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Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

  • 1.  Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 09-24-2020 13:58
    Hi Everyone,

    Blue Prism 6.9 had a lot of fixes and enhancements that I was excited about. However, after testing some of these, it's a bit underwhelming and I'd like to see if anyone else has the same concerns as well as if there are workarounds for some of these issues.

    1. Browser automation is much slower now when using the Path attribute. Yes, I know the concerns about using the Path attribute, but I sometimes use Get Path and dynamically manipulate the Path attribute to iterate over a webpage when otherwise Blue Prism is too slow to interact with it. I've had a handful of other qualified developers confirm on the same websites that this is the only viable solution. My question is why is it slow suddenly and is there some other combination of attributes that should make it faster? (Match Index does not improve the speed in this case)

    2. Blue Prism browser automation in 6.9 is still slow. Blue Prism does a lot of things well, but finding attributes quickly in a web page is not one of them. Other automation tools do not have this issue. I've tested this myself. One of the reasons it is slow is that Navigate, Read, and Write stages do not have implicit wait times to allow for elements to appear, so we have to use Conditional Wait stages to wait for an element to appear. But what do you do when it takes Blue Prism 10, 20, 30 seconds to find an element? If you use a Wait stage and then a Read stage, you're waiting double the time when a Read stage, for example, could have a condition inside of it to wait for an element to appear and thus be more efficient. Anyway, this isn't an issue in particular with 6.9, but I feel like it deserves a mention in case I've been using Blue Prism wrong these past few years. Also, we need Match Reverse in Chrome/Firefox/Edge.

    3. The Hover action was one of the biggest reasons I was excited about BP 6.9, but upon testing it I found that it is not actually Hovering the mouse cursor. Instead, it is activating the element's Hover trigger, which is not the same thing at all. This addition is certainly a good thing, and I've confirmed it does work in some cases. I have yet to implement it in a full-speed, back-office automation and haven't tried it in a ton of situations yet. But is there really still not a way to simply move the cursor to a particular element without clicking on it? Again, this is a thing in other automation tools, and Blue Prism needs it too.

    4. The new feature involving the Tracking ID sounds cool, but in practice it doesn't appear to be thought out fully. There are two issues I've already come across and I expect that there are more. First, the Attach action of a Navigate stage does not output the Tracking ID, which means we can only use this feature if we newly launch the browser session. Maybe this is required based on how it works, such as Blue Prism may need to set something in the session when creating. I've no idea, but without the ability to Attach to a browser and then identify it by the Tracking ID, I am hesitant to use the feature at all. Second, the Tracking ID feature has broken Detach stages. Some automations I've seen do have detach/attach in them, and this is broken immediately in 6.9. I've tested this in two separate environments. If you don't use a Tracking ID, Detach just doesn't work at all which is a code breaking change in Blue Prism that obviously has a workaround but it involves no longer using the detach stage at all as well as having to edit who knows how many objects.

    5. This is a small thing but noteworthy, in my opinion. The Release Notes of 6.9 say that Document Loaded was added to Wait stages, but actually Parent Document Loaded was added instead. Document Loaded is not available in 6.9. Those are two different things available in IE automation, and personally I'd like to see Document Loaded added to Chrome/Firefox/Edge automation as well.

    Thanks for reading. Feel free to respond and tell me I'm wrong. My goal is to be told "No, Dave, you're dumb. Here's the right way to do that" and then I can cry in my pillow but be excited that the feature actually does work as intended or w/e. =)

    ------------------------------
    Dave Morris
    Cano Ai
    Atlanta, GA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 09-24-2020 19:25

    An excellent and detailed write up Dave.  I'm looking forward to other's answers. 

    Sorry that I haven't yet tried these things, but will do as I get time to experiement.



    ------------------------------
    Allen Childress
    Technical Architect
    Accenture
    America/Chicago
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 09-25-2020 01:26
    Edited by Dave Morris 09-25-2020 01:42
    For #1, a tiny bit more info. It appears to be an issue with more than just the Path and it may be a thing on websites with a lot of elements. I'm still looking into it.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Morris
    Cano Ai
    Atlanta, GA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 09-25-2020 18:31
    Ok I finally have a way that I think anyone can reproduce this issue where BP is slow to find elements even when using the Path.

