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120 Second Time Limit on Form Connectors
Every Connector job that runs on our servers is subject to a maximum run time limit of 120 seconds.
This ensures that all customers receive equal and fair use of our server resources, maintains our infrastructure cost sustainability, and also safeguards against cases where unreasonably large PDF outputs may impact surrounding services.
When a Connector job reaches the 120 second time limit, it will exit immediately and raise a “Failed to complete in the allotted time of 120 seconds” error in your Notifications area and in the Form entry’s Connector logs.
Reasons for hitting the 120-second time limit
1. Size, complexity and other issues with your Excel/Word template
Every page/worksheet and every field, formula or other syntax in your Word/Excel template has to be scanned, evaluated and executed by our template engine.
So if your Excel file has many worksheets or your Word template spans many pages, then this will take longer for our platform to generate an output.
In the case of Excel, having long chains of dependent Excel formulae can also slow generation.
Any links to network drives or other “file/folder” references in your Word/Excel template will cause our template engine to try accessing these unreachable file paths, which will delay processing by a number of seconds.
2. Size and complexity of your Form design
If your Form design consists of hundreds or thousands of fields, then this will take more resources to load and execute as part of the template generation process.
Repeatable pages and Table fields, in particular, can greatly increase generation time, since these can be populated with many repeated sets of fields if you don’t limit the maximum number of repeats that a user can capture.
3. Form entry-specific factors
Two key factors to consider are the number of images and the number of repeated rows captured on the specific Form entries that fail.
Every image that is included in the template output consumes server memory and other resources during the generation process, which slows the overall execution time of the connector job.
Similarly, if the user captures many repeated rows of data, this will slow generation as the template engine needs to loop these repeats and generate accordingly.
4. The type of file to output
Generating a PDF from a Word/Excel template involves almost twice the amount of processing since our platform must first generate the template as Excel/Word and then convert that file into a PDF.
So there are two steps to the creation of a custom PDF output, while there is just one step to generate an Excel/Word output.
Similarly, generating CSV, text, JSON or XML outputs take different amounts of time, but as a whole are usually much faster than a PDF, Word or Excel output.
Why do some entries generate and others time out for the same Form design?
You may also find that some entries for a specific Form design will generate PDFs just fine, but others fail.
In these cases, your template and Form design combination was likely already close to hitting timeout issues, and the failing entries have just that little bit more data (field answers, images) which pushes the template generation over the time limit.
Additionally, these “on the edge” connector jobs are more likely to timeout during peak load times when server resources are at their highest utilisation. “Edge” jobs running during off-peak times have a higher chance of success since the platform generally has more server resources available.
How to resolve timeout issues
We have no plans to increase the timeout period for Connector jobs, for the reasons given earlier.
So if you’re hitting timeout problems, then you need to change your Form design, template and specific entry scenarios to address the root causes above.
Below are some suggestions about how to avoid hitting our timeout limits:
- Reduce the complexity of your Word/Excel template to have:
- fewer pages/worksheets,
- fewer formulae/dynamic syntax
- fewer images included from Form entries
- Check your template for any links to network drives or other such file path references, and remove any you find
- Remove any floating text fields from your Excel templates – these are not supported and are known to delay generation
- Limit the maximum number of repeats by setting a maximum repeat range in the Form design – especially those that contain Media (image) fields
- Simplify your Form design to have fewer fields and thus smaller Form entry datasets
- Split your Form design such that the images/repeated data is uploaded over multiple form entries
- Split your template into multiple template files and have multiple connectors to generate each smaller template separately
I’ve tried the suggestions and my Connectors still don’t run in under 120 seconds 🙁
If you still can’t get your template to generate within the 120-second limit, then ask our support team for help.
Its possible our support personnel can spot an optimisation or tweak to your template which reduces the runtime substantially.