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Use Fiddler to Monitor and Analyze Web Traffic from Electronic Forms

In a video tutorial titled Using Fiddler Behind the Forms, Darvish Shadravan, Technical Specialist and published author on the topic of electronic forms publishing, presents a method of detecting and analyzing the relationship between electronic forms and web network traffic.

SharePoint Administrators and electronic forms designers should become familiar with Fiddler. This “web debugging proxy for any browser of platform” (quoted from a headline on the front page of the Fiddler website) can be successfully used to detect SharePoint web traffic problems attributable to electronic forms built with InfoPath 2013. As Darvish Shadravan notes, “[he’s] used this tool in many, many cases with customers who were struggling with performance challenges on their InfoPath forms”.

This video includes a demonstration of how to use Fiddler to identify and analyze web traffic resulting from specific electronic forms. Darvash Shadravan estimates 95% of the performance problems attributable to electronic forms built with InfoPath 2013 can be remediated successfully through the use of this tool. Some of the problems the tool has revealed include slow data connections, file attachments much larger than expected, etc.

The objective, as we presented earlier in this tutorial series, is to keep the number of “postbacks”, meaning direct interaction between browser clients and the InfoPath 2013 service running on SharePoint Server 2013, to the barest possible minimum. Fiddler is uniquely useful as a method of detecting these interactions.

Once SharePoint Administrators and electronic forms designers have been made aware of normal patterns of postbacks for a specific environment, it then makes sense to train end users, who need to work, daily, with these electronic forms, in best practices. We demonstrate in this tutorial why simply a repetitive practice of saving a form, or saving a partially completed form can lead to exceptionally high levels of network traffic. In fact, saving work on a form requires a postback. So it makes sense to train end users to learn how to lower the frequency at which work with forms must be saved. As well, the same information can be used to review the design of specific forms to better optimize the process for network efficiency.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved