Why do I occasionally get emails with the Subject Line: "Sumac Online Transaction Server"?

            The Issue

            Some clients may occasionally receive emails with the Subject Line: "Sumac Online Transaction Server," and one of two messages:

            1) Automatic report distribution has been started.
            2) Unable to load reports to be sent automatically.

            Where is this configured in Sumac?

            Utilities > Customize Database > Preferences > Website Integration tab > "Send an email to this address when an error occurs" field.

            It can also be configured under:

            Utilities > Customize Database > Preferences > Report Distributors tab > "If something goes wrong, send an email to this address" field.

            Some Background

            When there is an email address in the "Send an email to this address when an error occurs" field, then whenever Sumac identifies one of the following errors, it sends an email to this email address, telling the recipient to fix the problem.

            Possible Error 1: The structure of the database has been updated (because of a new release of Sumac) but the copy of Sumac serving the website is old and needs to be updated to work with the new database structure.

            Possible Error 2: Keys are being used to encrypt and decrypt payments, but the online transaction server (OTS) does not have a password for a key that will enable it to save payment information.

            There are 2 non-error-related messages Sumac might send:
            1) "Automatic report distribution has been started"
            2) "Unable to load reports to be sent automatically"

            Though neither are errors, here is why they are sent:

            The two slightly different emails are created just a few lines apart in Sumac's code. That area of code has to do with occasional OTS-related tasks. A sub-system is created, then sits dormant most of the time, awakes every so often to check if it needs to do anything, then goes back to sleep.

            "Automatic report distribution has been started," is sent once, when this occasional process is first started, when the OTS instance first creates the sub-system. Then, every time it awakens, it checks if there is anything to do. Specifically, any reports to send. If not, it does nothing and goes back to sleep. This is why some clients might receive the "Automatic report distribution has been started" email, but then do not receive any reports or error messages. It's because there is nothing to do.

            "Unable to load reports to be sent automatically" occurs when Sumac seems to think there should be something to send, but when it tries to do so, it unexpectedly finds nothing. It considers this an error, and sends this email. Essentially, what is happening is the sub-system wakes up, thinks for a moment that it should be doing something, then realizes there isn't an error report to send. It sends the email to basically explain "I thought I should send you a report, but then realized there was no error report to send. I think this is odd, so I'm emailing you about it."

            Should I leave this setting turned on?

            Yes, though receiving these occasional emails is a slight nuisance, should there ever actually be a real error, leaving this setting turned on means Sumac can alert you right away. If the setting is turned off, Sumac will no longer send any of these emails, whether there is an error or not.

            Updated: 23 May 2019 05:23 AM
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