    It appears to have to do with pages that have a lot of elements on them and/or maybe if they have elements that are very deep in the DOM/HTML/Web/X Path.

    Here's how you can reproduce the issue:
    1. Create an object
    2. Go through the Application Modeller Wizard and select the option for Chrome/Firefox/Edge as well as to launch from an executable and put in https://google.com as the starting URL.
    3. Then click Launch in App Modeller so that Chrome opens and goes to google.com
    4. Manually search in this browser window in the google search bar for something like "Blue Prism", and if you have default settings, it should return 10 results on that page. If it returns you more, then change the Search Settings to limit to 10 and redo this step.
    5. Go back to App Modeller and create an element and/or use the existing one to spy any element near the top of the page such as the Search Input.
    6. In that element, deselect all attributes except XPath.
    7. Click Highlight. Blue Prism should highlight the element immediately with no delay.
    8. Now go back to the webpage and underneath the Search Bar near the top inside the webpage, click Settings > Search settings > and change the Results per page to 100. Then scroll down, click Save, and then click OK if Chrome pops up a confirmation box.
    9. Now, manually search again for the same search term such as "Blue Prism". It should return 100 results.
    10. Go back to App Modeller and you should be able to use the same element you used before since the element should still be there even though the page has more results. Click highlight for that element again. It should still find it this time, but it will take several seconds to do so.
    If you're unfamiliar with this, note that the Path attribute is a direct address to the location of an element. And at least in past versions of Blue Prism, the entire page is not traversed in order to arrive at the particular element. It didn't matter how complex a page was or how many results there were or whatever, it was always lightning fast to highlight or find an element using the Path attribute.

    I'm hoping that the devs can take this information and implement a hotfix because this issue has no workaround that I can find, and it essentially makes some automations take 10x longer to run, depending on the structure of the webpages being used and whether they are subject to this slowness.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Morris
    Cano Ai
    Atlanta, GA
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 30 days ago
    Hi Dave,

    I agree with you too. They have added bunch features but it's not at all stable and it make process slow.
    For browser automation I raised lot of Support tickets before but I am glad they have added most the features in 6.9. But still few things are missing as you mentioned few ,also Navigate option is not there which is there in IE.

    I have raised those in Idea panel but no response. Blue prism is doing good but they need to improve on few parts because other tools are so competitive in market.
    Hope they will fix or at least notice our comments.

    ------------------------------
    Amlan Sahoo
    RPA Consultant
    Equinix
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 30 days ago
    Hi Amlan,

    I actually was hoping for the Navigate URL action as well, which was strange to be missing in Chrome/FF automation for so long. I'm not sure when it was added, but the other day I came across the action 'Set Address' in BP 6.9 Chrome automation. I've dropped a screenshot below showing this. I tested it a few times, and it does seem to work just as Navigate URL did before in IE automation. It seems to be slightly buggy, but it worked in most of my tests. Seems like BP should have brought this action up more prominently when they added it since so many people were still spying the address bar and sending keys into it for navigation. Oh well, I guess it's here now. =)

    Shows the Set Address action of a Navigate stage for Chrome automation which appears to function the same as Navigate URL in IE automation


    ------------------------------
    Dave Morris
    Cano Ai
    Atlanta, GA
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 29 days ago
    Thanks Dave,
    But what I think Blue prism should work on all these perspective to give all the information to the users.

    ------------------------------
    Amlan Sahoo
    RPA Consultant
    Equinix
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 29 days ago
    Hi Dave,

    Frankly I did not notice this action either in my comparison between Chrome/Edge/Firefox and IE mode. After looking into this closely, the backend ID of those actions are actually quite similar, the one for IE is called HTMLNavigate while the one for Chrome/Edge/Firefox is called WebNavigate. 

    I will raise a bug on this hoping the display name can be made consistent as to the IE mode.

