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T-Plan Robot Enterprise 3.5.2 Doc Collection
01/07/14

T-Plan Robot Enterprise 3.5.2 Release Notes

Build No.  3.5.2-20140701.1


Contents

1. Client System Requirements
1.1 Java Requirements
1.2 JDK Installation & Configuration
2. Server System Requirements
2.1 VNC Server
2.2 Static Image Testing
2.3 Android Over ADB
2.4 Local Desktop
2.5 iOS Mirror
3. Installation
4. License Key
5. Upgrade And Migration
6. Uninstallation
7. Startup
8. Integration With T-Plan Professional
9. Optimizing Performance
10. Troubleshooting

1. Client System Requirements

T-Plan Robot Enterprise runs in a client-server scenario where the client system executes T-Plan Robot Enterprise and automates the server system (System Under Test, SUT) through one of the supported remote desktop technologies (such as RFB/VNC). As the client and server systems may be two fundamentally different platforms, we list the client system (discussed in this chapter) and server system requirements (the following chapter) separately. These are the requirements for the client system running T-Plan Robot Enterprise:

Item
Minimum
Recommended
Processor (CPU)
Not set1
2GHz+
Memory (RAM)
128MB (required by Java)2
512MB+
Free Disk Space
50MB for Robot alone. Add approx. 50/100MB for the Java JRE/JDK installation.
200MB+
Operating System
Any system supported by Oracle's Java 1.6+ (Java 6 or higher) or compatible.
64-bit OS preferred for memory intensive2 deployments.
Web Browser
Internet Explorer 6 and higher
Mozilla Firefox 3 and higher
Google Chrome 1 and higher
Opera 9 and higher
Apple Safari 3 and higher (limited support due to missing XPath support)
Any other web browser supporting XML, XSLT and XPath

Installed Software
1. Windows Installer 3.1 (WindowsInstaller-KB893803-v2-x86.exe) - only for users installing the Robot's .exe distribution (see Installation)
2. Java (JRE or JDK) version 6 or higher (see the Java Requirements and JDK Installation & Configuration chapters below)
3. Tesseract OCR (optional) if text recognition on the SUT screen is required (details).
Latest Java SE (JDK) from Oracle Inc.
1 Slower processors will result in slow performance of graphical operations, such as image comparison or OCR.
2 The overall memory requirements depend on the SUT desktop size, the nature of graphical operations performed by the script and the number of parallel automated processes where the test suite is designed as a multithreaded one. If you experience errors with java.lang.OutOfMemoryError visible in the stack trace, raise the heap size allocated to the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) through the -Xmx option. The instructions are available in the Memory Adjustments chapter.


1.1 Java Requirements


T-Plan Robot Enterprise is a Java application and it will run on any system with Java 1.6 (Java 6) or higher installed. Some features such as for example the iOS Mirror connection require Java 1.7. Though there are more Java producers, T-Plan Robot Enterprise is being developed on Java 6 from Sun Microsystems Inc. and we recommend you to use it as long as your platform (OS) is supported (see the list of supported systems) .

To verify whether Java is installed on your machine open a terminal window (Unix/Linux) or a command line prompt (Windows) and run the following command:

java -version

If Java is present on your machine and its binaries are on the system path, it displays its version. Make sure it is at least the required one (1.6). If Java is not present, you may download it for free from the following location:
Java is being shipped in two distributions, the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Development Kit (JDK). JRE is a subset of JDK and doesn't contain the Java source code compiler and libraries needed for development. T-Plan Robot Enterprise runs with both but certain functionality requires JDK, such as development and on-the-fly execution of Java test scripts and Java code blocks. If you plan on using this functionality, get a JDK. If you are used to Java development with NetBeans IDE, you may consider getting it from Oracle Inc. together with the JDK in one software bundle. Both components are open source and free. Installation of a JDK requires an update of the system path as is described in the following chapter.


1.2 JDK Installation & Configuration


If you plan on developing Java test scripts or using the Java code blocks you will need to install JDK and configure T-Plan Robot Enterprise in one of the following two ways:

