So I got a frantic text message on Saturday Morning…….
So here is the back and forth.
(My Sales Guy) I know it is Saturday morning, are your available for a quick support call? (Me) Sure What’s Up?(My Sales Guy) You know (client name), and that InfoPath form they built XXXX the one that the whole Support Department uses to process customer issues”(Me) I yeah, are are they having some challenges with it?(My Sales Guy) They called me just a minute ago, they are getting an error, the whole Support Department is at a stand still. They have been down for over an hour, and are reaching out for help.(Me) Do you know what the error it? Or who to call?(My Sales Guy) Some Timeout error, call #####, he is on the phone with IBM, Microsoft, anyone to get this fixed.(Me) OK, Calling now, will text you later with the result!
So I called and listened to a very excited IT Admin. I think it was one of those you are calling his mobile, while he is juggling 3 other phones trying to solve the issue. At one point he started talking to all the phones just to keep track…a odd conference call. LOL.
So I finally got him to read the error message on the screen, (below is an example)
So lets talk thru the issue.
So they are using SharePoint 2010 Enterprise, and InfoPath Form Services. The form in question is a monster custom InfoPath form. It uses every custom option you can think of, with popup tool tips, custom controls, workflows tied it, and has Java and .NET running some logic. Generally a “WHY, WHY WOULD YOU DO IT” form.
The size of the form can also be huge when saved with about 5 different Rich Text fields that customers and Support folks put links, images, etc. in. I have seen forms go in 12 mb in size.
When they attempt to load these files, or open a view with all these files in it (7500 list items) the are getting that lovely warning.
“The amount of data that was returned by a data connection has exceeded the maximum limit that was configured by the server administrator. Form elements, such as drop-down lists may be blank.”
So this is an easy fix.
Go to Central Administration > General Application Settings > Configure InfoPath Form Services
Down on the page you are going to see a Data Connection Response Size. It is defaulted to 1500 kilobytes.
Change that setting to support your needs, in this case 4500 kilobytes solved the problem.
Once adjusted…..TADA it was reacting just fine, all was well and the Support team was back in action.
So you might ask was this the best solution. NO, but this was a quick fix. What additional information should you take from this use case…….FORM REWORK.
The form is out of control, a new requirements gathering and analysis should be performed to determine a solution that will limit the risk of data size, large list sizes, and responses. I do expect this content to be moved to a SQL Table, and the use of External Content Types, and Dataviews to support interaction in SharePoint.
Remember that there is a lot of size limitations and thresholds available in SharePoint Central Administration. Any service you are using can run into this. It is important to have your service limitations documented, and have a running log of these error your SharePoint Admin can reference. Also this change needs to be documented in the Governance Control documentation, and should be brought up in the next SharePoint Steering Committee. Use it as an opportunity, not a scar.