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Overview of Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview 2

Updated on November 10, 2021
Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview

The Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview is intended to get an early version of the new, re-imagined product into the hands of experienced developers, so you can explore the new features and become familiar with the re-imagined design. It’s also intended to help us generate and gather feedback so we can work together to improve the design even more.

This is the second release of the v21 Preview, called Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview 2. We've added support for many of the features from 19.1, as well as new features. Additional features in this version include:

Application methodsEnvironment overridesApplication screenshots collection
Microsoft Edge compatibilityMessage manifestIntelligent Recording enhancements
Electron compatibilityStartMyDay supportAdd existing project items
Text applicationsToolbox Financial methodsAutomation issues dialog
UI Connector supportToolbox Math methodsNew Pick-type dialog
Script componentToolbox Process methodsManage references dialog
Migration utility Toolbox Runtime methodsLogging improvements
Unit testsProject properties

Use the Preview migration utility to migrate your Robot Studio 19.1 solutions to 21.1 projects, so you can open and test them. Then, use the Help > Ask a Question form to send any feedback or issues to the collaboration center. For more detail about migrating projects, see the Preview Migration Utility.

Note: This release is not intended for use in production. To restrict this, we will not be providing a Robot Runtime or enabling deployment of projects within Robot Studio v21 Preview.

Downloading and installing

Note: If you want to install Pega Robot Studio v19 and v21 on the same machine, you must install v19 first. For more detail, see Running Robot Studio 19 and 21 on the same computer.

Downloading the Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview

Running 19.1 and the v21 Preview on the same computer

Installing Robot Studio v21 Preview prerequisites

Installing Pega Robot Studio

How to get training:

In the table below, access the links to Pega Academy to learn more about a feature or get started on the v21 Preview mission by clicking this link:

Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview 2 training

How to provide feedback:

We welcome your feedback and questions about the Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview. The good ideas and feedback you give us about the Preview will be considered for incorporation into the version 21 GA Release.

Do not open Pega Support tickets for feedback; instead, use the Help > Ask a Question form, as described below. We will monitor the collaboration center for feedback, questions, and issues.

Provide feedback for Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview

New Items in Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview 2

Application methods

Application methods are single-purpose automations that are created by automation developers and used in an automation just like any out-of-the-box method of an application. Application methods isolate key functionality in small components or modules that are easy to reuse, test, and share.

To create an Application method, right-click on an application in the Project Explorer.

Application method menu options
Menu showing the Application Method options from
                                                the Project Explorer.

Application methods should be limited in scope. For example, an Application method might contain only a login or search sequence. Limiting the scope makes it easier to share, reuse, and test Application methods.

The Project Explorer shows the dependency of the Application methods to their application, as in the following figure.

Application methods
A screenshot of the Project Explorer that shows application
                                    methods nested under the parent application.

When creating Application methods, you only see the controls and methods that exist for the Application method. For example, there is no access to Globals and you cannot reference other applications.

Text applications

Use Text applications to integrate with terminal emulator applications. Pega Robot Studio lets you create projects that integrate with mainframe applications. Robot Studio supports the most commonly used WinHllapi- and EHllapi-based emulator software.

Text applications can be added with the Project Explorer Add button or in the Quick Start wizard.

Text adapter
Quick Start wizard showing Test adapter

Script component

The script component lets you add custom C# methods to your solutions. The script component can only be added to Globals.

Script editor
Editor for the script component to add C# code methods.

Migration utility

Use the Preview migration utility to migrate your Robot Studio 19.1 solutions to 21.1 projects, so you can open and test them. For more detail, see the Preview Migration Utility.

Environment overrides

Environment overrides in v21 replace Configurations in prior versions of Robot Studio but work in much the same way. Use environment overrides to customize your project to run in different environments. Some examples of environments that you may need to customize for are Development, QA, and Production. You can override property values for variables, controls and match rules at runtime for each environment.You can set values of certain variables and properties at runtime based on the environment you're running.

Adding an environment
Dialog for adding environment, overlaid on Edit
                                                environments window.

At runtime, the overrides are applied to the project before the project is run. In the following figure, the Text for a Windows form in the Test environment is Test Form and in the Production environment it is Production Form.

Environment overrides
Figure showing environment overrides set up for Test and Production

Manage references dialog

The Manage references dialog allows you to add references to your project that are required for your C# scripts. You can access this dialog from the Script editor.

