Troubleshooting PDF Downloads

"Why is PDF bugging out?!"

That's a great question and one we asked ourselves here at the Happy Inspector support desk too, so let's work through this - together!
 
If this guide were a dumpling, then the troubleshooting tips below would be the delicious, flavoured, pork-filling. And the background would be the amazing, doughy wrapper covering those delicious, meaty, troubleshooting snacks with it's warm, yummy goodness... mmm...

So yes, we highly recommend you keep reading for the whole dumpling experience, but understand if you want to skip below to get straight to the good stuff.

PDF History (of Happy Inspector)
Happy Inspector in the early days used to generate a PDF report on your device and email it out using your iPad's Mail application. This was very early Happy Inspector and Property Managers were adding photos to their reports using card readers and all sorts. Then came in-built cameras on the iPad and soon our customers began filling their reports with lots of wonderful photos, even more than before. And when we say filling, we mean filling. To the point that the PDF files became so large as attachments to emails that they were not being received on the other end due to email attachment-size limits.

So our technical team made the decision to generate reports on our servers and email a link around to the report that now lived no the web.

Genius!

This enabled our customers to now pack even more photos in and allowed them to email a simple link to the reports to their own stakeholders and customers. Much like how Dropbox enables people to transfer large files around. With that problem solved, off Happy Inspector went and kept on growing.

What this means is that your final reports that you generate live as webpages on the Happy Cloud. That means when you load them up, the page needs to be built in your web-browser, much like if you are browsing Facebook and your friend shares a link to a hilarious gallery of cat meme pictures. Your browser needs to first go and find find the hilarious cat-meme site, and establish a connection. Then it needs to render each image, one by one, by asking hilarious site to kindly send through the image file to your computer, one by one, so you too can gaze upon their feline glory and much joy and mirth ensues.

Why I'm bothering to explain this is that when you click on the download-as-PDF icon to generate your report, the very first step you need is to make sure the webpage itself has fully loaded.

When you click the download-as-PDF icon, what your browser does is convert the webpage that is your report into a PDF file, dynamically, in front of your very eyes. The resulting file can then be saved to your computer and be done with, as you wish.

From this explanation then, there are few things going on and a few pieces of the download-as-PDF that all need to be together in the right place for the download to work smoothly, as intended. Those pieces are:

- your web browser;
- your internet connection; and
- Happy Inspector's Cloud (our server)

Let's look at each one and see what we can do to each so that hopefully, you don't have any more troubles downloading your PDFs (please note too we can only control the last item).


Your Web Browser


Which browser you use can make a difference. We recommend Chrome or Firefox
These browser adhere to the open standards building web content more than Microsoft's products, particularly Internet Explorer. IE has, for reference, even been dropped from support by Microsoft itself. Safari is also a good choice too.

If you're using a Citrix or other corporate network and IE is baked into the desktop, then please discuss with your IT Admins. Have them get in touch with us here at support@happyinspector.com if they have any issues.

And make sure it's the latest version of your browser of choice
Even if using one of the browsers above, please use the latest version. The reason software gets updated and new versions released is to fix up bugs in the software. 

Ad-blockers and other extensions or add-ons can interfere with browsing
If you're having trouble loading a page, then please try disabling any extensions you have installed.

Make sure the full page has loaded before you click the download icon
This is a pro-tip. When you click the download icon it generates a PDF of the page dynamically, in front of your eyes. There is not a PDF cached laying around on the server waiting for you to click on the download button. So please make sure you wait the for the whole page to load before clicking on the download button.



Image credit: giphy.com

Refresh the page - times two!
You don't need to log-in out of our site, but please try refreshing the page instead to make sure you get the whole web page rendered.

When you load a page, your computer will keep copies of information locally incase you ever browse that page again, it can quickly render local copies of the images and text instead of having to go out onto the open internet, requesting a server for those images and then downloading and rendering them.

When refreshing a page you can do one of two methods: refresh, or 'hard' refresh.

The first just reloads the page and will build it from your cache. The second clears your cache first then reloads the page. If you're super keen on this topic, someone has put together a comprehensive guide here including how to perform each on different browsers and operating systems. Who knew there were so many!

 

Your Internet Connection

 
Are you on a slow connection?
A webpage is a package of requests to our server to get a bunch of text and images that make up your report. If you have a slow connection, it does mean, that sometimes requests to and responses from our server can get lost somewhere between your browser and our servers and back if requests time-out

Whether you're on a 'good' connection can be tested by heading somewhere like speedtest.net and running their speed test. Note that the Federal Communications Commission advises that a 'broadband' connection is 25/Mbps down and 3/Mbps up. Speedtest will usually advise if your connection is poor compared to others in your area. If you have questions why your connection is slower than expected, check with your Internet Service Provider.
 

Happy Inspector Cloud (our cloud)

 
Is it our site?
Ok, we admit that this does occasionally happen but it could actually be a problem we do have control over. Please check the status of our site by heading here: status.happyco.com and checking if anything has gone awry.

If so, our sincerest apologies and you can bet your bottom dollar we'll be working our little tails off to get it restored ay-sap.


OK.. I've tried all that but still no joy

If you've patiently worked your way through this list, thank you kindly! 

Please could you take screenshots of what's going on, take note of the operating system you're on, your browser and version and specifics such as what report in particular you are trying to load (copy and paste the address of the page itself) and once you've gathered all of the these please send it via email through to support@happyinspector.com

We'll be happy to help you with your PDF and download issues if you've gone through this list, are still having trouble and can include as much detail as possible in the email. 

Thanks!


And here's of picture our Chief Happiness Officer, Yumi, after one of her workouts.













 

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