Alternative 1: Configure the JDK path through T-Plan Robot Enterprise preferences (v2.3.3 and newer):
  1. Create a new Java test script through the File->New Test Script->Java Test Script in the T-Plan Robot Enterprise GUI.
  2. Right click the editor and select Compile.
  3. T-Plan Robot Enterprise will search known paths for the installed JDK packages. If it finds a JDK the compilation succeeds and no error is reported. Otherwise it will display a message leading to the Preferences window where you may set the JDK installation path or location of the javac compiler manually.
  4. Should you need to cancel the auto setting or to switch to another JDK you may reconfigure the path in Edit->Preferences->Java Test Script Interpret panel.
Alternative 2: Make T-Plan Robot Enterprise start using the java or javaw binary (all product versions). This method overrides the first alternative if both are set up.
  1. Option 1: Put the <JDK_dir>\bin path to the system path. This will make your OS use the JDK as a default interpret for all Java applications.
MS Windows instructions:
    1. Start Windows Explorer, right click the Computer node and select Properties in the context menu.
    2. Navigate to the Advanced tab or item (depends on Windows version) and select Environment Variables.
    3. Edit the Path system variable and put path to your JDK's bin/ directory followed by a semicolon to the beginning of the path (typically "C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_<version>\bin;").
    4. Save the variable and close all windows with OK. 
    5. Open a command prompt and type javac. The command must be found and print out the supported parameters.
Other systems: Installation of JDK on other systems may or may not configure the system to use the JDK binaries by default. Refer to your OS documentation for information on how to adjust the system path list and/or associate Java applications with a particular Java distribution.
  1. Option 2: Replace "java" in the T-Plan Robot Enterprise start command with absolute path to the JDK's "java" binary. For example, on MS Windows edit the robot.bat file, replace "java" with "C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_<version>\bin\java" and use the batch file to start T-Plan Robot Enterprise. For information on how to modify the other start up methods (Windows menu, starting from T-Plan Proffesional) see the Startup and Integration with T-Plan Professional chapters. 
To verify that Robot runs on top of the JDK restart Robot's GUI, select Help->About in the menu, switch to the System Information tab and make sure that the java.home property value points to the JDK install folder.


2. Server System Requirements

Server system requirements depend on the connection type (protocol) selected for the System Under Test (SUT) control. T-Plan Robot Enterprise 3.5.2 by default supports these connections:

Connection Type
Description
Connection URL*
VNC Server
Testing over the RFB (VNC) 3.3, 3.7 or 3.8 protocol.
rfb://<serverNameOrIP>:<port>
Static Image
Testing of image files or systems with image file output.
file://<filePath>
Android Over ADB
Testing of Android devices connected through the USB cable over the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) tool.
adb://default
adb://<deviceSerialNo>

Local Desktop
Testing of applications and system components displayed on the local desktop. java://localhost
iOS Mirror
Testing of iOS devices using a combination of AirPlay screen mirroring and the T-Plan or VNC server. apple://<serverNameOrIP>:<port>
* The connection URL is used to establish the connection to the SUT from a test script (the Connect command) or from the CLI.

2.1 VNC Server

Automation through the RFB protocol requires the SUT to run a VNC server. A good overview of existing VNC products is on Wikipedia, both in the VNC and Comparison Of Remote Desktop Software topics. T-Plan Robot Enterprise should work fine with any VNC server which is RFB 3.x compatible.

Summary of servers by the target platform:

Desktop PC Platforms
Portable Devices

For mappings of the phone keyboard onto standard PC keyboard events see documentation of the particular server you are using.

Be aware that many mobile VNC servers do not fully comply with the RFB 3.x specification and may crash on the standard VNC session settings. When a connection failure is experienced, it is recommended to reconfigure the RFB client on Robot's side (at Edit->Preferences->RFB (VNC) 3.x Client) to the minimal configuration (disable all encodings except the Raw one and disable the custom pixel format). It is also a good idea to set on the Console debug logging preference to get debug messages printed out into the console window (command prompt). If the connection succeeds this time, try adding the encodings and/or setting the pixel format one by one to identify the one which causes the crash. Most problems are due to enabled Cursor or Zlib encodings or when the pixel format is forced to a one which the server can not handle.

Summary of suitable servers for mobile devices:
The following matrix describes the servers in details. Should you want to contribute to the list with a new unlisted server, contact us through the T-Plan Robot Enterprise Contacts web page.

VNC Server
Platforms
Status/Notes
Tight VNC
all supported by server
Tested by us on Linux & Windows. Be aware that Windows specific keys (Win, Properties) do not work on TightVNC server. The issue has been reported and it is likely to get fixed in TightVNC 1.3.11 or 2.0.
Real VNC
all supported by server
Servers for portable devices (such as mobile phones) distributed by RealVNC in form of OEM software are not compatible and will not work with T-Plan Robot Enterprise.

RealVNC Free Edition relies on the standard RFB v3.x protocol and works out of the box.

