BioNumerics' internal browser not displaying data

Question: 
I cannot access the BioNumerics online help, online script pages or use the Geographical mapping plugin. In each case an empty window is shown, without any information.
Answer: 

BioNumerics uses an internal browser to display information from web pages in a number of windows. This internal browser is an implementation of the open source Gecko engine, which is used e.g. in Mozilla's Firefox web browser.

By default the Gecko engine in BioNumerics will use the Windows system proxy settings, which can be configured via "Internet options -> Connections -> LAN settings…" in Internet Explorer. This behavior corresponds with a "network.proxy.type" preference value of 5 in the greprefs.js file:

pref("network.proxy.type",                  5);

The greprefs.js Gecko settings file resides in the DLL subfolder of the BioNumerics installation directory. By default this is C:\Program Files\Applied Maths\BioNumerics\DLL or C:\Program Files (x86)\Applied Maths\BioNumerics\DLL, but a different installation folder might have been specified during installation. You can find the actual installation folder by right-clicking the BioNumerics icon on your desktop and selecting "Open file location".

However, even though the web page may be accessible from Internet Explorer there are still a number of settings and environment parameters that may cause the connection being blocked in the Gecko engine. For example the Gecko engine has its own proxy authentication settings which may need tweaking to be able to get the connection working with a specific web proxy server:

For example for Microsoft TMG you may try setting both options to "false" to see if this resolves the issue. The following article describes additional settings that come into play with regards to Microsoft Windows Integrated Authentication: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Integrated_authentication

In addition the organization's security policy and/or tools may need to be configured to allow the BioNumerics "bn.exe" process to connect to the web proxy and/or the internet. For example if the in-between firewall is application-aware it may allow connections from Internet Explorer but not "bn.exe". In this case a rule will need to be added to allow outbound connection from bn.exe as well.

You may also try to manually configure the proxy settings for the BioNumerics Gecko engine, or even better to allow a direct connection. This is controlled by the following settings in the greprefs.js file:

pref("network.proxy.type",                  5);
pref("network.proxy.http",                  "");
pref("network.proxy.http_port",             0);
pref("network.proxy.ssl",                   "");
pref("network.proxy.ssl_port",              0);
pref("network.proxy.no_proxies_on",         "localhost, 127.0.0.1");
pref("network.proxy.failover_timeout",      1800); // 30 minutes

Specifically, editing the default settings to the ones shown below seems to resolve connection problems in a number of cases (change ProxyServerName into the name of your proxy server and use the actual http and ssl ports):

pref("network.proxy.type",                  1);
pref("network.proxy.http",                  "ProxyServerName");
pref("network.proxy.http_port",             80);
pref("network.proxy.ssl",                   "ProxyServerName");
pref("network.proxy.ssl_port",              443);
pref("network.proxy.no_proxies_on",         "localhost, 127.0.0.1");
pref("network.proxy.failover_timeout",      1800); // 30 minutes

Package(s):

Applicable for: 
Version 7.0 - 7.6

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