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THEMA: Cannot Activate Survey, database error

Cannot Activate Survey, database error 4 Jahre 6 Monate her #36319

  • tringate
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I am running release 1.87+ build 8227. I have three other surveys already active and they have been running now for a few months.

This new survey has 253 questions in it and has been in development now for several months.

I just updated to this release and had no problems doing so. Everything appears to be normal.

I get the following error when trying to activate the survey.

Activate survey (47986)
Survey could not be activated.
Database error: Too many columns

id I NOTNULL AUTO PRIMARY,
submitdate T,
lastpage I,
startlanguage C(20) NOTNULL ,
token C(36),
datestamp T NOTNULL,
startdate T NOTNULL,
ipaddr X,
refurl X,
`47986X35X1071` C(1),
`47986X35X1074` C(5),
`47986X35X1073` C(5),
`47986X35X1072` C(5),
`47986X35X1082` C(5),
`47986X35X1082other` X,
`47986X35X1075` C(5),
`47986X35X1076` C(5),
`47986X35X1078` C(5),
`47986X35X1081` C(5),
`47986X35X1079` C(1),
`47986X35X1080` C(5),
`47986X35X1077` C(5),
`47986X35X1083` C(5),
`47986X37X1306` C(5),
`47986X37X1307` C(5),
`47986X37X1308` C(5),
`47986X37X1309` C(5),
`47986X37X1310` C(5),
`47986X37X1311` C(5),
`47986X37X1312` C(5),
`47986X37X1314` C(5),
`47986X37X1313` C(1),
`47986X37X1315` C(1),
`47986X37X1316` C(1),
`47986X37X1317` C(1),
`47986X37X1318` C(5),
`47986X37X1319` C(5),
`47986X36X1154` C(1),
`47986X36X1164` C(1),
`47986X36X1126` C(1),

This list goes on for hundreds of entries so did not include them all here.

I get no error when running the "test Database" function and using phpmyadmin I am able to analyze and optimize the database just fine with no errors.

The error message does not give me any clue what it is I need to do.

Has there been a size limit imposed on the surveys now?

This survey is taken question by question.

Any suggestion on what to look for or where to start would be greatly appreciated.

I have run the "test Survey" and have taken the entire survey several times in this test mode with no problems.

I can print the survey without any problems as well.

Tom
Tom
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Re:Cannot Activate Survey, database error 4 Jahre 6 Monate her #36320

  • Mazi
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There is a limitation at the number of columns within a table at MySQL. Especially when having lots of multiple choice questions you might run into this limitation.
See docs.limesurvey.org/tiki-index.php?page=...egarding_survey_size

Best regards/Beste Grüße,
Dr. Marcel Minke
(Limesurvey Head of Support)
Need Help? We offer professional Limesurvey support
Contact: marcel.minke(at)limesurvey.org'"
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Re:Cannot Activate Survey, database error 4 Jahre 6 Monate her #36353

  • tringate
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Mazi,

Thanks for the information and the pointer to the docs that explains it. I am sure that is my problem as I have added a great number of multi-choice questions.

Any chance that this limit could be calculated in the database checker and a warning message generated for the survey developer? It does not have to be an exact measure, just a warning at the estimated survey table size and then include the limit for the type of database being used.

I know it won't fix the issue but it would warn the developer to maybe consider breaking the survey into multiple surveys or consider a different answer structure.

Thanks for the quick reply.

Tom
Tom
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Re:Cannot Activate Survey, database error 4 Jahre 6 Monate her #36356

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tringate wrote:
Any chance that this limit could be calculated in the database checker and a warning message generated for the survey developer? It does not have to be an exact measure, just a warning at the estimated survey table size and then include the limit for the type of database being used.
You can add this as a feature request at our new feature tracker . Please describe your idea as detailed as possible and try to outline a suitable solution/implementation aswell.

Best regards/Beste Grüße,
Dr. Marcel Minke
(Limesurvey Head of Support)
Need Help? We offer professional Limesurvey support
Contact: marcel.minke(at)limesurvey.org'"
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Re:Cannot Activate Survey, database error 3 Jahre 7 Monate her #53497

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Briefly, the problem results from very large surveys where you use large repetitive lists of answers for many of answers.

The first thing I thought of was to make each group of questions into stand alone surveys, but this presents the problem of being able to use answers in previous groups to condition the questions in this group because now they are all stand alone surveys.