RealVNC Personal Edition and RealVNC Enterprise Edition work on a proprietary enhancement of the RFB protocol coded as v4.x. T-Plan Robot Enterprise can work with these servers only in the 3.3 protocol compatibility mode which must be configured on the server side as follows:

1. On the Connections tab of the VNC server window change the settings:
  Authentication - None
  Encryption - None
  Prompt VNC Server user to approve connections - Untick

2. On the Expert settings tab:
  Protocol 3.3 - True
UltraVNC
all supported by server Tested by us; reported to work by users.
Remote Desktop
(Ubuntu feature compatible
with VNC)
Ubuntu Linux
Tested by us. To enable the access:
  1. Select System->Preferences->Remote Desktop in the OS menu
  2. Set on the "Allow other users to view your desktop" and "Allow other users to control your desktop" check boxes
  3. Set off the "You must confirm each access to this machine" check box
  4. As the desktop server runs on the default VNC port of 5900, to connect from Robot use either the IP alone (such as "192.168.100.10") or the IP with the port number ("192.168.100.10:5900").
Apple Remote Desktop (ARD; Mac OS feature
compatible with VNC)
10.4 PPC Mac
10.5 and higher (Intel Mac)
Tested by us on 10.6 Snow Leopard; the legacy platforms were reported to work by users.

To make ARD work with T-Plan Robot Enterprise perform these steps on the Mac OS X desktop:
  1. Start System Preferences from the system main menu (Apple icon)
  2. Open Sharing in the Internet & Wireless section
  3. Tick the Screen Sharing check box in the list 
  4. Click the Computer Settings button, set off "Anyone may request permission", set on the "VNC viewers may control screen with password" and enter a password
  5. Confirm with OK (authorization may be required) 
  6. The window displays description containing an URL like "vnc://192.168.100.10/". As the desktop server runs on the default VNC port of 5900, to connect from Robot use either the IP alone (such as "192.168.100.10") or the IP with the port number ("192.168.100.10:5900").
Canon Remote Operator’s Software Kit
Reported to work by users. Requires T-Plan Robot Enterprise version 3.1.1 or higher to display the desktop in correct colors.
Pocket VNC
Windows CE and Windows Mobile devices
Tested by us. Older versions such as PocketVNC v1.4.3 contain a bug which breaks the desktop image transfer. There's a workaround:
  1. Go to Edit->Preferences in T-Plan Robot Enterprise GUI and locate the "RFB (VNC) Client" panel.
  2. Move the Hextile and Raw encodings to be first and second in the list.
  3. Select "Use custom pixel format" and choose the "16 bit (65k colors)" item in the drop down.
See the Windows Mobile Network article on the PocketVNC site to find out how to get your mobile connectible from T-Plan Robot Enterprise. If your mobile phone can't have an IP address but is connected to the network, use the RFB listen mode for reverse connection from PocketVNC to T-Plan Robot Enterprise.

As some devices disconnect regularly from the network to save battery, Robot may fail to connect with a message like "No route to server" or "Server not found". Pinging the device IP from the PC seems to wake it up in some cases. If it doesn't help, reconnect the device to the network (WiFi) and restart the VNC server to make sure that the connection is active and the device is visible in the local network.
 
NOTE: Pocket VNC in combination with T-Plan Robot Enterprise is one of the very few real black box GUI automation solutions for Windows mobile OS and application testing.
EfonVNC
Windows CE and Windows Mobile devices Version 4.3 has been reported to work by users. As the server by default uses an unusual 15-bit pixel format, the screen may appear bluish. This can be fixed by making Robot to request one of the standard pixel formats as follows:
  1. Go to Edit->Preferences in the T-Plan Robot Enterprise GUI and locate the "RFB (VNC) Client" panel.
  2. Set on the "Use custom pixel format" check box and choose any standard pixel format in the drop down (32-bit is OK).
mVNC
Symbian OS mobile devices
Reported to work by users.

As most keys on the device keyboard are mapped onto the PC numpad, commands automating typing on the device must use the "location=numpad" parameter. For example, to automate typing of a phone number of 123456789 use "Type 123456789 location=numpad".
Veency
iOS (iPod, iPhone)
Tested by us for basic functionality; reported to work by users. Veency requires a jailbroken (rooted) device. There's no alternative because the iOS API does not contain interfaces providing access to the necessary features. You can install Veency from Cydia which gets installed into the device during jailbreaking.

Should you experience freezing display image or other connection problems perform the following steps:
  • On Veency side set off the Enable Cursor preference.
  • On Robot side navigate to Edit->Preferences, select the "RFB (VNC) v3.x Client" panel and move the Raw encoding to the top of the list. On newer Robot versions also disable the Cursor encoding (move it to the disable list on the right).

Veency v0.9.3381 and higher running on iOS 6 may disable the keyboard and mouse input when the connection is not protected by a password. When you experience this behavior set up the password in the Veency UI and restart the device.

VMLite VNC Server Android The VMLite VNC Server is a commercial software available for a small fee from the Google Play store. It can run both on on rooted and unrooted devices. The only difference is that while the server can be started directly on the rooted device, on an unrooted one it must be done through the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) over the USB cable. The ADB tool is available for free as part of the Android SDK.
Droid VNC Server
Android
The Droid VNC Server is a free VNC server for the Android platform. It however requires a rooted phone. For automation of devices which are not rooted see the Android Over ADB alternative.

