Instant Testing lets you quickly test each new version directly after conversion. For mobile devices, just scan the barcode to open the web page. 

Instant Testing offers several time-saving services to developers:

  • After you convert a form or calculator to a web page, it opens automatically in one or more of your web browsers.
  • The converted web page can be directly accessed from other devices on the same network, without uploading it to a web server.
  • A link to the just converted web page is provided in the form of a barcode that can be scanned using the camera in a mobile device or laptop to open the web page.

Introduction

Automatic preview in web browser

Using the Browsers and Conversion Path Option you can get a list of all the web browsers installed in your system.

browser and conversion path

Select one or more web browsers by clicking on their icons. After each conversion, the converted web page will open automatically in all the selected browsers.

Screenshot of the browser selection buttons in the settings

Testing in other computers

The Instant Testing web server in the development workstation attempts to provide the converted web page to any computer or other device on the same network. Copy the link and send it to other devices via e-mail or messaging.

The QR code window

SpreadsheetConverter automatically generates a barcode, a so-called Quick Response code, that contains a link to the converted web page in the developer’s workstation.

Special QR code reader apps allow you to scan the barcode with a mobile device to have the web page open automatically in a web browser on a smartphone or tablet. You can also use the barcode to open the web page in another laptop, if it has a camera. Read more in the QR code tutorial.

To display the QR code for a particular web page in the developer’s environment, just go to the History List and click on the QR icon to open the QR code window.

qr2

The ThemePreview toolbar also contains a convenient link to obtain the QR code, e.g. if you want to see how different themes change the appearance of a calculator in a mobile device.

Screenshot of the QR code link in the ThemePreview toolbar

If you are viewing a converted web page from another device, you only need to scan the barcode the first time you open the page. If the web page is already open in your mobile device, just press the Reload button. It is usually a circular arrow (it looks like a “rotate clockwise” symbol) and it is often located near the website address field.

Screenshot of the Reload button in Safari

Ready for production use

When you have finished testing a spreadsheet, you can of course keep using it from the development environment if all users are on the same network as the developer, and the development system is permanently online.

If you want to make a calculator or web form available outside your own local network, you still have to upload the converted web page to a public web server.

Troubleshooting

During the installation of SpreadsheetConverter, we install a tiny web server in the development environment that serves the converted web pages to web browsers in the same PC, or to other devices on the same network.

You may be unable to connect to the development environment. In this case you may get time-out error messages in your web browser saying

  • the page can’t be reached or displayed
  • the server is taking too long to respond
  • the connection has timed out.

You should also check the Errors tab of the task pane for error messages like these from the conversion:

  • Local web server error: The server failed to start.
  • Localhost Error: the page could not preview from localhost.

All devices must be on the same network

If you are trying to access the web page in the development workstation from another device, you should double-check that you are indeed connected to the same network as the development workstation. Your device should typically be showing a wifi symbol for the local network – don’t try this with a phone that says it’s connected with 4G or any other “G” because it probably won’t be able to reach your local devices.

Good: Wifi icon from a cellphone      Bad: 3G icon from a smartphone

“Localhost” is, well, local

If the link you have contains the word localhost, it can only be used on the development workstation. To use the link from another computer on the local network, you must replace “localhost” with the local network address to the development workstation. Read more under Determine the local network address below.

Using more than one IP address in the development workstation

To access the preview web server in the development workstation, other devices need to know its network address. All computers on a network have more than one so-called IP address that can be used to refer to it. Sometimes it’s pretty easy to determine this address, but there are a number of more complex network configurations that we just cannot handle automatically.

  • Multiple network adapters: Computer C1 is connected to networks A and B using two network adapters. Computer A1 on network A wants to use Live Preview on C1, and it needs to use the A interface and address for C1. Computer B1 on network B wants to use Instant Preview on C1, and it needs to use the B interface and address for C1. B1 cannot use the A address since it isn’t even connected to network A and it has no way to communicate with any device on that network. And there have to be two or more QR codes to choose from as well, depending on whether the mobile device is connected to network A or B.
  • Active VPN connection: If you are using a Virtual Private Network, it may have established several additional IP addresses for the advanced routing of packages across the VPN connection.
  • Internet Connection Sharing: If you are sharing your Internet connection with other users on the same network, there will be special reserved IP addresses for this that cannot be used for Instant Testing or Live Preview.

In cases like these, we must hand the problem over to you, or someone with basic networking skills that can help you.

Determine the local network address

Here are the initial steps to identify the development workstation’s “true” IP address on the local network:

  • Open a Command Prompt on the development workstation.
  • Type route print.
  • The output from route print contains all the different network Interfaces. One of these IP addresses can be used to access your computer from the local network.
  • Move to the screen of any computer on the local network from which you want to connect to the development workstation.
  • In the link, insert the IP addresses from the Interfaces column above, one by one, until you find one that works from that particular device.

