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rszabo
Nintex Newbie

Workflow editor crashes with bigger workflows

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We experienced a very disturbing issue with our workflows during design time. We have 4-5 bigger workflows (big as the number of action in the WF or the number of actions are not too big, but the task forms are Huge (lots of controls/repeting sections, etc). It's inside the limits. We can publish we can run them. BUT...

 

When a user with averege laptops (Intel i3/5, 4GB+ RAM, Win7, IE11) edits teh WF for a longer period (30 min to 2 hours) the WF Editor silently crashes... 

- Flexi task deciesion brances mixed up for no good reason, or manual change

- Branhes shifts to left or a branch is unusabel anymore (can't add actions into that...)

- Task Forms disappear or on task form got overwritten with another one.

an similar unbelievable events... It's  like the whole WF XML gets ruined.

 

My first idea was that the windows/IE runs out of memory and starts killing the processes inside and accidentally kills Nintex or something like that.

But happens the same with better laptops too... Any Limit to WF XML/FORM size? Unspoken Nintex limitations?

 

Has anybody experienced similar issues?

 

Thanks in advance!

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Automation Master
Automation Master

Re: Workflow editor crashes with bigger workflows

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Hi Robert,

since Nintex ist creating SharePoint 2010 Workflows, the same limitations as for regular SharePoint Workflows apply: Software boundaries and limits for SharePoint 2013

Moreover I know that Nintex only supports Workflows up to ~200 actions. Having more than 200 actions inside your workflow can cause problems (like WF can't be published anymore).

This is all I know about any limitations.

Regards

Philipp

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rszabo
Nintex Newbie

Re: Workflow editor crashes with bigger workflows

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Thanks Philipp, I read a lot about this in teh past days and before too, It looks like the issue occurs when the workflow contains tasks with huge forms and you edit these forms. IE's memory consumption constatly increases and if it's above 1GB the crash likely occurs.

Eg.: I can't click on save workflow, or publish... Simply doesn't do anything. Very disturbing.

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rszabo
Nintex Newbie

Re: Workflow editor crashes with bigger workflows

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Generally speaking I can tell, that there's a kinda hard limit for Nintex workflow size. Which is fine, but sometimes it's really hard to swallow, when you have to tell the business user that their idea has to change (a lot), meanwhile you try to slice up their workflow.

In our case we implement approx 100 workflows in a very short time (4 months) because of a transition from an old workflow management system to SP2013 + Nintex. Short time, huge pressure on business. Users have an expectations and Nintex fulfills it in 50% of the time, 30% with some workarounds (custom JavaScript or custom Nintex form control or SharePoint plugin development).  For all the other cases there's the "Creative workflow design" with lots of educated guesswork and expectation management. I can tell you these are not "holiday request workflows".

Users have the above mentioned laptop/hardver/software resources and huge workflows:

  • average 50 to 250 list columns on forms. (barely below SP list limit which is between 250-300)
  • Most of the columns must be visible on a Form -> Default generated Nintex Form from those columns (without validation/formatting rules., calculations, JavaScript) around 3 MB. -> Almost all presented on the List's newform.
  • In the workflow we have at least 1 formal data review and one data request for correcting mistakes, approval. Easy to understand that we need to show all of them in the workflow forms, otherwise it's hard to use. (minimum 3x3 MB -> 9 MB of workflow size)
  • etc.. all the fun a consultant can imagine.

Errors we experienced in design time:

  • Really slow open/save/publish/export/import
  • Flexi task decision branches git mixed up after saving workflow
  • A task form got overwritten with another for no logical reason
  • After saving the the workflow and reopen, our previous changes disappeared

I read a lot about performance, consideration, splitting up in the past months, pros and cons, etc. Now I can tell in our environment I find the limitations we have to follow to avoid future pain:

  • List Form XML size (after export): ~3-4 MB
  • Nintex Workflow:
    • Optimal: below 4 MB
    • Maximum 8-10 MB above it fills up memory quickly and the editor will eb super slow during open, save and publish (The workflow itself is rather small ~1-2 MB when we have 50-100 actions. The Task Form size what really matters..)
  • Task Form: max 2 MB, we have to limit as much as possible the number of controls on each form.

Maybe it's just us, we expect too much or we want too much. Situation is still the same. We have to overcome our issues.

Directions we took (every case is different, take slots of consideration and planning which is applicable):

  • Splitting workflow into two or more (Duh...)
  • Organizing parts of the workflow into sub-workflows
  • Limit the amount of controls on Forms:
    • In a case (review/approval task) where we would use all the columns, we didn't put all of them onto the form, just basic data + approval controls (decision, comment, etc) + a hyperlink to the list item's Display form (available form references).

Still not applicable perfectly on every workflow, sometimes it's against logic in a WF to cut into pieces because of extra 2-3 MB...

Related links:

- SharePoint limits related to Nintex Workflow

- Approach to splitting a Nintex Workflow

Workflow performance improvement and load reduction 

- Defensive Workflow Design Part 3 - Separation of Concerns

- Defensive Workflow Design Part 4 - Slow Down and Speed Up

- Software boundaries and limits for SharePoint 2013

nintexwf.jpg

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Automation Master
Automation Master

Re: Workflow editor crashes with bigger workflows

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Sounds like you are having a lot of fun at the moment

Anyway, great post, will bookmark it as a reference for all boundaries/tresholds/limits so thanks for that!

Regards

Philipp

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ganeshglitz
Nintex Newbie

Re: Workflow editor crashes with bigger workflows

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I am also faced the same issue, then I have tried with Chrome browser which working me. Try it with Chrome browser.

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rszabo
Nintex Newbie

Re: Workflow editor crashes with bigger workflows

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Chrome compatibility was just a dream in 2016 Smiley LOL

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