Act! Companion Mobile App Setup on Self-Hosted Server

Act! Companion Mobile App Setup on Self-Hosted Server

Act! Companion is the official Act! mobile app by Swiftpage for iOS and Android.

It relies on retrieving data using the new Web API.  This is faster and more efficient than using the mobile web browser version of Act! Premium for Web (APFW).  Server packet requests are smaller, and the app is more stable.

This guide also assumes that APFW is set up as the default website in IIS, and that you can use the default ports 80 and 443 for http and https.  If your server is co-hosting other applications or your ports are restricted, you may need to deviate from these steps.

Requirements:

  1. Act! Premium Subscription
  2. Windows Server w/ IIS hosting APFW.
  3. Act! Web API
  4. Act! Companion installed on your phone
  5. Access credentials to your router & domain provider DNS settings.

Hire Twelve/Three to set up your Act! Premium for Web & Companion for you! 716-837-5727

Section 1: Set up APFW & Web API

Skip to step 2 if you already have these running.  I will keep this section as concise as possible, just a general overview.  If these steps sound confusing, please call us at 716-837-5727.

Your server must use the Act! Premium (Web) application.  Downloads here.  The standard Premium desktop version does not include IIS components.  Install the (Web) edition, using default settings, and IIS will be configured using the Default Web Site.

At the end of the installer, Act! will prompt you to install the Web API.  Do it.  If you have Act! Premium (Web) installed but not the Web API, you can install it from the Act! installation media.  Browse to C:\<act_prem_web>\Setup.exe and install Web API.

To set up APFW, log in to the database and go to Tools > Web Site Administration.  A panel appears, with four tabs along the top acting as a setup wizard.  Confirm the settings on each tab to add the database to IIS.

Confirm that your database is accessible in a web browser on the server at localhost/APFW.

Confirm that your database is accessible on the local area network (LAN) by browsing to the server’s local IP from another computer on the network.  To find out your local IP, open a command prompt and type ipconfig /all.  Common local IP addresses are in the 192.168.1.x block range.  Other useful data about network configuration is displayed here, keep it for later.

Next step, you’ll need your web server to be accessible from outside the network.  Go into your Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network Connections so that you are viewing the network adapters for your server.  Open the properties of  your ethernet adapter, and then edit the IPv4 properties.  Disable automatic assignment of the IP addresses, you should instead manually assign the network settings as they currently are in ipconfig.  You don’t want these to be changing around in the future due to DHCP.

Last but not least, you need to log in to your router.  Open a web browser and type in the router’s IP address (this is the default gateway address in ipconfig).  Find the settings for port forwarding.  Add a port forwarding rule so that all traffic for Port 80 forwards on to the local IP for the server, and add another port forwarding rule for Port 443 traffic to forward onto the server.

Find out your server’s external IP address (simply google What’s My IP is the easiest way), then try loading that address from a device outside of the network (for example, your phone using cell data non-wifi).  If you see the IIS splash screen, and can try the /APFW suffix, you’re good to move on to step 2.

Your IIS panel should look like this if you have all of the required components installed, including APFW and Act.Web.API

Section 2: Creating the self-signed certificate in IIS

  1. Open IIS
  2. Click on the server name
  3. Double click on Server Certificates icon in the IIS section
  4. Click Create Self-Signed Certificate in the right sidebar
  5. Give the certificate a name; the name of your company (without spaces) is just fine.
  6. Choose Web Hosting as the option from the dropdown.
  7. Press OK to save.
  8. Click Enable Automatic Rebind of Renewed Certificate in the right sidebar.
Creating the Self-Signed Certificate in IIS.

Section 3: Edit Bindings

  1. Click Default Web Site in left sidebar
  2. Click Bindings… underneath Edit Site in the right sidebar
  3. The site bindings window appears.  You should see http binded to port 80 already present. Click “Add…”
  4. The Add Site Binding panel appears.  Choose https for the type in the dropdown.  The port should be set to 443.
  5. Leave the host name field blank.  Do not require server name indication.
  6. In the SSL Certificate dropdown, choose your self-signed cert from Section 2.
  7. Press Ok, then Close the bindings window.
Editing the Bindings to include https on port 443 using our new cert.