    ------------------------------
    Bruce Liu
    Senior Product Consultant, Professional Services
    Blue Prism
    Australia/Sydney
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 29 days ago
    Hi Dave,

    Thanks so much for providing detailed feedback on v6.9 release around the browser mode functionality. We did introduce a lot of changes to improve the way how Chrome/Edge/Firefox works in v6.9. Some of those changes quite significant, which may have adverse impact on performance over the old releases. To get down to the bottom of this, your post has been passed onto the product team for comments. Rest assured, we will be looking into all your pointers and respond to them accordingly.

    As always, we appreciate your honest feedback and continuous support.

    ------------------------------
    Bruce Liu
    Senior Product Consultant, Professional Services
    Blue Prism
    Australia/Sydney
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 28 days ago
    Thanks, Bruce!

    ------------------------------
    Dave Morris
    Cano Ai
    Atlanta, GA
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 29 days ago
    Hi Dave,

    To echo my colleague Bruce's comment I'd like to thank you for your post.

    I've reviewed the points you've raised in your original and subsequent posts and we've started a few investigations internally to provide an answer to some of the unexpected behaviours seen in your use of Blue Prism 6.9. I would expect a couple of new items to appear on the "Known Issues" article for Blue Prism 6.9 in the Support Centre under the status of "Under investigation" while we look into the points that you've raised.

    When I have more information I will add a new reply to the thread to confirm what we've found.

    Regards,
    Rob

    ------------------------------
    Robert Nicklin
    Product Owner
    Blue Prism
    Europe/London
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 28 days ago
    Awesome! Also, I would provide this kind of information more if I had an easy route to provide it through. Is the forum a fine place for this? I only have access to the ticketing system sometimes, depending on what project I'm associated with at the time and such.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Morris
    Cano Ai
    Atlanta, GA
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 28 days ago
    Hi Dave,

    You are correct we should get a platform or forum our inputs through testing. Now if you arise this using support ticket.
    They will tell this is how it will behave, write in idea section.


    ------------------------------
    Amlan Sahoo
    RPA Consultant
    Equinix
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 12 days ago
    Hi Blue Prism Team,

    Please fix Blue prism Browser extensions related quickly. Now we all are dependent on Chrome/ Edge browser. Because with IE we need to rework for everything.
    In 6.9 there are bunch of issues with new browser extension which does not allow us to upgrade BP. Also one of the concern why for browser extension we need select Fixed port if you are providing a way around not to select the same.
    There are bunch of issues related browser extension which is due to Fixed port. If blue prism provides automation for chrome then it should be as normal as IE browser. WIthout fixed port even if we are launching an URL then that URL has some extra IP.
    These small issues are so frustrating sometimes. Why can't these be fixed to provide a complete solution for automation.

    ------------------------------
    Amlan Sahoo
    RPA Consultant
    Equinix
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 15 days ago
    Edited by Mateusz Bartczak 15 days ago
    I have also noticed 2 additional problems:
    1. I'm not able to Evaluate Expression on Collection Field (e.g in Calc Stage) although Coll field is defined properly (Object reference not set to an instance of the object error) but running through the stages is working fine. As the aftermath - it's quite hard to program embedded functions.
    2. After moving to 6.9 from 6.6 my 3 web-based applications objects stopped working. I noticed that app modeller which is not launching the application but is attaching to existing browser by using the wildcard '*'  is not able to see web page fields anymore, despite it state that bp is attached correctly. I realized that it started to working back when I determine the page URL in AppModeller wizard, but previously it was working without it. Pretty annoying when you are having an universal object for JavaScript fragment invocation.
    Could you please check this issue on your side?

    Thank you!

    Edit: Just saw that both of this issues are already included in:
    https://portal.blueprism.com/customer-support/support-center#/path/Upgrade-Expansion/Upgrade/1535133752/What-are-the-known-issues-in-Blue-Prism-Version-6-9.htm

    ------------------------------
    Mateusz Bartczak
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 12 days ago
    Hello Mateusz,

    The issue mentioned in your first point is listed on the Blue Prism 6.9 Known Issues list under the title "Error when evaluating stages referencing collections whilst debugging" - we have raised BP-1497 to address this in an upcoming version.