The server is available through the Android Market. Alternatively search the web for the latest Droid's .apk distribution and install it onto the Android device either from the PC through the Android SDK's "adb install xxx.apk" or through the Astro File Manager on the Android device itself.

The "vncconfig" utility has to run on your server to make the clipboard transfer working. As some VNC servers do not distribute it (for example, TightVNC), the feature may be switched off in T-Plan Robot Enterprise. If you plan on using clipboard changes to transfer text from server to client, get a VNC server which has it, such as UltraVNC or RealVNC.

VNC Servers On Linux/Unix

On Unix or Linux you may run a VNC server on the same machine as T-Plan Robot Enterprise. Most Linux distributions already contain a VNC server in the package repository and allow to install it through the package manager. To find out whether the software is installed on your machine try to run vncserver in a terminal.

The autocutsel utility can be used on Linux/Unix to make the clipboard transfer work instead of vncconfig. It must be executing on the server as "autocutsel -s PRIMARY". If you are running Debian or Ubuntu, you may find the tool in the package repository. Other resources also mention xcutsel but we haven't tested it. Be aware the RFB client can transfer only characters from the Latin-1 (ISO8859-1) character set. This is limitation set by the RFB protocol and we can't do anything about it.

VNC Servers On Windows

It is recommended that you run VNC server on Windows as a service. This will allow you to restart Windows from T-Plan Robot Enterprise and access the login screen after the system restarts. To send system reserved key combinations like Ctrl+Alt+Delete use the Keys tab situated in the top left corner of the T-Plan Robot Enterprise GUI.

There is no direct RDP (Windows Terminal Services) support at the moment. A few users reported that they had succeeded to make the tool work with Citrix/ICA using the RDP2VNC proxy. We are considering to provide an RDP client in one of the future versions. The client API is otherwise open to plugins for those who wish to implement their own protocol support or plug in functionality of other open source projects.

If you connect T-Plan Robot Enterprise to a Windows server running TightVNC, you may experience a refresh problem. Application windows sometimes display on the remote desktop without content and pieces of the window image appear as user moves the mouse pointer over the window. To prevent this behavior open the TightVNC settings window and select the 'Poll full screen' check box.

Windows specific keys like 'Windows' and 'Properties' may be reproduced in scripts through the Press command as long as the VNC server supports them. The keys work fine on RealVNC and UltraVNC. Should you experience any issues make sure to switch on the scroll lock (this is a workaround described in UltraVNC forums). TightVNC 1.3.10 doesn't support the Windows specific keys but planned to support them in the 2.0 release.

VNC Servers In Virtual Environments

VNC servers can execute on a guest system running on a virtual machine, for example in VirtualBox or VMware. The steps for VirtualBox are:
  1. Download and install VirtualBox
  2. Create a virtual machine and install the guest OS in there
  3. Download and install one of the VNC servers on the target machine
  4. Modify network configuration of the guest OS to make port of the VNC server accessible from outside (NAT, ...). See the Control Guest Through VNC VirtualBox forum topic.
VNC servers running on VMware have been reported to have problems with key mapping where the client and server have different keyboard layout (see example[1], example[2]). This typically results in some characters being typed incorrectly on the VNC desktop. This is not T-Plan Robot Enterprise failure.

Another issue you may experience is that the Type/TypeLine commands type lower case characters instead of upper case ones. This problem shoud go away when you open the Preferences window, locate the Press Command panel and make sure that the flag called Fake Shift for upper case characters is on.

2.2 Static Image Testing

Version 2.2 introduced the Static Image Client which allows to load image from a file in the local file system and test it the same way as live computer desktops (except key events). The client supports all Java-compliant lossless image formats such as PNG, BMP, WBMP and GIF. This scenario doesn't require any server or additional configuration.

As there's a mechanism making the client to reload the image when the file gets updated, this connection type may be also used to test applications generating graphical output to an image in the file system. The connect URL is of the standard form of "file://<image_path>" with a special handling of relative paths and images bundled inside a ZIP or JAR file. For details see the ImageClient class documentation.

2.3 Android Over ADB

Version 3.1 introduced the Android Over ADB connection type which enables to automate Android devices over the Android Debug Bridge (ADB). This way is non-intrusive and it doesn't require any software installation on the device (only a configuration change). For details see the documentation.

2.4 Local Desktop

Version 3.2 introduced the Local Desktop connection type which allows to automate applications displayed on the local desktop (the one that runs Robot). For details see the documentation.

2.5 iOS Mirror

The iOS Mirror connection type was introduced in 3.3. It allows to automate iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) using a combination of AirPlay screen mirroring and the T-Plan Server (since 3.5) or VNC server (Veency). Compared to a plain VNC connection, this solution has much faster screen performance and it supports OpenGL content, for example games and graphical programs. For details see the documentation.

