E-Forms EZ
1998 by James Carr

Understanding Errors
There are three basic types errors you may encounter. These are described below. All errors are recorded in a text file called e-forms-error.txt, which is stored in the same directory as e-forms.exe. Fatal errors are those that prevent the e-mail from being sent. These are logged to the error file and will also trigger the display of the error_page file, which describes the error to the user.

E-Forms EZ Errors
These errors occur when you don't supply the correct information to E-Forms EZ. The program is designed to be very forgiving. A message will be sent as long you give a value for mail_to (the address receiving the message) and a value for smtp_server (the mail server which transports the mail). Failing to provide either of this two items will result in a fatal error, and the message will not be sent. See the Fields section for more information.

Every other piece of information used by E-Forms EZ can be "deduced" by the program. While this may not always give the desired results, it will guarantee that the form at least sends an e-mail. In some cases a "soft" error is written to the error log when expected information is missing. Therefore, if the form is not behaving as you expect, check the e-forms-error.txt file.

E-Forms EZ errors will be preceeded by the words "E-Forms EZ Reports" in the error log.

Web Server Errors
These errors are reported by the web server itself before e-forms.exe even has a chance to run. If the error message begins with HTTP you can be sure it is from your web server. E-Forms EZ will never report an error message starting with HTTP. If you encounter this type of message you need to check out you web server setup or form setup. Here are some common errors you might see:

The two things to check here are that 1) that e-forms.exe is installed in a directory set up to execute scripts and 2) the form's action property is set to run e-forms.exe from this directory. If you are using a server with FrontPage extensions installed, check here.

Another odd error I've seen is "Socket operation on non-socket." This will happen sometimes. Ever click on a link to a web page and nothing happens? But then you click stop, then click that very same link again and it works? Same thing here. The web server kind of loses track of what's going on. It's not something to worry about.

E-Forms EZ will not run on a Unix web server because it is a Windows program.

SMTP Server Errors
E-Forms EZ will prepare the e-mail, then connect to the SMTP server (Simple Mail Transport Protocol). It gives the message to the SMTP server, which in turn handles the actual delivery of the mail (it's more complicated than that, but humor me). The SMTP server might have its own rules you must follow. If it the server refuses to send the e-mail, E-Forms EZ will report a fatal error. If the error message you see reads, "<smtp server name> reported: ..." then the message is from your SMTP server. You will need to contact the administrator of your SMTP server if you don't understand what the error message means.

Unfortunately, some SMTP servers don't report any error message at all!! If this happens to you, contact the administrator of your SMTP server and ask him or her to help you. If they blame it on E-Forms EZ, tell them that I need to know why the message was rejected before I can fix the problem (if there is one). Don't give up until they explain to you what needs to be done to correct the problem - that's their job. If they give you a rough time, try the company I use: http://www.allinfosys.com.

One common problem with SMTP servers is their Anti-Spam features. Some SMTP servers require a valid format in the mail_from address. They don't actually verify the return address, but they do check to see if the return address is in the format of name@domain.com. So, if you let the user fill out the mail_from field and he enters the all too common "asdfjkl", the SMTP server may reject the message. So make sure mail_from has a valid value.

Along the Anti-Spam line of reasoning, some SMTP servers put up a "firewall" to keep people out. That means that if you test a form from your home or office PC using an SMTP server on your ISP's web server, it may reject the attempt because e-forms.exe is outside of the firewall. The only way to work around this problem is to test the form while it is online. Again, the SMTP server may not return any error message.

If you are stuck, please feel free to e-mail me at carrprog@azwebpages.com with the exact error message you receive.