    Though the description is not quite the same as I have seen before, I believe this may be a symptom of another known issue that has already been listed under the title of "Chrome, Edge and Firefox extensions do not establish a connection to Blue Prism when using ephemeral ports if a start URL is not specified". If my suspicion is correct and this is the same issue, we have raised BP-1408 to resolve this.

    I hope this helps.

    Regards,
    Rob

    Any reference to future developments or releases is provided for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and should not be construed as binding commitment. The timing, capability, license terms and cost of any product, feature, functionality, capability, development or release shall be decided at Blue Prism's sole discretion and is subject to change.

    Please do not rely on this information in making any purchase decision.

    Any feature, functionality, product or service described may or may not require a fee separate from other Blue Prism fees.



    ------------------------------
    Robert Nicklin
    Senior Product Owner
    Blue Prism
    Warrington, England
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 12 days ago
    Hello Dave,

    Following some investigations internally on the back of your original post we have identified an issue impacting the performance of the Blue Prism browser extension in version 6.9 which we believe to be responsible for the degradation seen in your first point. This has now been updated as "Confirmed" on the list of Blue Prism 6.9 known issues and we have raised BP-1598 in the backlog to rectify this. We are currently working with a group of affected customers to evaluate a potential fix for this and, should this prove to resolve the performance issue, we'll be looking to release a new version of the browser extension to the relevant stores.

    Point 2 in your post is an interesting one - I think it would be beneficial if this could be raised on the ideas section of the Community (if it hasn't been already) so we can gauge interest from the user base and consider adding this to the roadmap for a future version.

    We're taking a look at point 3 from your original post and initial indications that we may be able to make changes in future versions to make the hover action more robust. I don't have more information at this time, but I'd recommend looking out for more "hover" enhancements in the release notes of upcoming versions.

    The issue described in point 4 in which the addition of "TrackingID" has caused issues with Navigate stages will shortly also be added to the Blue Prism 6.9 known issues article and we'll look to resolve this in the next version as well.

    Our release notes have been updated in light of point #5 to correctly indicate that it's "Parent Document Loaded" that has been added to Blue Prism 6.9 and not "Document Loaded". On your point about needed both functions I would be really interested in discussing this with you, as I'd like to understand the use case in which "Parent Document Loaded" isn't applicable in more detail. I'll drop you a message about this directly if that's okay.


    I hope this helps - once again, thanks for your detailed post!

    Rob​

    Any reference to future developments or releases is provided for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and should not be construed as binding commitment. The timing, capability, license terms and cost of any product, feature, functionality, capability, development or release shall be decided at Blue Prism's sole discretion and is subject to change.

    Please do not rely on this information in making any purchase decision.

    Any feature, functionality, product or service described may or may not require a fee separate from other Blue Prism fees.



    ------------------------------
    Robert Nicklin
    Senior Product Owner
    Blue Prism
    Warrington, England
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hello Robert,

    Thanks for the update and great to hear there will be a new version of the Blue Prism 6.9 Browser Extension (we unfortunately also have seen a performance drop in our Edge Chrome automations).

    Would you be able to provide us with an indication on when to expect the new version of the browser extension to be released. Furthermore will this new version be compatible with V6.9 of Blue Prism or will a version upgrade be required?

    Thanks in advance!

    ------------------------------
    Arthur Philippa
    RPA Developer
    Port of Rotterdam
    Europe/Amsterdam
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 2 days ago
    Hello Arthur,

    Sorry for the delay in my reply, I was off all of last week and am just catching up now.

    We've completed our planned evaluation and regression testing and have published the new version of the Chrome extension to the store this morning. Users already on Blue Prism 6.9 should see the extension automatically update the next time that Chrome launches and is able to determine that a new version is available on the store - no update to the core Blue Prism platform is required for this to occur.

    The new version of the extension is going through regression testing for Edge and Firefox and I would expect this to be published on the relevant stores mid-end of this week.