3. Installation

T-Plan Robot Enterprise 3.5.2 is delivered in three forms:
  1. T-Plan Robot Enterprise with Windows installer (an .exe or a ZIP file containing an .exe file). This package can be installed just on MS Windows and it will allow you to manage the software as a standard Windows program. It also associates Robot with the .tpr test script file extension. The installer installs the tool into the C:\Program Files\T-Plan\Robot directory by default.
  2. T-Plan Robot Enterprise packaged as Mac OS X application (a .dmg or a ZIP file containing a .dmg file). This package can be installed on Apple Mac OS X only. To install the product on Mac OS drag the TPlanRobot application to Applications after the system opens the downloaded file.
  3. T-Plan Robot Enterprise ZIP file which is a self contained platform independent ZIP archive containing all necessary files. There's no installer. It can be used for all platforms including Windows and Mac OS. All you have to do is to unzip the file into a folder on your hard drive. The archive should contain at least the following files:
File Name
Description
robot.jar Java archive with compiled T-Plan Robot Enterprise classes.
jh.jar JavaHelp(TM) v1.1.3 library, distributed by Sun Microsystems Inc. under Binary Code License (BCL). Used to display Online Help (OLH) window in the GUI. Though this library  is required to compile the code, it is not needed to run an already compiled product because the OLH functionality falls back to the web browser when the library is not found.
activation.jar
JavaBeans(TM) Activation Framework (JAF) v1.1.1 library, distributed by Sun Microsystems Inc. under BCL. Required by the JavaMail library. Not used directly by the product.
mail.jar
JavaMail(TM) v1.4.1 library, distributed by Sun Microsystems Inc. under BCL. It provides E-mail infrastructure for the SendMail command/Java API method call.
poi-3.6-20091214.jar Repackaged Apache POI 3.7 libraries distributed under Apache License v2.0. The archive contains contents of the poi-ooxml, poi-ooxml-schemas, xmlbeans and dom4j libraries. The old library name of poi-3.6-20091214.jar is preserved for compatibility with v2.1 and 2.2. For information on the POI and its subcomponent licenses see the LICENSE file. The library provides connectivity to MS Excel files through the Excel command.
javaparser.jar
Java Parser 1.0.8 library distributed under GNU Lesser GPL (LGPL). To upgrade the library simply replace the file and either put it on the class path or keep the same name to allow T-Plan Robot Enterprise to load it dynamically. The source code of the library packaged with the product is available here. The source code is equivalent to release 1.0.8 and it was not modified.
jna-3.5.1.jar
platform-3.5.1.jar
Java Native Access (JNA) 3.5.1 libraries distributed under GNU Lesser GPL (LGPL). To upgrade the library simply replace the file and put it on the class path. If the files are not put onto the class path Robot will search for any "jna- " and "platform-" prefixed JAR files and load them dynamically. The source code of the library packaged with the product is available here. The source code is equivalent to release 3.5.1 and it was not modified.
JTattoo.jar
JTattoo Look And Feel (JTattoo binary license).
robot.sh T-Plan Robot Enterprise start script for Unix/Linux. See the 6. Startup chapter for more information.
robot.bat T-Plan Robot Enterprise start script for Windows. See the 6. Startup chapter for more information.
imgcompare.sh
Script for offline CLI image comparisons for Unix/Linux. See the 6. Startup chapter for more information.
imgcompare.bat Script for offline CLI image comparisons for Windows. See the 6. Startup chapter for more information.
install.html A copy of this T-Plan Robot Enterprise 3.5.2 Release Notes document.
LICENSE.txt License text. Please read carefully before you start using T-Plan Robot Enterprise.
crc32.properties
CRC32 check sums of all installed files for the Update & Upgrade feature.
help/
Directory with help topics and Java API documentation.
plugins/
Default drop-in folder for plugins. It may or may not exist.

One machine can host multiple T-Plan Robot Enterprise installations. If you however execute more than one program instance at the same time under the same user account, they will overwrite the user specific configuration files because there's no synchronization or locking mechanism in place.

4. License Key

T-Plan Robot Enterprise requires a valid license key to run. It is an encrypted file with the .tlic extension which contains details of your license, such as:
When you purchase a T-Plan Robot Enterprise license, you should also receive one or more license keys. For security purposes the file may be delivered to you separately from the product, for example by an E-mail from a T-Plan sales representative. There are several options to install it:
  1. Save the key file to the T-Plan Robot Enterprise installation directory (where the robot.jar file is located). As the tool checks the folder for any license key files on startup, it will be picked up right away. There might be any number of license files in the installation directory.
  2. Alternatively save the key file to a custom location on your hard drive and take advantage of the License Key Manager to register it. To open the Manager start T-Plan Robot Enterprise in the GUI mode (with no custom CLI arguments). If you have no valid license installed, the tool will display a "No license" error message and it allows you to start the License Key Manager. If you already have a valid license installed, you may start the window through the Tools->License Key Manager menu item. Then add the file to the list of registered license keys. Be aware that the list of such files (meaning keys outside of the installation directory) is saved to a list in the user preferences and it may get lost during migration unless you copy the user configuration file as well. Any change in license key configuration requires product restart.
License keys may be freely combined. It means that you may have any number of license keys installed at a moment regardless of whether the files are in the installation folder or outside of it. The number of connections will be then equal to the sum of licensed connections of all installed valid licenses. This system allows you to purchase additional licenses and plug them into the product easily when you need to scale up.


