29 Replies Latest reply on Apr 30, 2013 7:49 AM by Peter Spier

    Network Timeout freezes InDesign

    Doigy Level 1

      A Win7 SP1 64bit PC is running InDesign CS5, and while working on a file, a user experienced a "network connection" error, and then InDesign froze, with no chance of recovery.

       

      Is there any way to prevent ID from freezing when a network timeout issue occurs?

       

      Why does it need to freeze anyway?  Why can't it simply halt whatever task it was trying to perform?

        • 1. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
          Stix Hart Level 5

          There are no settings you can change to help with it.

           

          Others opinions may differ but doing anything with InDesign over a dodgy network is asking for trouble.  Without being too technical there is a lot of information going inbetween InDesign and where it is stored.  That sort of thing can lead to corrupting the document.  If you do have to work that way have good backup systems.

          • 2. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
            Doigy Level 1

            Thanks for your quick reply.

             

            There's nothing dodgy about the network, and we do have good network backup.

            • 3. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
              Stix Hart Level 5

              OK poor terminology but InDesign doesn't like, at all, network timeouts.

              • 4. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                Doigy Level 1

                Is there any reason a patch could not be applied?

                 

                Other applications working on files on the network don't have such problems.

                • 5. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                  Stix Hart Level 5

                  InDesign's "design" is what it is, unfortunately all ones like me can tell you when you have requests like this is to go here:

                   

                  https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform

                  • 6. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                    Are you using the standalone or server version of ID? Though many users do it, the standalone version is not designed for working over networks.

                    • 7. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                      Doigy Level 1

                      Thanks for your reply.  I'm not sure, I will check.

                       

                      Is it listed in Help > About?

                      • 8. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        I really don't know -- can't afford the server version myself.

                        • 9. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                          Doigy Level 1

                          Hmmm.

                           

                          Does the server version run on the server or the PC?

                          • 10. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                            The server, I think. It's an enterprise-level solution...

                            • 11. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                              macinbytes Level 4

                              If you are on low latency gigabit ethernet with low amounts of crosstalk you shouldn't have the errrors. Ensure that you have ran all updates. 7.0.0 was really bad on networks, but has improved greatly since 7.0.2.

                               

                              If you are fully patched and your network is very reliable you may want to investigate what size files these are and see about making adjustment to the size of your data transmission.

                               

                              My money is on a patch fixing this.

                              • 12. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                If you are fully patched and your network is very reliable you may want to investigate what size files these are and see about making adjustment to the size of your data transmission.

                                 

                                ... if your network is any less reliable than "very reliable" then save to a local drive while you work.

                                • 13. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                  John Hawkinson Level 5

                                  Are you using the standalone or server version of ID? Though many users do it, the standalone version is not designed for working over networks.

                                  I do not think this is an accurate characterization...

                                  • 14. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                    Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                    We've been told here many times by Adobe personnel that the standalone version of ID is meant to be installed on the workstation (license requires that) and files stored locally while editing, not saved across the network.

                                    • 15. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                      John Hawkinson Level 5

                                      Err, Peter, I'm sorry to be picky, but can you please point me

                                      at a specific post?

                                       

                                      We are all well aware that InDesign can be fickle and unreliable filesystems

                                      cause it problems, and that network filesystems are less reliable than

                                      local disks, generally speaking. But that's not quite the same thing.

                                       

                                      InDesign Server is not a solution to this problem, either -- it has no

                                      user interface whatsoever -- it is a version of InDesign that scripts

                                      (and only scripts!) can run against, without the use of a screen.

                                       

                                      I believe Adobe has many supported and documented workflows involving

                                      the use of AFP, CIFS/SMB, and other remote filesystems.

                                      • 16. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                        You aren't being picky, but Idon't have the links at my fingertips, or I'd have given them to you. I'd have to search for hours to find a specific reference.

                                        • 17. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                          And there are MANY users who work across networks, even if it's "unsupported" in general. Most do fine, but the vast majority (based on very unscientific gut impressions after years spent here) of corrupt-beyond-use-or-rescue ID files reported here also happen to be reported by network savers.

                                          • 18. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                            John Hawkinson Level 5

                                            I think there is no question, scientifically or unscientifically, that we see far more reports of file corruption with networks than without.