Section 4: Restart server & forward port 443 on router

Forwarding port 80 is mandatory.  I am unsure if forwarding 443 is also necessary, but it does not hurt.  Certain packet requests by the app may be using 443, so it’s good to ensure they’re not dropped.

  1. Restart server.
  2. Log in to your router, find the port forwarding settings, and make sure that both ports 80 and 443 are opened, for both TCP & UDP.  Have incoming traffic on these ports forward to your server’s internal IP.

Section 5: Configure domain DNS ‘A Record’

  1. Log in to your domain name registrar (Common ones are GoDaddy, Network Solutions, HostGator, etc.)
  2. Your provider will probably have more specific instructions for setting up an ‘A Record’, search on google.
  3. Add an ‘A Record’ for act.yourdomain.com and set it to forward to your server’s external IP.
  4. No need to specify a particular port or anything.
  5. Technically this change can take up to 24 hours to take effect, but in practice it’s more like a couple minutes.  Wait for a few moments and test it out.

Section 6: Enter settings in Act! Companion and log in

  1. Download & launch Act! Companion
  2. User Name: your Act! username
  3. Password: your Act! password
  4. Server Address URL: http://act.yourdomain.com/APFW
  5. Server Database Name: Your exact DB name
  6. Login

IMPORTANT Notice that we use ‘http’ instead of ‘https’ in the server address URL. 

Companion login settings. Be sure to use http:// and not https://

Section 7: Buy me a beer and say thanks.

Just kidding  🙂

Thank you for reading!  Call me (Stephen Boulden) directly at 716-803-6976, or email me at stephen@twelvethree.com .  Here to help.

Act! Word Templates Error "Unable to cast COM object of type 'Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word.ApplicationClass' to interface type 'Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word._Application'."

When trying to edit a Word template I receive the Error: “Unable to cast COM object of type ‘Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word.ApplicationClass’

Steps to fix:

  1. Close Act and Word
  2. Open a run command and get into regedit
  3. Find these registry keys:
    1. For 32-Bit Version of Windows
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins\ACT7.OfficeAddIn
      • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins\ACT7.OfficeAddIn
    2. For 64-Bit Version of Windows
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins\ACT7.OfficeAddIn
      • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins\ACT7.OfficeAddIn
  4. You will need to modify a registry key named LoadBehavior. It needs to have its value changed from 3 to 9.  Try editing only the two ACT7.OfficeAddin Keys first.
  5. Open Act, test if the problem persists
  6. If the problem continues, go back into the registry and change two more keys LoadBehavior from 3 to 9.
    1. For 32-Bit Version of Windows
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins\ActOffice2007Addin.Connect
      • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins\ActOffice2007Addin.Connect
    2. For 64-Bit Version of Windows
      • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins\ActOffice2007Addin.Connect
      • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins\ActOffice2007Addin.Connect

Call us at 716-837-5727 or use CHAT NOW in the lower right.

 

 

 

Act Google Calendar sync error "value cannot be null"

This article last updated 12/17/2015

Google Integration with Act seems to work haphazardly at best.  One recent error I dealt with for a while involved unable to sync activities with google calendar.  The Act integration would fail, and the error message would read something to the extent of “Value cannot be null.”

Some people reported that disabling duplicate checking in the database solved their problems – in my instance, this did not work.

The solution was to delete a corrupt activity off of the Google calendar.  The activity in question was a recurring activity that happened every week in perpetuity.  My hypothesis is that Google allows activities to repeat for eternity, whereas Act wants recurring activities to have an end date.

Nonetheless, deleting this activity series solved the problem.  Hope this works for you.  Good luck, and call me if you want remote assistance!  716-837-5727.