5. Upgrade And Migration

To upgrade T-Plan Robot Enterprise v2.0 or higher with a new release follow these steps:

Alternative 1: Automatic Upgrade (v2.3 and higher)

Automatic upgrade offers a comfortable and reliable way of promoting your product to a newer version through the GUI. Unlike manual upgrade the automatic process is secured against file corruption (CRC32), detects customized/modified product files and it is able to restore the original product in case of update failure. Steps:
  1. Select Tools->Update & Upgrade in the GUI. If Robot complains of insufficient write permissions, restart it with administrator privileges:
cd "C:\Program Files\T-Plan\Robot\robot"
robot
cd "C:\Program Files (x86)\T-Plan\Robot\robot"
robot
  1. Select the target release in the tree, hit Download & Install, leave the window with OK and restart the application. Details of the upgrade process are available in the Update & Upgrade help topic.

Alternative 2: Manual Upgrade (all versions)

  1. Download the desired standalone cross-platform ZIP release. You may get it from any of these resources:
  2. If you have modified or customized any of the product files (such as for example the start scripts of robot.sh or robot.bat), make a back up and restore them after the update process. You don't need to back up test scripts, template images or configuration files because they will not be affected.
  3. Unzip the ZIP archive to the installation folder and say yes to overwrite the files. The install folder is the directory which contains the robot.jar file:

Migration of T-Plan Robot Enterprise is fairly straightforward. Standalone ZIP releases may be simply copied and moved across the file system or even to another machine or machines with different operating systems. If you migrate to another machine, copy also  user specific configuration files to the user's home folder to keep any preference changes.

Migration of product installed by Windows Installer is possible only through reinstallation. You may however create a standalone cross-platform Robot instance by copying the product files from the installation folder to another location. Such a product may be then started through the robot.bat script or through a direct Java command as is described in the Startup chapter.

A Mac OS X release may be simply moved and/or copied as long as you copy the whole /Applications/TPlanRobot.app folder. You may also create a standalone cross-platform Robot instance by copying the product files from the /Applications/TPlanRobot.app/Contents/Resources/Java folder to another location. Such a product may be then started through the robot.sh script or through a direct Java command as is described in the Startup chapter.


Should you expect any unexpected start up or desktop connection errors after an upgrade or downgrade (migration to a lower version), perform the following steps to restore the factory settings:

T-Plan Robot Enterprise 3.5.2 preserves compatibility with VNCRobot 1.x and later in the following areas:
- Compatibility with the v1.x scripting language. It means that you will be able to migrate test scripts created with VNCRobot 1.x onto the 2.0 version without any modifications. Format of the outputs like screenshots and HTML reports may however change a bit.

T-Plan Robot Enterprise 3.5.2 introduces incompatibilities with VNCRobot 1.x in the following areas:
- Open API (http://www.t-plan.com/robot/docs/v1.3/api/index.html). As interfaces were radically redesigned, the methods and objects have changed. This impacts just a very few users who plugged in their own Java extensions. Some Java development efforts are needed to migrate such extensions onto 2.0. A migration guide may be provided on request.

- Configuration file. As some of the parameter names were updated, T-Plan Robot Enterprise may fail to read some of the preferences saved previously with VNCRobot. Should you experience any issues after migration, delete the config.properties and tplanrobot.cfg files from the user home folder.

- The command line interface (CLI) is compatible with the 1.x versions in terms of supporting the same set of CLI options. Names of the product JAR file and start scripts have however changed as a result of rebranding. If you integrated VNCRobot CLI calls into your test framework, you will have to update the starting commands or eventually rename these files to their old names (robot.jar to vncrobot.jar, robot.sh to vncrobot.sh, robot.bat to vncrobot.bat).
 
Upgrade from VNCRobot 1.3.3 and earlier runs additional compatibility risks documented in the VNCRobot 1.3 Install Instructions.

6. Uninstallation

If you installed T-Plan Robot Enterprise through the Windows installer, you may uninstall it through the Windows software manager (Control Panel->Add Or Remove Software on older Windows versions, Control Panel ->Programs And Features on Windows Vista).

