Hello RPA Community,
It’s been about two weeks since we released Nintex Bot 17.4.1. Thanks again for your patience while we worked through the issues with 17.4.0. Like I mentioned in my previous posts, we introduced changes that were meant to increase the reliability and stability of Bot and its communication with RPA Central over the course of the last few releases, starting with 17.2.0, and had completed those changes with 17.4.0. We also introduced support for Shadow DOM in that release.
However, we found that some new issues cropped up with some of your botflows and some old issues came back after our releases. To make sure 17.4.1 had what we had intended for in 17.4.0, we redoubled our efforts to make the communications across the RPA platform even more robust and reliable.
In 17.2.0, we made changes in Bot to make sure our communication with RPA Central was as solid as possible. This was causing some status mismatches and jobs not being assigned properly.
In the same release, we started to improve the communications flow among all the components of Nintex Bot that you really don’t see unless you go to Task Manager. This includes:
The components that comprise Bot need to talk to each other. As such, we started with the Chrome items talking to Foxtrot.exe because this is where customers were reporting inconsistent behavior, delays, and some other latency and timing issues. We addressed all of that in 17.3.0, but those changes led to changes we needed to make for the other services, including RPA Starter. So, we had to rearchitect the communication channels (called Pipes in Windows) to be more robust and follow a stricter client/server model.
At the same time, we added support for Shadow DOM which is used heavily in some banking applications. We tested and confirmed with several customers that it was ready. However, upon release of 17.4.0, we learned there were some web tables in Chrome that could not be targeted. This was due to the Shadow DOM changes. To fix this, we removed that support and took extra caution with the pipes implementation to build a foundation that will support Shadow DOM in the future and keep the Chrome extension backward compatible.
All of this history can be found on the release notes page but also in my blog post from above. The latest release – 17.4.1 – has all these improvements except for Shadow DOM (which will come later this year). We believe this to be the version every customer should be running.
There was also an issue with concurrency when NWC Start Botflow actions called into RPA Central, and we fixed that in 2.4.0.
So, as you can see, there are a lot of moving parts of RPA behind the scenes, and we’ve been addressing communications across the platform over several months, which is where many of the Support tickets start. Bots going offline, botflows loading blank, instances stuck in a starting state were the symptoms related to the old communication flow. It took us a while to identify and determine the best path forward to address these issues once and for all. Over the course of a few releases, we fixed and tested multiple improvements which seemed to address the issues, but because there are many different scenarios, hardware, and use cases for RPA, we didn’t catch everything each release. We now have specific test cases to cover these scenarios. With 17.4.1 and RPA Central 2.4, we believe our communications, speed, and reliability is the best it has ever been. Please upgrade to these versions as soon as is feasible in your environments.
Also know that we’re continuing to make improvements and will release new versions of RPA Central and Nintex Bot that improve the performance, reliability, and stability of running botflows and automating your business processes. We will also be introducing new features along the way, so please continue to watch this blog.
Mike and the Nintex RPA Team
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