                                            Networks are complicated beasts, and they have many more possibly failure points than local disks do. (On the other hand, people with network storage are much more likely to have reliably backups; at least that's been true historically before the advent of both popular Internet-based backup and Apple's Time Machine). It's also the case that medium to large sites work almost exclusively with networks (though they may use database-driven document storage for which the traditional InDesign network-averse guidance may not apply), and they tend to deal with more documents than individuals do.

                                             

                                            I think the single most definitive point in your favor of your position is this text from the CS5 help, Recommended workflow for InDesign documents:

                                            You can improve performance and prevent many problems by establishing a good workflow to use with Adobe InDesign.

                                            ...

                                            Open documents locally

                                            Before you open a document stored on a network volume or on removable media, copy the document and any linked graphics to your local hard disk. The slower access time and data transfer rate of a network volume or removable media can cause data to become lost or corrupted, possibly damaging the document. However, be aware of overriding someone else’s work if you copy the local files back to a network server.

                                            But that doesn't say networks are unsupported, it just says they may not be good.

                                             

                                            But the person who wrote this was hopelessly naïve — network are a critical part of any modern business computer setup that is larger in scope than a sole proprietorship. And anyworkflow that expects users to copy files off the network to local disk and back is patently ludicrous. As the above acknowledges, copying them back is frought with peril.

                                             

                                            Furthermore, the operating system vendors have expended no small effort to make networks mroe and more seamless and well-integrated, and to try to make them nearly indistiguishable from local disk—except. Except when they don't. Except when they can't. Except when applications need to know more about the underlying substrate of the filesystem, need better timing information, need to do things like memory-map files into RAM with guaranteed perforamance, etc. Though I am a bit skeptical that InDesign has any such needs...

                                             

                                            Probably a good summary comes from a John Nack (Photoshop evangelist) blog post from 2008 (and networks have only become more popular), where he quotes an unnamed Adobe engineer, http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2008/06/filesaving_issu.html:

                                            Directly writing to a network filing system adds a level of complexity, which includes timing issues, network noise, performance, and other potential issues. We’ve occasionally run into bugs with different configurations/combinations, but as there are too many variants for us to reliably test and certify all the clients, servers, hardware and software, we recommend the safer course of working with files locally and then copying them up to a file server when you’re done. While directly reading/writing to network file systems should work in theory, and while we do some limited testing in the most popular configurations to verify that it does, we can not certify that it will work reliably in your configuration.

                                             

                                            But, of course, what do we mean by "support"? I am, by the way, interpretting your statement "not designed for working over networks," as "networks are not supported," and that may not be fair of me.

                                             

                                            To me, "supported" means there is a reasonable expectation of the software working in the scenario, that Adobe will address bugs raised to them over the issue (rather than closing bugs saying, "at your own risk, sorry, bub!"), and Adobe will make a reasonable effort to keep it working. I think the situation with networks does qualify.

                                             

                                            Unfortunately, it's hard to find anyone to say so. In part, I think, because there are so many variables nobody wants to be pinned down saying "it'll work" because you'll always eventually be able to point to a case where it won't. And the above blog post (part I didn't quote) talks about how a problem is really due to a bad interaction with Adobe product and MacOS X 10.5.3, which was later fixed by Apple.

                                             

                                            Anyhow, we can also find plenty of evidence of Adobe having accepted and fixed bugs that relate to network behavior in InDesign. So I'm pretty confident that network use of InDesign si well-supported. But I certainly wouldn't say it was rock solid.

                                             

                                            Hmm, this is kind of long. I will address the OP's issues in a seperate post.

                                            • 19. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                              John Hawkinson Level 5

                                              Replying to the original.

                                               

                                              Doigy:

                                              A Win7 SP1 64bit PC is running InDesign CS5, and while working on a file, a user experienced a "network connection" error, and then InDesign froze, with no chance of recovery.

                                               

                                              Is there any way to prevent ID from freezing when a network timeout issue occurs?

                                               

                                              Why does it need to freeze anyway?  Why can't it simply halt whatever task it was trying to perform?

                                              You are not 100% specific, so it is a bit difficult to be complete here. When you say InDesign "froze," you mean that it hung, became non-responsive, and never returned, so you had to use Task Manager > End Process to kill it?

