Resolve the Session Timeout issue in the SharePoint Provider Hosted add-in

I am working on a SharePoint Provider Hosted app for a long time now. I have a good amount of experience in working with the SharePoint’s App Model and especially with the SharePoint Online.

Currently I am working on same type of project which is hosted in azure and deployed in SharePoint Online.

Project module is already deployed to production environment and clients are using them happily.

But today client has come with an issue of they are not able to submit the form.

Problem: Client is not able to submit the form from the Provider hosted app which has the code hosted on azure.(I have used the MVC as the back end to write the code with C#)

Problem:

  • I have tried to submit the test data and it submitted without error
  • I have tried to submit the data with the same data as client is submitting still it has submitted successfully.
  • So to trouble shoot the issue properly I went a call with the client it submitted successfully during the call too.
  • While I was on a call with a client at that time client stated that it took him almost 1.5 Hours to capture the data to be submitted and during that period form is opened and in ideal state.
  • At that I got a strike in my mind that this is the issue of session timeout for the MVC application

Root Cause:

  • So I started to regenerate the same issue by putting the page ideal for 30 minutes as I know there is a default timeout of 20 minutes and viola I am able to regenerate it.

Resolution:

  • After so much of trial and error finally I am able to resolve this issue by adding a dummy call to an ActionResult which does nothing and simply returns the “Success” as JSON result.
  • Then I wrote up a java script block in a java script file and then reference it to the shared view.
  • A JavaScript block calls that dummy action every 5 minutes to keep the session alive.

If you are using ASP.NET MVC – you do not need an additional HTTP handler and some modifications of the web.config file. All you need – just to add some simple action in a Home/Common controller:

[HttpPost]
public JsonResult KeepSessionAlive() {
    return new JsonResult {Data = "Success"};
}

write a piece of JavaScript code like this one (I have put it in one of site’s JavaScript file):

var keepSessionAlive = false;
var keepSessionAliveUrl = null;

function SetupSessionUpdater(actionUrl) {
    keepSessionAliveUrl = actionUrl;
    var container = $("#body");
    container.mousemove(function () { keepSessionAlive = true; });
    container.keydown(function () { keepSessionAlive = true; });
    CheckToKeepSessionAlive();
}

function CheckToKeepSessionAlive() {
    setTimeout("KeepSessionAlive()", 300000);
}

function KeepSessionAlive() {
    if (keepSessionAlive && keepSessionAliveUrl != null) {
        $.ajax({
            type: "POST",
            url: keepSessionAliveUrl,
            success: function () { keepSessionAlive = false; }
        });
    }
    CheckToKeepSessionAlive();
}

and initialize this functionality by calling a JavaScript function:

SetupSessionUpdater('/Home/KeepSessionAlive');

Please note! I have implemented this functionality only for authorized users (there is no reason to keep session state for guests in most cases) and decision to keep session state active is not only based on – is browser open or not, but authorized user must do some activity on the site (move a mouse or type some key).

Courtesy: Maryan

Do let me know if you are able to resolve this or have any other concerns in a comment box below.

Happy Share Pointing!!!

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