Announcement: IBM Robotic Process Automation 21.0.3
We are pleased to announce new features and exciting enhancements for the 21.0.3 release of IBM Robotic Process Automation. The on-premises release and the container deployment on Red Hat OpenShift are Generally Available (GA) as of June 24, 2022, and updates to our SaaS offering will be available in the 2nd week of July 2022. This announcement highlights new features and enhancements available within the 21.0.3 release of the product.
Watson NLP is integrated with IBM RPA as the additional NLP provider with out-of-the-box NLP models
- Starting with version 21.0.3, IBM RPA includes two NLP providers for both IBM RPA SaaS and on-premises offerings - Watson® NLP and Legacy NLP. At the tenant level, Tenant administrators can set a default NLP provider in the RPA control center, which would then apply to every bot in the tenant. Alternately, developers can set the NLP provider using the setNlpProvider command at the script level to override the default. All subsequent natural language processing commands will use the defined provider set by this command.
- Language support for NLP commands vary based on the NLP provider you select. For example, the legacy NLP Provider supports only English and Portuguese whereas the Watson NLP provider supports over 23 languages. The results each provider returns can also vary. Watson NLP is not supported for Knowledge Base or Text Classification yet.
- For on-premises and container deployments, a new Watson NLP Windows Service will be installed at the time of Server installation and requires a local port to be configured for communication between the Server API and Watson NLP. The bots consume this service when business users and developers use the Watson NLP provider.
- Since Watson NLP comes with several language models, the size of the server installer is bigger and is packaged as a zip file.
Support for Microsoft Edge
- Microsoft™ Edge, based on Chromium, is now supported by the Start Browser (webStart) command and is available as one of the options under Browser type along with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
- This allows business users and developers to automate bots using Microsoft Edge. In addition, support is also provided for Microsoft Edge with IE 11 compatibility mode.
Support for IBM MQ as the system queue provider
- Starting with version 21.0.3, IBM RPA standalone on-premises offering supports IBM Message Queue (IBM MQ), in addition to Microsoft MQ. To use IBM MQ as the system queue provider, users must download and configure it before installing the Server as it is not bundled with IBM RPA.
- In addition, when using IBM MQ as the system queue provider, users must install the RPA server and the client on the same subnet to schedule or orchestrate scripts.
Support for new chatbot channel
- Chatbot performance is greatly enhanced in the new version and allows customization to change the webchat layout.
- When using the IBM RPA chatbot, users can communicate with the bot through various channels. Starting with version 21.0.3, IBM RPA supports bot integration with Twilio chatbot channels that allows the chat to be built over SMS messages. This Twilio channel is in addition to the other channels IBM RPA already supports such as Facebook, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Telegram.
- These changes are available for both SaaS and on-premises offerings.
In addition to the new features listed above, IBM RPA 21.0.3 includes several exciting enhancements as listed below.
Support for secure connection (TLS) for Terminal 3270
- When using the terminalConnect command to connect to a terminal emulator, users can now use the Use TLS flag to secure the connection with TLS. This command is available for SaaS and on-premises offerings.
Immediate Log Off
- RPA now supports changing the default timespan to keep users logged in across the platform. When a user actively clicks “logoff”, the session is invalidated immediately.
- For on-premises installation, each tenant can configure its session expiration policy in the General Settings using Access Token Expiration from the RPA control center. This setting applies to the RPA control center, RPA Launcher, RPA Studio, and RPA Vault.
- For SaaS, users can set the default session duration in the General Settings of the Tenant Configuration, under Administer/Tenants.
Enhanced upgrade experience
- In IBM RPA 21.0.3, the upgrade experience of the installers, both client and server, has been enhanced for existing RPA installations. For on-premises upgrades, it is highly recommended to back up the databases before proceeding with the Server upgrade. For SaaS, users can only upgrade the Client.
- If users are running an older version of Server and need to upgrade to versions 21.0.1, or 21.0.2, they need to uninstall the previous server version and reinstall the newer version.
- To upgrade the RPA containers, there are a few dependencies that need to be considered. For more information, please see upgrading IBM Robotic Process Automation.
UMS installer integration
- UMS installer integration during installation has been improved. See server installation for details.
Support for OpenShift® Container Platform 4.10
- This version now supports OpenShift® Container Platform 4.10. Support for versions 4.6 and 4.7 was dropped. For a complete list of supported versions, see supported architecture.
Improvements to Mozilla Firefox web drivers
- Enhanced support to automate tasks in Firefox .
Enhanced APIs to manage server resources
- The IBM RPA API v2.0 provides support for external apps for the authentication flow, tenant management and configuration, workspace management, and process management APIs. The new APIs allow enqueuing messages to orchestration queues without the need for RPA For more information see API reference.
Migrate “computer groups” to Teams for Launchers
- In the previous release, we introduced Teams, as part of RBAC, to organize users and assign them roles. It replaced “computer groups” and allows administrators to define a group of users that need to have the same privileges.
- But “computer group” was still referenced in Launchers and so, in this release, a new team is automatically created to replace the “computer group” in launchers. See Managing teams for details.
This version also includes several server-side and client-side fixes that were raised by customers and are tracked using APARs (Authorized Program Analysis Reports). A complete list of fixes can be seen here. Also, as the IBM RPA platform evolves with improved technology, some functions become obsolete and are removed or deprecated from support. For a complete list of deprecated and removed functions, use this link for details.
To learn more about IBM RPA, please explore the IBM Robotic Process Automation homepage and register for your free trial today!
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Dennis Parrott Joberto Diniz Venkat Tadepalli
IBM RPA Product Manager IBM RPA Product Manager IBM RPA Product Manager