The solution for this would be to be able to use answers from other surveys to condition question in the current survey.

A more elegant solution would be to have an actual user menu system which presented surveys a user was eligible to take, and then to have a "profile" kind of survey that all surveys the user took could reference.

Here things like sex, age, physical metrics, likes and dislikes etc could be customized and asked only once per user.

But back to my actual problem of trying to reduce the size of the existing developed survey so it can be activated.

Is there some magically way to use repetitive large answer lists in surveys with hundreds of questions and reduce the total column count that is made in the SQL database?

I really hate to add a huge, repetitive, 50 question profile section to every survey just to solve this problem.
Tom
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Re:Cannot Activate Survey, database error 3 Jahre 7 Monate her #53499

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Well, I never got why people would want to make such large surveys and how someone will answer them. But I assume it is a pretty special case and not a market research survey with consumers...

The problem seems to be more common than imagined, I have seen a few people with so large questionnaires lately.

I think it would be a good idea to give a warning, when you get close to the limit of columns in your surveys.

Question to the developers: would it be possible to add another table and go on with that? So that a survey uses more than one table? I am not an expert, but I could imagine this could be a solution?
Have a look at the manual! It is a really valuable source for information. Here some helpful links:
Manual (EN) | Question Types | Question Attributes | Workarounds

If you found this answer helpful and it saved you some time please consider a donation to the project to keep Limesurvey going!
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Re:Cannot Activate Survey, database error 3 Jahre 7 Monate her #53500

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holch wrote:
I think it would be a good idea to give a warning, when you get close to the limit of columns in your surveys.

Question to the developers: would it be possible to add another table and go on with that? So that a survey uses more than one table? I am not an expert, but I could imagine this could be a solution?
1. Please add the warning idea to our idea tracker, that should not be hard to implement and maybe we can make this a Google Code in task. So please add the link here afterwards.

2. Having a second table is no real solution, somewhen you'd have to go for a thrid one and so one.
Biggest problem is that lots of database queries would have to be rewriten, so this results in a really huge effort.

Better have a short tutorial on how to work around it (passing necessary values by URL into hidden questions of a follow up survey for example).

Best regards/Beste Grüße,
Dr. Marcel Minke
(Limesurvey Head of Support)
Need Help? We offer professional Limesurvey support
Contact: marcel.minke(at)limesurvey.org'"
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Re:Cannot Activate Survey, database error 3 Jahre 7 Monate her #53509

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Mazi wrote:
holch wrote:
1. Please add the warning idea to our idea tracker, that should not be hard to implement and maybe we can make this a Google Code in task. So please add the link here afterwards.

I'll have a look into this tomorrow.
2. Having a second table is no real solution, somewhen you'd have to go for a thrid one and so one.
Biggest problem is that lots of database queries would have to be rewriten, so this results in a really huge effort.

As I said, I am not an expert, so I thought this might be a solution.

I think a third table would be really exaggerated. As I said, I think that those questionnaires are simply too long anyway, but it seems there is a need for it.

When using a lot of questions with multiple answers or matrix questions, I guess you can reach the limit quite easily with a long questionnaire. However, I am wondering how other tools are doing this, because I have never heard of such a limit (but it could be that the others do have the same limits).
Have a look at the manual! It is a really valuable source for information. Here some helpful links:
Manual (EN) | Question Types | Question Attributes | Workarounds

If you found this answer helpful and it saved you some time please consider a donation to the project to keep Limesurvey going!
Letzte Änderung: 3 Jahre 7 Monate her von holch.
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Re:Cannot Activate Survey, database error 3 Jahre 7 Monate her #53511

  • Mazi
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To be honest: the problem is simply caused by a suboptimal database design. This will change at Limesurvey 2 which uses a different design (like other survey software does).

Best regards/Beste Grüße,
Dr. Marcel Minke
(Limesurvey Head of Support)
Need Help? We offer professional Limesurvey support
Contact: marcel.minke(at)limesurvey.org'"
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Re:Cannot Activate Survey, database error 3 Jahre 7 Monate her #53512

  • holch
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Well, given the long way that Limesurvey comes, it is totally understandable that there might be some not so ideal code here and there.

I am looking forward to see the first LS 2 version.
Have a look at the manual! It is a really valuable source for information. Here some helpful links:
Manual (EN) | Question Types | Question Attributes | Workarounds

If you found this answer helpful and it saved you some time please consider a donation to the project to keep Limesurvey going!
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