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Calling time on timeouts

Greg Cole

Timeout! iStock_000021229640Small

We get lots of product feedback which is fantastic, so please keep it coming. Some of it we can act on immediately, and we introduce those changes in our quarterly release cycle – see here for the many features introduced in the last version.

However, some requests require a more complex design and therefore take a little longer to appear. One such request is the session timeout, which can be annoying if you get called away from your desk or take a call in the middle of some complicated resourcing. After exceeding the session timeout, you are taken back to the login screen and an alert is displayed telling you that your session has timed-out.

In a state

Timemasters’ default timeout is after 20 minutes of inactivity before you have to login to the application again. While it has always been possible to configure a slightly longer timeout, judging how long that should be is a delicate balancing act. Setting it too low will result in users frequently being timed out. Setting it too high, however, will cause additional load on your web server as the session stays active as if the user has not logged out correctly i.e. closed their browser instead of logging out.

Each user’s session information - the part that remembers where they are in the app - is held in memory on the server. Over time that could degrade the Timemaster web servers’ performance, and so this was not an ideal solution as you couldn’t realistically move the session timeouts to much longer than 60 minutes. This meant that a user would have to login again if they left their Timemaster Web application idle for longer than the defined timeout period.

Your call

In the latest release of Timemaster we are very pleased to announce that you can now choose a much longer timeout (up to a whole day if you choose).  Consequently, even if your PC desktop locks automatically with your corporate desktop policy, once you log back on, your Timemaster session will be exactly as you left it.

This is now possible when you select the option to store the session information for all users inside the Timemaster SQL database. Additionally, this design also frees up valuable memory on your web server and is the preferred option in scenarios where your web server is low on RAM.

Tidy by design

And you don’t need to worry about thousands of user sessions ultimately swelling the size of your database as we will automatically clear every user’s sessions each night.

We recommend that you keep the default session clean-up task to run each evening at 23:00 hours, although you can always set the clean-up task to run at another time if you wish.

Tooled up

We’ve made it really simple to set all of this up using the configuration tool for the Timemaster web application. Use the newly extended Session tab and choose the options that best fit your scenario. It’s all explained in detail in the Timemaster v4.2 installation guide.

So now you can finally call time on those annoying timeouts.

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