    Regards,
    Rob

    ------------------------------
    Robert Nicklin
    Senior Product Owner
    Blue Prism
    Warrington, England
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 2 days ago
    Edited by Dave Morris 2 days ago
    Hi Rob,

    I tested Chrome and it does look like the slowness issue is fixed. I have a couple of questions though.

    Why wasn't the Chrome extension version increased (such as to 2.2.1)? If they are different versions, it seems like the version numbers ought to be different, even if all the documentation says 2.2.0.

    Is there a way to subscribe to specific issues? I'd like to be able to receive communications about specific issues. If I'm in a holding pattern for something like this, I'd want to know the moment I can go test a new version or whatever.

    Edit: We use Firefox and Chrome in the same automations, so I'll be watching for the Firefox update as well. I cannot proceed without it.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Morris
    Cano Ai
    Atlanta, GA
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 2 days ago
    Edited by Robert Nicklin 2 days ago
    Hi Dave,

    The version number of the extension has been increased from 2.2.0.2 to 2.2.0.3, though I appreciate that the store might just be truncating this to 2.2.0. We would normally look to increment the 3rd digit of the version number if we were releasing a patched version of BP core to work with the extension, but in this case as all the changes were extension side we only incremented the build number of the extension.

    As a side note, we have been in discussions internally for a while about browser extension versioning and the decision has been made to start versioning the extension alongside the product moving forwards to reduce confusion when understanding which version to use with the version of Blue Prism you are using. This change is expected to be in place for the release of Blue Prism 6.10 onwards - all currently released versions of Blue Prism will continue to use the extensions that they use today as changing this would require a patch to point them at a newly versioned extension.

    With regards to notifications about certain issues I don't believe we have something in place to handle this at the moment - significant issues are posted to the known issues support centre articles but I'm not aware of any other mechanisms that publish updates to users, which I think is what you'd ideally want to see happen.

    Regards,
    Rob

    ------------------------------
    Robert Nicklin
    Senior Product Owner
    Blue Prism
    Warrington, England
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 2 days ago
    Ah, gotcha. Makes sense that there's a version number past the 2.2.0.

    I like the idea of the browser extension matching the version of Blue Prism.

    Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Dave Morris
    Cano Ai
    Atlanta, GA
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted yesterday
    Hi,

    chrome web store shows 4 digits for earlier versions of BP extension, eg 1.0.6.3

    I would highly appreciate to get informed of changes to extensions, especially when they come with automatic updates. 

    Updates are done very restrictive in my company, only after being reviewed and tested in our environment. So i highly doubt any chrome web store version change will trigger automatic download. (I just checked another extension's version and my local differs to the latest version in web store).
    So again it would be highly appreciated to get the info about updated extensions, otherwise we would just miss improvements. 

    I would also highly appreciate getting the info, just in case existing browser automation processes behave differently, so we know if or if not this might be because of new version of extension. 

    Additionally I would highly appreciate getting the info about updated extensions, just in case I can be sure when reading on community pages, if the behavior, fix, workaround, bug, ... related to extensions might also concern our Blue Prism installations.

    ------------------------------
    Walter Koller
    Solution Manager
    Erste Group IT International GmbH
    Europe/Vienna
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 2 days ago
    Hi Dave,

    I would recommend you check out our Ideas portal and submit an enhancement request on this topic there. This way, you can track any updates to your specific request as it moves along the lifecycle, and you'll be notified if your enhancement is delivered. You can also follow any existing ideas you're interested in to receive updates on those enhancements as well. 

    This blog post has more information on the ideas portal and how the review process works.

    Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Melanie Giuliani
    Online Community Manager
    Blue Prism
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Blue Prism 6.9 Issues

    Posted 2 days ago
    Hi Melanie,

    Yeah, I've voted on there and have submitted an idea that was delivered at one point. It's a bit cumbersome, but it may just be me wanting a traditional forum-like interface whereas it's organized as cards and hurts my brain. =) I'll give it another shot. =)

    ------------------------------
    Dave Morris
    Cano Ai
    Atlanta, GA
    ------------------------------