Timeouts: Avoiding Loss of Your Data

There have been sporadic reports of users losing data after spending a long time entering it into the 7029 Webform. Symptom: the user creates a NEW form, enters data for as much as an hour or more, and then hits SAVE. The form then typically closes, and the users finds him/herself back at dashboard, or even is logged out. When the user returns to the active form just created, it is empty. All the work is lost.

This is not a defect in the form software, but an example of timeout. Unlike a pdf form or Excel spreadsheet, where you may literally leave the document open for weeks, entering data in it as you please, with Webforms you are interacting in real time with a web server and a database over the Internet. As with any Web application where you are filling out very long forms (such as a loan application), you must be acutely sensitive to the issue of timeout. The web server will not wait for you "forever". In fact, for some web servers, 10 minutes is a lifetime.

Experienced users of online applications such as Webforms know to keep their session alive by saving their data every few minutes. Each time you hit "SAVE", you have just told the server "I'm still here", and the server resets any timeout periods as if you had just opened the form.

Saving your data every few minutes, whether composing a Word document, filling out a spreadsheet, or any other document, is a well-known computer "best practice". With online applications that also face timeout, it is the only practice. If this is not part of your behavior, make it so.


When using the Webform system, after you create a new document or open an active one, click the SAVE button upon entering your first line of new data, to confirm that the system is operating normally. Webforms will always redraw the form, and update the saved date and time shown in Section III to the current GMT. Any other behavior is a fault, and should be reported. Then, as you fill out the form, every five (5) minutes or so, hit SAVE again. SAVEs are free; your time is not. We want your Webforms experience to match that of thousands of enthusiastic users.

« New Features in Version 1.0
New Features in Version 0.4 »