Hint: the link should eventually look something like this:

  • During a Live Preview session:
    http://192.168.59.2:8888/livepreview/weekly-time-card/weekly-time-card.htm
  • After a one-time conversion:
    http://192.168.59.2:8888/l/weekly-time-card/weekly-time-card.htm

Antivirus issues

Some overly anxious antivirus and Internet security programs may incorrectly identify portions of our product as malware. We frequently see false alarms related to the node-ssc.exe or node.exe programs, in particular from Bitdefender. If you get such messages, you may have to whitelist the program or disable the antivirus program completely while using SpreadsheetConverter.

Read more on the help page for Internet security software.

Firewall issues

The only traffic going into your network should be things that you or someone else asked for, like web pages, downloaded files or e-mail. Your network has one or more “firewalls” that prevent unauthorized network connections to your devices. If someone on the outside attempts to connect to a suspicious program in your laptop, it’s probably a bad thing. One of the firewalls should detect and prevent this intrusion.

Most networks have a primary firewall in or near the network’s outermost router or gateway, the one that connects your network to the public Internet. Many network devices like computers and smartphones also have their own firewalls. The firewalls monitor the applications to see what network ports they open, and allow data to flow through authorized connections. Unauthorized connections are terminated.

When we install our small web server in the development workstation, we do attempt to register it properly in the Windows Firewall. In case it doesn’t work as expected, you must adjust the firewall to enable access to the built-in web server, or our preview functionality will be unavailable. Please follow the instructions below.

The built-in server automatically finds a free incoming port, so the port number may change. You must ensure that the firewall is open for all ports that are opened by node-ssc.exe, not only the port number it is currently using.

The instruction on how to change these settings in the Windows Firewall are below. Please follow the instructions relevant to the version of Windows that is used in the development environment. If you use a third-party firewall, please follow the corresponding instructions in the applicable documentation.

Windows 8 and Windows 10

These instructions apply to the development workstation, e.g. the PC where you have installed SpreadsheetConverter, if it’s running Windows 8 or Windows 10.

  1. Open the Windows Firewall control panel.
  2. In the left pane, click Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall.Screenshot of the WIndows Firewall Control panel in Windows 8 and 10
  3. Click Change settings at #1 on the screenshot below. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.Screenshot of the Windows Firewall settings in Windows 8 or 10
  4. Select the check box next to the node-ssc.exe or node.exe program at #2 on the screenshot above.
  5. Select the check box for Private at #3 on the screenshot below. Deselect the check box for Public so that the web server is not accessible for users of insecure public networks.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Close the Windows Firewall control panel.
  8. Move to the cell phone, tablet or laptop that you were using to test the online calculator. Refresh the calculator web page in the web browser – the page that got the time-out error message – and it will probably load correctly now. If it doesn’t, don’t hesitate to contact our Help Desk.

Windows 7

These instructions apply to the development workstation, e.g. the PC where you have installed SpreadsheetConverter, if it’s running Windows 7.

  1.  Open the Windows Firewall control panel.
  2. In the left pane, click Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall.Screenshot of the WIndows Firewall Control Panel in Windows 7
  3. Click Change settings at #1 on the screenshot below. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.Screenshot of the WIndows Firewall settings in WIndows 7
  4. Select the check box next to the node-ssc.exe or node.exe program at #2 on the screenshot above.
  5. Select the check box for Home/Work (Private) at #3 on the screenshot below. Deselect the check box for Public so that the web server is not accessible for users of insecure public networks.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Close the Windows Firewall control panel.
  8. Move to the cell phone, tablet or laptop that you were using to test the online calculator. Refresh the calculator web page in the web browser – the page that got the time-out error message – and it will probably load correctly now. If it doesn’t, don’t hesitate to contact our Help Desk.

Windows Vista

These instructions apply to the development workstation, e.g. the PC where you have installed SpreadsheetConverter, if it’s running Windows Vista.

  1. Open the Windows Firewall control panel.
  2. Click Change Settings. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.Screenshot of the WIndows Firewall Control panel in WIndows Vista
  3. Select the Exceptions tab.Screenshot of the Windows Firewall settings in WIndows Vista
  4. Select the check box next to the node-ssc.exe or node.exe program at #1 on the screenshot below.Screenshots of the Windows Firewall Exceltions tab in Windows Vista
  5. Click on Properties at #2 on the screenshot below.
  6. Click on Change Scope.Screenshot of the Properties window in the WIndows Vista Firewall
  7. Set the scope to My network (subnet) only so that the web server is not accessible for users outside your own network.Screenshot of the Scope settings in the Windows Vista Firewall
  8. Click OK three times to close the Change Scope window, the Edit a Program window and the Windows Firewall Settings.
  9. Close the Windows Firewall control panel.
  10. Move to the cell phone, tablet or laptop that you were using to test the online calculator. Refresh the calculator web page in the web browser – the page that got the time-out error message – and it will probably load correctly now. If it doesn’t, don’t hesitate to contact our Help Desk.