To uninstall T-Plan Robot Enterprise installed from the ZIP file delete the files unzipped during installation. You may also delete the user configuration files. The tool doesn't create any other files or registry entries except automation outputs such as screenshots, template images and automated test reports.

7. Startup

If you installed T-Plan Robot Enterprise through the Windows installer, you may start the tool from the Windows Start menu (Start->Programs->T-Plan->T-Plan Robot). Should you need to start the program with custom CLI arguments, follow the instructions below.

To run the tool on any system from the command prompt change to the directory where you installed T-Plan Robot Enterprise and run one of the wrapper scripts robot.sh (for Unix/Linux) or robot.bat (for Windows). For help on CLI commands run robot.sh -h, resp. robot.bat --help. For a complete reference see the T-Plan Robot Enterprise 3.5.2 CLI Reference. If the tool fails to start, review the Troubleshooting chapter at the end of this document.

The wrapper scripts actually just start Java with proper options. Please note that the wrapper can't handle more than 9 parameters. If you need to pass more parameters or customize the T-Plan Robot Enterprise start command, use the following command syntax: Though it is also possible to run the JAR file directly either as "java -Xmx128m -jar robot.jar" or through double clicking of the robot.jar file on most systems, it is not recommended because it fails to populate class path of the Java compiler. The tool may refuse to compile or even run the Java source code (such as Java test scripts and Java code blocks embedded in regular scripts).

T-Plan Robot Enterprise can be run in two modes: See the CLI Options Specification document available in the T-Plan Robot Enterprise Help or online in the T-Plan Robot Enterprise 3.5.2 CLI Reference document on http://www.t-plan.com/robot/docs/latest/cli/clioptions.html.

Once the GUI is up and running, open Help for instructions on how to use T-Plan Robot Enterprise. There should be a complete documentation set included. All the documents/document collections are also available online on http://www.t-plan.com/robot/docs.

T-Plan Robot Enterprise can be also used for offline image comparison through a simple CLI interface. To explore this feature either run one of the wrapper scripts imgcompare.sh (for Unix/Linux) or imgcompare.bat (for Windows) or invoke Java directly as follows:

8. Integration With T-Plan Professional

T-Plan Robot Enterprise may be on Windows tightly integrated with T-Plan Professional 7.0 or later. It means that T-Plan Professional offers in its GUI actions starting T-Plan Robot Enterprise. This integration is based entirely on the public CLI parameters described in the Robot's CLI reference. Integration principles are well described in the Integration Reference.

There are two ways to configure how T-Plan Professional starts T-Plan Robot Enterprise:
  1. To configure T-Plan Robot Enterprise installation path navigate to the Installed Extensions module of T-Plan Professional as is described in the T-Plan Professional 7.0 Integration Overview chapter of the Integration Reference.
  2. Should you need to modify the T-Plan Robot Enterprise base start command (for example in order to use a custom Java environment or to raise the amount of heap memory allocated by JVM), perform the following steps:
    1. Locate Robot's extension configuration file RobotExtn.ini. The file gets created when T-Plan Robot Enterprise is called for the first time from T-Plan Professional GUI. It is saved to the application data folder whose location depends on the Windows version and configuration. Typical paths are:
    2. Edit the file. It contains a bunch of command templates where each one corresponds to a specific action invoked from T-Plan Professional GUI, such as:
      Run=java -Xmx256m -cp "%1\robot.jar;%1\jh.jar;%1\activation.jar;%1\mail.jar;%1\poi-3.6-20091214.jar" com.tplan.robot.ApplicationSupport
    3. Adjust the commands to your needs. The %1 variable in the example above will be replaced with the product install path specified in the previous paragraph. Each command may contain additional variables which are populated with CLI option values by T-Plan Professional.
    4. Save the file and restart T-Plan Professional to pick up the changes.

9. Optimizing Performance

As T-Plan Robot Enterprise can be employed in various automated testing scenarios and environments, its performance may be significantly improved through fine tuning.

Memory Adjustments

As T-Plan Robot Enterprise performs memory intensive image processing, the tool may eventually run out of memory. This is usually experienced as a crash with a java.lang.OutOfMemoryError or java.lang.StackOverflowError stack trace seen in the console window (command prompt on Windows). The first aid is to raise the amount of memory assigned to the Robot process:

  1. Locate the Robot's java start command based on your start up preference:
  1. When Robot fails with a java.lang.OutOfMemoryError you need to raise the heap size. The -Xmx parameter after the java  (or javaw) command indicates how much heap memory is your Java Virtual Machine allowed to use at a maximum. Raise this number to a higher value. For example, -Xmx512m allows the JVM heap to grow up to 512MB if needed. This limit doesn't mean that the memory is allocated immediately.
  1. When Robot fails with a java.lang.StackOverflowError raise the stack size through the -Xss parameter. The syntax is the same as the -Xmx one. As the defauIt stack size is typically between 384k and 512k for x86 systems and 1MB for x64 ones it is usually sufficient to increase the stack memory to 1MB on x86 (-Xss1m) or to 2MB on x64 (-Xss2m).
Though Java is likely to accept any number up to the size of your RAM through the -Xmx switch, the behavior is further subject to the system architecture:
Tips to minimize the memory consumption:
If you experience memory problems that can't be resolved using the hints above please get us a memory dump from the failing Robot process. You may create it through clicking onto the memory monitor at the bottom right corner of the Robot  3.1.1+ GUI. Alternatively start Robot with the -XX:+HeapDumpOnOutOfMemoryError -XX:HeapDumpPath=./java_pid<pid>.hprof switches after the java (javaw) command to make the process create the dump automatically. See the Oracle documentation for details.


Client Side Configuration

T-Plan Robot Enterprise supports a large number of configurable parameters which may improve performance of both the Robot application as well as the VNC connection. The following table lists the most important ones.

Parameter Name (Location)
Description
Encodings
(GUI:Preferences->RFB (VNC) 3.x Client)
Encodings specify how the image data transferred between Robot and VNC server is encoded. They are specified as an ordered list where the first (topmost) item has the highest priority. Each encoding uses a different algorithm of encoding the image data to trade off between the volume of data transferred over the network (better compression = less data) and the local CPU resources needed to decode it.
  • If your VNC server is in a remote location or the network is slow and your local CPU is reasonably fast, move one of the encodings with high compression such as Tight, Zlib or Hextile to the first place.
  • If your local CPU is slow and the network is fast, try Hextile, RRE or CoRRE which have low compression but are cheap to decode.
  • Do not prefer (set as the first) the Raw encoding. It is the least efficient one where the pixels are transferred in raw form with no compression. Keep it however somewhere low in the list because some simple servers (such as mobile device or embedded system ones) support just this one and require it to be present.
  • Keep the Cursor encoding in the list (in any place) unless you experience problems (some servers don't like it and tend to crash when it is present). It makes the client (Robot) render the cursor locally rather then encoding it into the desktop image. This leads to significant desktop performance improvements on slow network environments. It also makes the image comparison easier and more reliable.
To observe efficiency of encodings set the "Console debug logging" parameter in the same panel to "Full" and check the console window (command prompt) for performance data.
Script editor behavior (GUI: Preferences->Execution)
The script editor in Robot's GUI is by default configured to compile any script changes after a preset amount of idle time. This may lead to slower GUI performance, especially where long scripts are being edited and/or there are multiple open editors and/or one or more scripts are Java source code or call Java source code through the technology of Java code blocks. Consider setting off the auto compilation and compile manually only when needed through the editor context menu or Script->Compile in the main application menu.
Connection pooling (Java API)
Connection pooling allows to reuse server connections which avoids the overhad of reconnection. This mechanism can be applied just from the Java API. See the RemoteDesktopClientFactory class documentation for details.


Server Side Configuration

There are several simple recommendations which may significantly improve performance of the client-server connection:

10. Troubleshooting

This chapter is intended to document the most common install and set up errors. If you meet an issue which is not described in here, report it through the Enterprise contacts at http://www.t-plan.com/support.html.

T-Plan Robot Enterprise fails to start with a message "java: command not found"

There's no Java installed on your machine or path to the Java executable is not included in your OS path. Read chapter Client System Requirements of this document.

T-Plan Robot Enterprise fails to start with a message "Exception in thread "main" java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: com/tplan/robot/ApplicationSupport"

This indicates that the T-Plan Robot Enterprise JAR (Java ARchive) file robot.jar is not correctly included in the Java class path.

T-Plan Robot Enterprise starts but prints out a message "JavaHelp libraries not found. Please make sure that file jh.jar is included in the Java class path."

This indicates that the JavaHelp JAR file jh.jar is not correctly included in the Java class path. The tool will run but you will not have access to the online help. Some links which open in a web browser may however work fine. As all the help documents are available online at http://www.t-plan.com/robot/docs, you may switch to the online documentation and ignore this error. To resolve it:

T-Plan Robot Enterprise fails to start with a NoClassDefNotFoundError, NoSuchFieldError or any other severe Java error

Unless one of the cases listed above applies, these problems are typically experienced when you use Java of version lower than the required one. See the Client System Requirements chapter for required Java version and run java -version to find out which version you have installed.

Either the robot.sh or robot.bat script fails to pass some CLI options

The wrapper script can't handle more than 9 options. All options above this limit are ignored. You must run Java directly as is described in the Startup chapter.

T-Plan Robot Enterprise crashes with java.lang.OutOfMemoryError

Raise the memory limit as is described in the Memory Adjustments chapter.