                                               

                                              That is a bug. If you can reproduce that scenario, you should file a bug with Adobe. Like always with InDesign, your preference should be to file the bug at http://adobe.com/go/supportportal rather than using the wishform (previously cited), because there you will get interaction with Adobe personnel, you should find out if they reject your bug, you can provide them with scenarios and cases and files and passwords and information. None of which happens with the wishform, which is a one-way, one-shot communication tool.

                                               

                                              Why does it happen? InDesign has nearly no knowledge of networks -- it asks the operating system to read a portion of a file, or write a portion of a file, through well-defined APIs. So what happened? Probably something bad at the OS level. A call that should never fail ("read block 512 of file #3") failed. Which is something of a can't-happen scenario. Of course it can happen on networks, but it essentially cannot happen on local disks. (Yes, local disks can fail. But basically...they don't).

                                               

                                              Anyhow, perhaps InDesign failed to account for an odd return value. Or perhaps it did account for it -- perhaps it received a temporary failure error. The usual response to which is, of course, to re-try. But perhaps the network volume ("share") has gone away? Then retrying may be futile. Careful analysis of the scenario maybe required, and perhaps Adobe missed a case. That's why bugs can happen.

                                               

                                              Now, later in this thread, Stix Hart suggest you have a "dodgy" network (which is nearly a pun on your username, "Doigy." I find it kind of funny, but I realize you may not.) You say, "There's nothing dodgy about the network," but that doesn't really make make sense compared if you're seeing Network Timeouts. That's pretty much the definiton of dodgy. Or are you saying this is a one-off single-time problem?

                                               

                                              Anyhow:

                                               

                                              Is there any reason a patch could not be applied?

                                               

                                              Of course, It's a bug and bugs can be fixed. But it may not be simple, and the specifics of your case might be special or different from all previously seen problems. These are not easy to debug. Have you looked at where InDesign is stuck?

                                               

                                              That probably requires deep developer-level or Advanced System Administrators skills. Consult your network administrator. But they can look with tools like Dr. Watson and WinDBG and see where InDesign is hung up. It may not mean a lot to you, or to your network admin, but it will to Adobe Engineers if you can get them to look at it. This requires some care in how you write the bug report and/or support case, and how you approach the problem. It's not optimal because Adobe's support system is not optimal, but it will get you there.

                                               

                                              Is that helpful, Doigy? Do you have remaining questions? We'll do our best to answer them.

                                              • 20. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                                Stix Hart Level 5

                                                John Hawkinson wrote:

                                                 

                                                Now, later in this thread, Stix Hart suggest you have a "dodgy" network (which is nearly a pun on your username, "Doigy." I find it kind of funny, but I realize you may not.)

                                                 

                                                  It wasn't intentional, it was sort of a Fruedian slip...  You've done a very comprehensive write up about using InDesign on a network John, would it be possible to summarize it in one sentence?!  Mine is:

                                                 

                                                InDesign will work fine, and is used a lot, on networks as long as they are reliable, but if yours is a bit different or "dodgy" then Adobe will wash their hands of you because it is on a network and suggest you store the files locally, which if it fixes it basically proves their point.

                                                 

                                                Hmmm, rather verbose still.

                                                • 21. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                                  John Hawkinson Level 5

                                                  Well...I wouldn't say it that way. Network bugs are hard, but if you

                                                  give Adobe a clear analysis/demonstration of a problem with their

                                                  software, you can expect them to fix it.

                                                  • 22. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                                    Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      It wasn't intentional, it was sort of a Fruedian slip...  You've done a very comprehensive write up about using InDesign on a network John, would it be possible to summarize it in one sentence?!  Mine is:

                                                     

                                                    InDesign will work fine, and is used a lot, on networks as long as they are reliable, but if yours is a bit different or "dodgy" then Adobe will wash their hands of you because it is on a network and suggest you store the files locally, which if it fixes it basically proves their point.

                                                     

                                                    Hmmm, rather verbose still.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    I think it's pretty accurate from an end user's point of view, and it's about as dense as it can get and still be readable... besides, after some post-collegiate years working thankless phone support jobs, I'm pretty sure that your definition of "support," Stix, is much closer to Adobe's than is John's. I mean, maybe there are engineers who think like John, but when random Adobe employee says "it's not supported," they mean "support" as in "support boundaries." Which your definition emcompasses quite well well with "will wash their hands of you."

                                                     

                                                    And, you're totally right, John, if you demonstrate a bug in their software they'll fix it, which is important in any definition of support. Remember, though, that your bug-demonstration skills are not standard issue for InDesign users, even advanced ones.

                                                    • 23. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                                      John Hawkinson Level 5

                                                      Well, Joel, show me one of those boundaries or employees, please?

                                                      Because I think the formal support definition does indeed include

                                                      AFP and CIFS (but I couldn't point it out to you, I can only offer

                                                      circumstantial evidence).

                                                       

                                                      In my experience, just because an engineer agrees with you doesn't

                                                      necessarily get you very far (though it can certainly help!). If

                                                      you're trying to skirt the marketing-defined paramters of the product,

                                                      you're going to have a hard time. I certainly hope we are not there...

                                                       

                                                      Let's say I'm imagining what can be done with the utmost in

                                                      bug-demonstration skills, entirely independent of any fixation in

                                                      tangible form.

                                                      • 24. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                                        macinbytes Level 4

                                                        You are far more likely to get support from the server vendor or software vendor than Adobe on working over the network. Though several times informally the InDesign team has said there is nothing official from Adobe that says it's a good idea to work over the network.

                                                         

                                                        It would be foolhardy to try to support it even. Just think of what a moving target that is. In the last 5 versions of InDesign Apple has released 4 versions of Mac OS X server, each with a revised AFP stack, two of the times drastically different to where a handful of applications I've had required rewrites. It would be easy to say "sure, we'll support Windows 2003 server systems running 10k SCSIs, Fibre Channel or SATA drives," but when you get into the huge number of possibilities it is really not feasible to support all types of network workflows.

                                                         

                                                        Even running server grade hardware with a full server OS can produce issues. With a native host Windows 2003 over what is supposed to be a Medium to Large iSCSI that is trunked over gigabit runs like absolute hell when you have just 3-4 artists hammering it with heavy InDesign work. Get an office a few dozen people hammering their morning Exchange syncs and roaming profiles and you have a pretty rocky connection and artists swearing about crashy InDesign.

                                                         

                                                        Take a worse, though common scenario. A great many people are running a junk two drive SAN like a Buffalo or similar NAS system that is like a sub 500 mhz ARM processor, a $4 cheap commodity gigabit NIC and running BusyBox linux that has a wacky AFP stack that hails back to OS 8 level features or running a customized SAMBA 2 stack that you have no idea what they've done to it. Sure, you can say you have a high speed or reliable network but that's a pretty subjective kind of argument. You'll see businesses running a junk sub hundred dollar gigabit switch with cable that isn't good to anything close to 100 mhz and still call it high speed.

                                                         

                                                        Where do you draw the line on support and where do you stop testing these things? Adobe can't realistically support working over network. It isn't as though when they are writing InDesign they have people working on large documents over a junk 802.11a wireless connection and letting Peggy in accounting run the circa 1983 microwave to heat up a hot pocket to simulate dodgy network conditions to ensure their software is bulletproof. What if the guy running the saddle binder happens to have ran the cable for your desk in a pinch puts it over a light fixture that makes your cable go whacko every time the pressman need to use the bathroom? The number of things that can be wrong are so limitless that supporting network workflows is totally unfeasible.

                                                         

                                                        I've seen probably a half dozen people who mount FTP folders in Windows and wonder why they can't work over the "network" when they are actually working on a remote location. Sure your fonts that are Macintosh postscript won't work on Windows and maybe your DSL from Nowhere Arkansas isn't going to play nice with the FTP coming out of Prague. Even if you give Adobe a clear analysis of how bad you can fail at life doesn't mean they can write the software to work with it. When you make something idiot proof the world makes a better idiot.

                                                        • 25. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                                          John Hawkinson Level 5
                                                          You are far more likely to get support from the server vendor or software vendor than Adobe on working over the network

                                                          Macinbytes, that's not how it works.

                                                           

                                                          If there was a bug on the server or network side, sure, they could help. But that is almost certainly not what's going on here (or if it is,

                                                          it's not worth discussing. Their problem, they can solve it).

                                                           

                                                          Most likely, the network is exhibitting a somewhat unusual error condition and InDesign is not handling it properly. That is an InDesign bug. Only Adobe can fix that. Others can point the way, and possibly come up with terribly horrible band-aid solutions but only Adobe can fix it.

                                                           

                                                          It would be foolhardy to try to support it even. Just think of what a moving
                                                          target that is. In the last 5 versions of InDesign Apple has released 4 versions
                                                          of Mac OS X server, each with a revised AFP stack, two of the times drastically
                                                          different to where a handful of applications I've had required rewrites.

                                                          No, that's not right. Assuming applications are compliant and stick to POSIX APIs (or even CoreFoundation and similar Apple APIs, though they are a bit more of a moving target), they do not need changes when the AFP stack changes. And for those that for whatever reason delve into the details of the filesystem, they have not required "rewrites," merely "minor tweaks." But I don't think there is reason for InDesign to be such an app that "delves into the details" (but if someone has reason to the contrary, please let me know).

                                                           

                                                          The beauty of these APIs is that they abstract away all the differences between the filesystems. Between the versions of the server. Between the fiber channel and the iSCSI and so-on and so-forth.

                                                           

                                                          Where do you draw the line on support and where do you stop testing these
                                                          things? Adobe can't realistically support working over network.

                                                          On the contrary, this is very easy. Adobe draws the line at properly using and implementing the pertinent APIs. If they ignore a return value improperly for which the API requires they retry, then they have erred. If returning EINVAL causes Adobe's code to spin in a tight loop calling the same system call over and over, that's an Adobe bug. Very easy, very simple.

                                                           

                                                          What is more difficult is testing it and proving it. And finding all the cases. But that's not the theoretical problem, merely the practical one. It is not the question of where to draw the line.

                                                           

                                                          But if I, as a customer, can demonstrate that InDesign is doing the wrong thing, then Adobe needs to fix it, and I have every confidence that they will in fact do so (eventually). The trick is showin them that they are doing the wrong thing, and there, as I said, you probably need an expert network administrator and operating system guru. It's not something  I could teach on the forum.

                                                           

                                                          It isn't as
                                                          though when they are writing InDesign they have people working on large
                                                          documents over a junk 802.11a wireless connection and letting Peggy in
                                                          accounting run the circa 1983 microwave to heat up a hot pocket to simulate
                                                          dodgy network conditions to ensure their software is bulletproof.

                                                          You don't seem to understand, the network software takes care of these problems. At a fundamental level, a packet either gets there or it does not. It is retransmited or it is not. Enough packets arrive to keep the connection open or they do not. They pass the checksum or they do not. This is all mechanical and predictable, regardless of your traffic profile or your loss profile or people exploding nuclear weapons next to your wireless receivers.

                                                           

                                                          In all of these cases, there is correct behavior for application software, like InDesign. Sometimes that correct behavior is to retry. Sometimes it is to give up and say "sorry, Al Qaeda nuked your server, of course I cannot write to it." Sometimes there is discretion. But never should the software hang forever. And always if the software hangs, that means a bug. LIkely an Adobe bug, but maybe an OS bug, maybe even both. But a bug nonetheless, and like all bugs, it can be tracked down and addressed.

                                                          • 26. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                                            TwoFedoras Level 1

                                                            This may just be ignorance talking, but I notice when I am working on an InDesign file it creates a temporary file in the same folder as the existing file. Woulod a potential workaround be the ability to make a local drive be chosen as the location for that temporary file?  Then ifyou experience a disconnect the communication with the temporary file would still be active and you could at least save and reopen the network connection before saving back to that network drive. Yes, it is not convinient, but it avoids the crashes.  Again, this may not even addresses the core root of the problem, but it (sort of) gets the network out of the loop.

                                                            • 27. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                              That file is the lock file that tells ID that the file is already open if someone else tries to access it, and it needs to be where it is. I's also very unlikley that it has any effect at all a connection issue. As far as I know it isn't actually read by the instance of ID that has the file open.

                                                              • 28. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                                                TwoFedoras Level 1

                                                                It was a long shot. Is this problem common on all network connections or just SMB?

                                                                • 29. Re: Network Timeout freezes InDesign
                                                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                                                  I can't answer that last part. I'm not sure it's even "common" on any network type in general. Some folks have trouble, many do not.