Manage references
Manage References dialog showing the Current

The Current tab shows the references used in the Project. You can also add references from:

  • .NET (GAC or Global Assembly Cache)
  • Pega (installation folder)
  • PublicAssemblies folder (in AppData)
UI Connector support

Use the UI Connectors feature to develop translators for .NET and Java applications and extend support for additional controls. With this feature, you build the integration points that provide the ability to automate the controls for an application.

  • Mimic the power and control that Robot Studio provides out-of-the-box.
  • Map the properties and methods of a control to the standard items used by automation developers.
  • Use when you interrogate an application and the application controls are not identified.
StartMyDay support

Added support for StartMyDay.

StartMyDay provides a set of accelerator methods that are used to start applications on demand or automatically at project startup. StartMyDay also allows a user to visually arrange the applications on their desktop to their preference.

StartMyDay methods and properties are in the Toolbox, under Accelerators.

Add existing project items

You can now add a project item to your project that exists within another project. You can also use the Generate new ID capability to safely duplicate a project item that exists within your project. You can add an automation, an application, or a Windows form.

In the Project Explorer, select Add > Existing file.

Add existing file
Dialog showing Add existing file feature.
Application screenshots collectionWhen interrogating an application, screenshots are automatically taken that assist with documenting the application use cases. These screenshots can be viewed on the Screenshots tab of the Application Designer, and sensitive areas can be blurred if required.
Screenshot of application shown in Application
Logging improvements

Support for adjusting logging levels by category has been added to Robot Studio and Robot Runtime as in the following example:

<Category name="Automation" logLevel="3"/>

Logging categories and their log levels are maintained in PegaStudioConfig.json and PegaRuntimeConfig.xml, in the %appdata%\Pegasystems folder.

Automation issues dialogWhen you open an automation, Robot Studio now shows any exception that might prevent the automation from running. When exceptions are found, you are presented with a dialog that lists them, as in the following figure:
Automation exceptions
Dialog showing a list of automation exceptions
                                            preventing deployment.
Intelligent Recording enhancements

You can now reorder steps in the Recording assistant.

Click and drag the Drag handle of a step to change the order of steps in the Recording assistant.

Reorder steps
Figure showing Recording Assistant with Drag handle

Runtime helper methodsSupport for the following Runtime methods and events have been added to the Toolbox:
  • GetProjectPath()
  • GetDeploymentVersion()
  • GetRuntimeVersion()
  • GetProjectVersion()
  • RobotNotReadyForWork event
  • RobotReadyForWork event
Message manifest

Message manifest support is now included. Message manifest methods are available on the Toolbox. You can manage message definitions from the Project properties panel.

Project propertiesProject properties can now be edited on the Project explorer. Click the i icon next to the project name to view the project properties panel.

i icon
Figure showing i icon on the Project Manager.

New Toolbox methodsNew methods were added to the Toolbox in three areas:
  • Math methods (Utilities folder of Toolbox)
  • Financial methods (Data Handling folder of Toolbox)
  • Process methods (Data Handling folder of Toolbox)
New methods
Toolbox showing locations for financial, math, and
                                            process methods.
Unit testsThe UnitTestHelper is now available.
Microsoft Edge compatibilityYou can now automate Microsoft Edge applications that run in compatibility mode. Add a new application to your project and choose Microsoft Edge.
Electron compatibilitySupport for Electron applications is now included.
Pick-type dialogMultiple UI improvements have been made to the pick type dialog.

Items not yet included

CitrixNot yet available.
Debugging tools

The features available in Robot Inspector are being incorporated into Robot Studio v21 and will be made available through Robot Runtime.

Automation playback provides the ability to step through a Robot Runtime log through the lens of the automation developer in Robot Studio.

Stay tuned...

Deployment Since this is not a ‘Production ready’ version of Robot Studio, deployment has been disabled.
Continuous Integration toolsNot yet available.
Interaction framework Not yet available.
Recording limitationsFor best results, limit Recording to one application at a time. Neither screenshots nor the output of steps to PDF are provided yet.
Robot Manager integration

For most features, Robot Manager integration will require a minimum version of Robot Manager 8.6.1. This integration will be available in a future release of the v21 Preview. Notable features that are not part of Robot Manager 8.6.1 (or Platform 8.6) include:

  • In v21, we are redesigning how attended bots are invoked from Pega applications. This integration will no longer include the use of the Robot Runtime REST service. Support will be added in Pega Platform and Robot Manager 8.7.
  • Automation package signing will be added to Robot Manager 8.7.

Pega Platform 8.7 and Robot Manager 8.7 are in development now and expected to be released in Q4, 2021.

