SAP Knowledge Base Article - Public

2076009 - Error - Form won't open. Form won't route. Form looks cut off. Form strangely formatted. Application error occurred - Performance Management

Symptom

  •  You have launched forms to many users and most forms are ok. 1 or some users however have added bad code, or bad html, or poorly formatted MS Word or excel content. This has corrupted their form and the form is now showing an error or not working properly.
  • We do not recommend you ever add HTML, MS Word html (you are actually pasting in bad HTML when you copy and paste content from word), javascript, or special characters into comment boxes, PM / 360 templates, goal / cdp plans (any xml template in fact) or competencies. For more info on using html in the SuccessFactors application please see the following solution > 2089419 - System: Using HTML or custom code within the SuccessFactors Application - BizX Platform <
  • Note: This is one of the most common issues we see that users will introduce into their forms, so it pays to always try to relaunch a fresh form before engaging support to determine quickly the nature of the issue. This may avoid the need for even opening a support ticket.

 

Error Code :

  • Your users may be seeing and reporting various different issues as poorly formatted html added to your forms can break a form in almost an infinite amount of ways, therefore, depending on the structure of your form, and the content that is conflicting with it, all manner of issues can happen. This include but are not limited to ..
  • When routing the form user is kicked out to home page
  • Error "An application error occurred. Please try again later, or notify support if the issue keeps occurring."
  • A form only partially loads and is cut off at some random spot
  • Form looks blank and unlike other people's. The same form for other people looks correct.
  • You are seeing the page very strangely formatted with tables broken or nested incorrectly
  • You are seeing content that should be within a goal showing up in the wrong place
  • Form just wont work when it worked at previous steps
  • Various JavaScript errors displayed (you will see a yellow alert triangle bottom left of browser)

Environment

  • Performance Management
  • Multirater

 

Cause

 Note: "An application error occurred. Please try again later, or notify support if the issue keeps occurring". is a very generic error and may have many different causes. In this solution we are addressing the scenarios caused  when someone has added bad content into their form.

  • User cut and pasted some formatted text into their goal plan or PM form that is corrupting the form
  • A goal with bad data (usually HTML, Bullets, or MS Word formatting) was cascaded to many users which in-turn is now pulled into PM form corrupting it
  • A competency with bad data (usually HTML, Bullets, L or MS Word formatting) has been given to the user.
  • MS Word actually is an HTML based program. When you copy and paste text from MS Word, you are actually copying a version of html, even though you never see that raw code. When you paste that into your form, you are essentially pasting into our xml code, a random block of html, which may not have fully formed syntax. Therefore, your partial code breaks the form, since it is being displayed into a web browser that can only work with properly formatted html code. While the SuccessFactors application does have built in capabilities of handling this code, it is not possible to handle every possible scenario, so while errors will not typically occur every time someone pastes content into their forms, there will be times when this will break the form.
  • Misconfig of required fields: If you have a field set as required, but have then hidden that field to the user at a step the form will not open.
  • en-US locale for standard elements in data model is missing (MTR-3057)

Resolution

In first 3 causes listed above you can typically determine if any of them are probable causes without even engaging Customer Success.

Note: Engaging engineering to resolve your corrupted form is rarely the best or reasonable option as this process can take some weeks. It is much quicker to first try relaunching a fresh form to confirm it was not an isolated issue. Additionally, even if engineering is able to identify the root cause, most often the solution proposed is still a correction of the form config or data and relaunching. We will rarely attempt to fix code on live forms due to the risks this can pose, causing data loss or further issues with the form.

 

Customer Support can help you perform the series of tests via a webex quickly. Please open a case if you would like assistance via a webex to perform the tests outlined in this solution. Some if these steps need to be done by Support.

 

Did the form ever work for anyone?

If you have just created this form and are testing, or you failed to test and now users have broken live forms, then this may be a misconfiguration.

  • We recommend you go back to last years form, launch a form for 1 affected user and see if you see the same error in your last known working version.
  • If you do not see the error in your old form, only the new form for this user, then possibly you have a misconfiguration on your new template.
    • Possibly it references competency ID's that existed in test but have a different ID in production.
    • Possibly there are more serious xml, or HTML issues. Remove any HTML or formatted text you have added to your template. (typically in the instructional text areas)
    • Possibly last years goals were different and only your new years goals have bad data in them.
    • Possibly last years competencies were different and only this years competencies had special formatting or links added to them casuing this issue.
  • If however you do see an error now occurring when launching last years form which never had this issue in the past, then please open a support case. Your template may have some older code that is no longer passing validation and needs to be updated.

 

 

Are the forms ok for other users and only 1 user (or just a few) is getting this error?

  • If Yes, then that almost always means that user added/cut n pasted some bad html or text into their PM form comments, and or goal plan.
  • We recommend your first action is to launch a fresh copy of the form and see if there are any errors.
    • If you don't see the same error in a fresh form then you can be sure this indicates the user has added some bad data causing corruption. At this point you might just instruct the user to use this new form and be sure they do not paste any data in from Word, excel etc. Just add plain text to avoid repeat of the issue. See the section below on how to sanitize text.
      If you do see the error right away in new form:  then maybe the bad data is coming into the form upon launch from their goal plan or competencies.
    • We recommend clients request support to enable the feature "Rich text editor gives confirmation cleanup on text pasted from MS-Word" for their instance. This feature works with PM forms and will eliminate most of the issues introduced by people pasting bad data into text fields.
  • Check that persons goal plan, and remove the goal data they added just prior to his impacting the form that has special characters pasted from word, excel etc.
    • It is worth noting that if this was a goal cascaded to many users then they also may be seeing the same error in their forms.
  • Does this user have a competency unique to them? Check competencies and make sure you didn't add html formatting, links or other special formatting (such as bullet points etc) within the competency. If it is bad data in the competency then you first have to update your competency library. Remove any HTML, links, bullet points, and any other special formatting you added, then relaunch the person's form. Check to confirm the error is gone in a relaunch.
    • It is worth noting that if other users were given this same competency then they also will be seeing same errors.
     

 

Is this affecting many users or all users?

If this affected many users (and in some examples all users) then this could still be the same issue, but on a larger scale, simply because all the affected users have been given the bad goal or competency.

  • Closely review your forms paying close attention to the data being pulled into the form.
  • Do they all have something in common such as getting the same goal or competency?
  • If you can check goal data look for any bad HTML, bullets, or formatted text that was pasted in from word, excel etc. If that was done and cascaded to all users, then this goal data will need to be removed. Once removed, check your PM form and confirm if the error is gone.
  • Check your competency library and make sure you have not added special formatting, bullets, html etc that is corrupting the forms they appear on.
  • You will need to fix competency data and relaunch the forms.

It is almost always required that the user, or admin first correct the bad competency or goal data, and relaunch a fresh form. Trying to fix the corrupted forms is high risk and Support will not attempt to fix code in live forms for these types of errors due to the high risk of losing data.

If the above information does not help find the root cause, then please open a case with Customer Support who will engage engineering to determine root cause.

 

 

Sanitizing content pasted into your forms.

We recommend you enable the option in Admin Tools > Company Settings > Company System & Logo Settings > . When users copy and paste info from word or other programs, it can contain bad html code and formatting not supported by the system. This in turn when pasted into your form can break your forms. This feature helps prevent that from happening by stripping out bad data we detect.

We also recommend clients also request support to enable the feature "Rich text editor gives confirmation cleanup on text pasted from MS-Word" for their instance when you use RTE. (enabled by support via Provisioning  > Company Settings). This feature works with PM forms and will eliminate most of the issues introduced by people pasting bad data into text fields.

When a user copies data from Word, Excel or some other webpage and pastes it into their review, it can contain bad data and cause forms to break or behave incorrectly.

While the SuccessFactors application does have built in capabilities of handling this code, it is not possible to handle every possible scenario, so while errors will not typically occur every time someone pastes content into their forms with the above options on, there will be times when this will break the form. When this occurs the user can "sanitize" this by trying the following steps.

  • Copy the content as they originally did (usually from Word, Excel, a webpage or some other program)
  • Paste the content into Notepad
  • Notepad is not an html based editor like MS Word or Excel are and will 'sanitize' this by stripping out all hidden html and converting it to truly plain text.
  • Now from notepad reselect your text and copy
  • Now go to your goal or PM form and paste this plain text into comment field
  • Save
  • Reopen form and confirm that the form now properly loads.
  • Note: some forms may have become so corrupted that only starting from a fresh form will enable you to work with the form. You or your admin may need to launch a fresh copy of the form.

 

 

Misconfig of Required Fields

  • The form worked at some steps for some people, but when routed to next step it cannot be opened and just keeps loading/spinning.
  • This could indicate a possible conflict of permissions set for required fields for the person trying to open the form.
  • Customer Success can review your code to check if there is a misconfiguration and conflict of role permissions for a field.

 

Example

Here we see that the section comments are a required field for all people at all steps. So if you have hidden section comments at any step a conflict is caused as they are required.
<required-fields>
<role-name>*</role-name>
<field refid="section-comments" min-value="-1.0" max-value="-1.0"/>
<route-step stepid="*"/>
<send-action sendid="next_step"/>
</required-fields>

 

You would need to change the permissions so that it is only required at specific steps and where the required roles can access the field.
Reference JIRA: PMR-3092

 

3rd Party Security Software

  • it is also possible that agressive URL scanning (also known as URL filtering) by 3rd party security software your users may have installed on their systems is interfering with the display and operation of SuccessFactors pages. Nortons, McAfee, Kaspersky, and other security software could be scanning our URLs and pages for javascript applets, malware, malicious code, and actively stripping out pieces of html causing issues for your end users. This is also called sanitizing the webpage html.
  • The SuccessFactors product does use javascript and applets, and if these are not allowed to run correctly then pages can fail to load, and URLs, buttons and other navigational tools can fail. Please work with your IT to ensure our sites are whitelisted and added to any trusted site lists.
  • For more information see" > Platform: Error - Antivirus Software Causing Issues with Application Functionality

Keywords

KBA , sf error messages gm , sf error messages pm , LOD-SF-PM , Performance Management , LOD-SF-PM-360 , 360 Reviews , Problem

Product

SAP SuccessFactors HCM Core all versions