be stable after using the conversion tool. What is the best approach to take? From prior experiences and recommendations, what is the best way to automate using MS Edge? Also are there any insights to have the wait elements from IE in modern browsers (Document load, parent document load)?
Given what we've mentioned earlier, ideally you want to be in a position where you're moving away from the IE compatibility mode purely because we don't know when it's going to Sunset. You should be looking to try and move off those if possible. We understand that obviously it may not be possible for all of the processes. Also, equally, if you're using something like a conversion tool to move from IE to Edge, which I think is available as well, that might be a like for like conversion and you won't necessarily get the benefits of what's available.
In the newer versions of Blue Prism, we introduced a feature, whereby you can use CSS selectors as opposed to XPath. The approach that we would suggest is to go with a tool in the first pass, convert and see what happens. If it works, perhaps dive into the separate areas to try, and figure out if it's leveraging any of the new capability. Then look at whether there’s an opportunity to clean it up and do it in a more modern way. Migration gives an opportunity to lighten the load on the digital worker and remove some of the stuff that's no longer required.
As for any insights into when functions from IE would be available in modern browsers- we introduced enhancements in that area in 6.9. Looking back in the release notes, from 6.9 onwards you should be finding that when you're automating Chrome, Edge, and Firefox, you have things like the parent document loaded and document loaded conditions in your weight stages. So that should be there already for you to leverage.
Can you share any documentation around the upgrade path or approach to migration of MV3 please?
We've got a few courses available on Blue Prism University which cover the decisions that you need to run through around deciding what’s best for you. The process of deploying new solutions like the BAA are documented in the release notes and the install guides. In our Knowledge Base articles, there's information a matrix which says, ‘this is my situation, what do I do?’ It has columns to say, well option one or primary option would be this and secondary option to consider would be that. Those are the sorts of materials that would be useful to leverage in understanding the different approaches for MV3 migration.
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