Timesheet Export Stability Improvement

Product Update: Stabilizing Timesheet Exports

18-Jul 2019

While Accelo's focus is on capturing your team's time and notes, there are situations where exporting information out to a spreadsheet is helpful - such as when wanting to preserve the timesheets for a given period or do additional filtering, calculations, or analysis.

These "excel" based exports are available across projects, tickets, sales, and many more areas, but it's the "activities" (emails, calls, work logs, and meetings) exports that users are really pushing to the limit.

The Encroaching Problem

Over the past few months, we've noticed users requesting larger and larger exports of activity from the Timesheet Report screen. Since we prepare the export "in-band," the browser has to wait until the file is ready. But, this can lead to the web request timing out if the file takes longer to prepare than the web-browser permits (usually 5 minutes), causing the export to be abandoned, which we understand is quite frustrating.

The Solution

While exporting smaller volumes of data is a work-around, it's not always practical, and while we are investigating ways to improve on system performance there's a more immediate remedy - handle the export preparation in the background.

export confirm

Now, Accelo will alert you that the export is being processed behind the scenes. This gives you the ability to continue working, and when the export preparation has completed, Accelo will send you an email with a link to access the file.

export email

We don't attach the file since emails aren't encrypted - and there's the chance the file would be too large for email delivery. Note that the link will expire after 6 hours and can be shared with your colleagues if you wish.

You will also find the email notification in your Accelo Inbox, but don't worry, it is a private activity so other users can't see it unless they were included already (due to being your manager).

Web File System - Username & Password?

Because the files are managed by a different service, you will need to authenticate with your Accelo login to access the file. If you normally log in to Accelo using Google SSO (single sign-on) then you will need to set a password as per the instructions in the notification email. Your username can be found on your user profile in Accelo - though it is typically the same as your email address.

This authentication step is a temporary measure while our team continues to upgrade our file systems to use a storage service with more streamlined authentication.

Future Improvements

  • Knowing the progress of your export(s) is something we'd like to add, and possibly in-app notification when the export is ready
  • Improvements to the export generation system to reduce the wait time.
  • Moving away from the deprecated .xls format and instead exporting the data in .xlsx format for better compatibility.

Lastly, we expect this "background" exporting process will be rolled out to many more areas of Accelo, so please let us know what you think via support@accelo.com - comments and questions are always appreciated!

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