Today’s programs from TheFormTool operate almost 100 times faster than they did just a few years ago. Even so, there are a few tricks to squeeze seconds or minutes from Forms’ runtimes.
The biggest drag on speed are Conditions, where the program slows down to “think through” the interplay between the Logical Rules and the Variables at issue. Even though modern computers can step through the process quickly, it’s not instantaneous, and the more Conditions there are and the deeper the Conditions, called “nesting,” the longer it takes.
This is where a form author can make a huge difference in a form’s runtime by avoiding multiple uses of the same Condition. We recently saw a nine page Form with 120 Conditions, two-thirds of which were identical, requiring the program to repetitiously solve exactly the same issue nearly 80 times.
This presents a great opportunity to use Derived Answers, which are sandboxes inside the Questionnaire. By building the repetitive Condition inside a Derived Answer, the program must solve the Condition only once. It can then use a simple Text Field to place the result from the Derived Answer in the document, a process that is nearly instantaneous, thereby eliminating multiple repetitive Conditions. In the recent Form example the runtime saving was more than 50% from just the single change, not to mention simplified authoring and a more attractive Form.
Derivative Answers are available in all of our paid programs and are thoroughly explained in the Manuals and the Knowledge Base.