Act! Resolution, DPI, and Display Settings Problems

This article is updated through March 10th, 2015.

Act! Display Issues on High Resolution Displays

This problem has been plaguing Act! for a few years now.  It seems every time someone purchases a new laptop or Windows Tablet, we get a followup phone call that their Act! is not displaying properly.

UPDATE: There is finally a fix available! Download here. This fix will be included automatically with all Act! versions 18.1 and later.

Symptoms

If you’re reading this, you probably have already experienced these issues:

  • Certain menu options — such as those within Preferences — don’t fill up the window properly.
  • Some text is too large for it’s text box.
  • Notes & History tabs, etc., are too small.
  • Menu Icons are tiny.

Cause

The cause is due to a combination of high resolution, and DPI / zoom settings.  New displays have very high resolutions, which look great.  But high res has a counter-effect of making things appear proportionally smaller.   As a counter-counter-effect, manufacturers often set the DPI (dots per inch) setting to be 125% or 150% larger.  This really throws off Act!.

The Fix

The primary fix for this issue will be bundled up and included with version update 18.1, available in May 2016.
If you don’t have version 18, you can Download and run the executable file here. (Close out all running applications before applying the fix).
Credit goes to Act! forums user JagStyles for helping out the whole Act! world for this great dev work.
Numerous users are reporting great success with the above file.

Other Workarounds

There are other ways to tinker with your display to get it workable, if the above fix did not work for you.

Fix #1:  Disable display scaling

  • Close Act!.
  • Right click on the Act! program icon from your desktop, and go into properties.
    • (If Act! is pinned to the taskbar, you can shift+right click to get into properties)
  • Click the compatibility tab
  • Check the box for “Disable display scaling on high DPI settings
  • Launch Act! and test.

We have mixed results with this one.  If you’re lucky, it’s fixed.  Often, nothing changes.  If this did not help, then go back into the properties and un-check that box to undo the change.

Proceed onto fix #2…

Fix #2:  Lower your resolution & DPI settings

  • Close Act!
  • Right click on the desktop, open Screen Resolution
  • You’ll have different resolution options depending on your display.  I typically target something around the ~ 1600 x 900 range.
  • Apply the changes, confirm changes. Keep the Screen Resolution panel open.
  • Click the link for “Make text and other items larger or smaller”
  • Choose the Smaller – 100%
  • Apply the changes.  You will need to reboot.
  • Test Act! again when it launches.
Windows DPI Settings

Windows DPI Settings

Lowering your resolution is, of course, not an ideal solution.  Nothing is really wrong with it — but it does limit you from using that nice fancy high-res display.  The new settings should still be usable to you though.  Test it for yourself — you can always roll back the change at any time.

As always, call us at 716-837-5727 for remote assistance!

Act Sync Error

Problem:  Trying to synchronize Act database when the sync fails, giving this message.

Synchronization has failed. Server Error Description: Synchronization failed due to an out of memory error on the server. Exception of type ‘System.OutOfMemoryException’ was thrown.

This issue can be resolved by running the SQL2008Rw_Express_BackupFix.bat file attached to this article. Please follow the steps below:

  1. Click the SQL2008Rw_Express_BackupFix.bat file
  2. When prompted, save the file to your Desktop.
  3. Close Sage ACT!.
  4. Go to the batch file and double-click it to run.
  5. Type in the name of your database when prompted and press the Enter button on your keyboard.
  6. Once the procedure starts, do not close the command window until it completes as this will terminate the procedure. The procedure will take several minutes to run.
  7. When the procedure is complete, close the command window when prompted.
  8. Reopen Sage ACT! and test.

Free Act! Classes

We host an Act! learning webcast every week.  100% free and always will be. Twelve/Three wants you to get the most out of your Act! software.  That is why we created our Virtual User Groups.  These VUGs are held every Tuesday morning via GoToMeeting at 9:30 am EST. The webcasts typically run 20 – 40 minutes […]