Upon launch of NumberCruncher, some users have experienced an error similar to the following example(s):
Error: An error occurred in the application.
In more recent builds prior to 2021.02, we've been able to identify specific errors and therefore present users with something like this:
Error: Unable to connect to Leimberg servers:
As of version 2021.02, the error message took on Proxy settings as well as an HTTP test console to help further diagnose issues:
Background and Contributing Factors
The results of your calculations often rely on data tables tables that need to be updated periodically throughout the year. Some, such as AFRs, are updated quite regularly, where as others change less frequently. To manage this, NumberCruncher queries the Leimberg servers to check for any updates. If an update is available, the new data is downloaded and stored in XML files on your local file system.
In addition to the above mentioned AFRs, State Death Tax info, tax rates and more can have important changes at any time. NumberCruncher cannot run properly without this data.
When NumberCruncher cannot connect to the servers, the issue usually occurs due to network level security policies which block un-approved applications from making calls over HTTP or HTTPS protocols over the internet.
One factor that has raised some dust is the fact that we took development of the software in-house as of the NumberCruncher & QuickView 2021.XX development cycle, forcing a location change of the meta-data servers. When customers use NumberCruncher behind an enterprise scale firewall or proxy server, any changes to the IP address or domain name being called will often result in a blocked communication, manifested in the various error messages displayed above.
Compounding the above, prior versions of NumberCruncher used the Windows API to make CRUD requests to our meta-data REST API servers. With many updates to security protocols in Windows and in the industry at large, we were forced to change our methodology which opened up a brief period of growing pains. We had to teach NumberCruncher to look up proxy settings (if applicable), and allow for a great number of different security protocols. At last, as of version 2021.02, most of the issues have been ironed out.
There are several elements that come together to solve these connection issues.
White-List Leimberg domains
Leimberg domains must be white-listed. These include all sub-domains.
meta-legacy.leimberg.com (implied by the above)
White-List the NumberCruncher app
The NumberCruncher application file must be unblocked/approved/white-listed, and allowed to invoke CRUD commands over HTTP and/or HTTPS to the Leimberg servers:
C:\Program Files (x86)\NumberCruncher\Numwin32.exe
Configure custom proxy server settings
From version 2021.01, Build 15 forward, the ability to configure custom Proxy settings has been in place. As of 2021.02, when NumberCruncher can't connect, it will first try to look up system/IE proxy settings. If a proxy server is configured in Windows configurations, in most cases, you'll never see an error, and NumberCruncher will remember to route through the Windows settings. If you are prompted with an error, ask your administrator to configure the custom proxy settings.
There are tests that can be run to validate that the Leimberg domains are being blocked by your firewall.
The first test is using your web browser, see if a result can be seen when browsing to the following URL: https://meta-legacy.leimberg.com/get-afr-data
This is the URL that NumberCruncher calls to get AFR data in its encrypted state. If your browser is able to retrieve the data, it will look like a random collection of characters:
NOTE: Often, your browser WILL BE ABLE to see there results, but NumberCruncher will still fail. This is because your browser is a white-listed / approved application for loading data over the internet. For this reason, the test below is generally more reliable.
Use the HTTP(S) Test Console
This console tool was born out of necessity because there are many cases where IT policies allow browsers to make HTTP/S calls, but will block calls from other apps. The Postman example is one way of identifying this issue, but the console is probably easier. This enables your IT admins to work with us to identify the exact response that is being returned when NumberCruncher attempts to connect to the Leimberg servers. In all cases, this is a safe test to use -- don't worry about 'messing anything up'. All the API calls are read-only.
Postman or CURL Test
NOTE: This section is for IT departments, or users with some comfort level in the programming or IT world. If you need our help... don't hesitate to reach out using the support link below, and we'll be glad to jump on to do this test for you.
You can validate that applications other than web browsers are blocked by trying to retrieve the AFR data using a tool like Postman, or by executing a curl command from the command line. That curl code would look like this:
curl --location --request GET 'https://meta-legacy.leimberg.com/get-afr-data'
Once installed, it can be used to retrieve data from a REST API such as the one which retrieves NumberCruncher's AFR data. If you're downloading and installing it for the first time, it will ask you to create a free account. While this is a great idea for someone who will use the tool, you can generally skip that step if you look carefully for a link to skip -- and get right to the main interface. You'll then have to a new collection (think of a collection as a folder), and finally a new request. The following screen shot shows what this might look like:
Again, please don't hesitate to reach out to our support using the link in the corner below for assistance with any of this. We're here to help!