Synchronization engine support Not yet available.
Toolbox limitationsAdding custom items to the Toolbox will be available in a future release.

Translator support for the following software is not yet available:

  • ComponentOneOCX
  • Delphi
  • LegaSuite
  • OracleForm6
  • PowerBuilder
  • QuickBooks

Items included in Pega Robot Studio v21 Preview 1


Start screen

Pega Academy Startup topic

The new Start screen simplifies creating a new project or working with existing ones.

Start Screen

Quick start: The new Quick Start feature lets you quickly name a project, select an application, and begin recording an automation.

You can also open an existing project or build a new project from scratch. You can also add folders as needed, to help with organizing your project.

Project Explorer

Pega Academy Project Explorer topic

When a project is open, the main screen is the Project Explorer. The Project Explorer provides a clean, easy-to-use experience for creating, updating, and organizing your automation projects. The Project Explorer shows important information about recent projects.

The Project Explorer lists all project items, which are described below:

  • Globals
  • Applications
  • Automations
  • Windows forms


Pega Academy Toolbox topic

The Toolbox contains components and variables, organized into logical sections. In addition, we have extracted properties, methods, and events from the utility components (such as stringUtils) and placed them directly in the Toolbox. You can easily search for and locate the item you need. Recently used objects display at the top of the Toolbox. In addition, you can right-click an item and add it to your Favorites, which are always handy at the top of the list.


The Toolbox displays on the left side of the screen, beside the Palette. Its content changes based on the type of project item selected (automation versus Globals, for example).

The Toolbox has icons that indicate whether an item is a variable (V icon), component (C), property (P), method (M), or event (E).


Pega Academy Palette topic

The Palette replaces the Object Explorer. Like an artist’s palette, it provides a clean, well-organized location containing only the necessary items used to build the current automation. The Palette always occupies the left side of the screen.

To add or remove a project item—Windows forms, automations, or applications—click Include at the top of the Palette. To add a Toolbox item, drag it to the design area.


Pega Academy Globals topic

Each project has a single Globals project item by default. This item is docked at the top of the Project Explorer and displayed on the Palette for each automation. This project item replaces the Global Containers that were used in previous versions. You can add folders to Globals to make the content more manageable. In a later version of the Preview, when 19.1 projects are upgradeable, the system will create a folder for each Global Container.

When dragging items that are designed to be global in scope to an automation from the Toolbox, the item is moved automatically to Globals.

Application designer

Pega Academy application designer topic


Pega Academy UseKeys topic

Adapters are now referred to as application project items.

The matching window has been redesigned. The single property grid on the right side of the screen is used to evaluate all sections—match rules, targets, and selected controls.

Application designer

The Palette has icons that indicate the matching status and cloning. A green eye represents a successful match.

For a cloned item, you will see the number of cloned items. (The number is accurate from 0-9; when more than 9 items are matched, you will see 9+.)


Automation surface

Pega Academy Automation surface module

Visually, the automation surface has been updated but the general workflow of automations has not changed.

The Select action dialog is used to add blocks to the automation surface; select an item from the Palette and drop it onto the automation surface to show the Select action dialog. Select a pinned property, method, or event, or click More to explore all properties, methods, and events that are available.

Sensitive data

Pega Academy sensitive data topic

Sensitive values like Personally Identifiable Information must never show in logs or be visible on the automation surface. New features have been added to help you ensure that sensitive data is protected.

  • A sensitive-data variable has been added, to use as an input/output parameter or local/global variable.
  • You can use the Property Grid to mark existing variables as sensitive.
  • Robot Studio automatically marks interrogated password controls as sensitive.
  • You can mark other interrogated controls as sensitive.
Sensitive data lock

Testing and debugging

Pega Academy debugging module

There are two ways to debug in v21 Preview: either by running the project or by testing an automation. Choose Run all to debug the entire project, as in 19.1.

Testing is a new capability in v21, which makes debugging faster and easier. Testing allows you to debug a single automation plus any subautomations. Automations being tested use any currently open applications.

When debugging, property values display on automation blocks, providing immediate feedback.

We are especially interested in hearing how this new feature works for you.

Intelligent Recording

Pega Academy Intelligent Recording module

Intelligent Recording records the steps in an application and builds an automation as you work. You can modify and delete steps as needed.

Windows formsStandard Windows forms functionality is provided, so you can add your own forms. More screen design options are coming.

Have a question? Get answers now.

Visit the Support Center to ask questions, engage in discussions, share ideas, and help others.

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