I have followed the steps on http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff798499.aspx in order to create a custom sandboxed workflow action, and have deployed this into a site workflow in Microsoft SharePoint online.

However, I regularly get ThreadAbortExceptions which I believe is to do with the 30 second hard limit for sandboxed solutions. On my development machine the code runs pretty fast and never times out, it is quite simple anyway so for it to take longer than 30 seconds would be a bit silly. Microsoft support have told me that the steps I followed do not apply to Microsoft SharePoint Online, even though the steps are for a sandboxed solution which is the only type of solution that you can run in SharePoint Online and that I should use a different method in order to create a custom workflow action.

However, they said that they cannot provide a direct link to the article as it is provided by a third party. Has anyone got any experience of sandboxed workflow actions using SharePoint Online and could they point me in the right direction for how to implement one? I've got a funny feeling the support guy couldn't really explain the poor performance of their sandboxed code service so has fobbed me off by telling me my code must be implemented incorrectly. Please prove me wrong, any help appreciated!


You would be correct, support is blowing smoke at you. This isn't the first time I have heard people complain that Sandbox solutions that run on-premise get this exception when running on Office 365.

I have deployed and run Sandboxed workflow actions on Office 365, and they have run just fine, however that may simply be that the servers my account run on are executing sandbox requests better than yours seems to be.

My two cents:

No, there isn't a better way (or any other way) to do this. Yes, it should work. Yes, it seems quite a few people have run into this same problem.


"support is blowing smoke at you"

Well said, I thought it was just my impression. And not only support but documentation on Office 365 (Sharepoint Online) at large referring to how to create sandboxed solutions for deploying in Office 365 only through Visual Studio 2008/2010

I am creating and deploying solution to my Office 365 (Sharepoint Online) without using VS2008/2020. Well, I use Infopath's VSTA based on VS2005

As far as i could understand, it is all vice versa, with VS2008/2010 it is possible (and it is poorly documented) to create incompatible with Office 385 (Sharepoint Online) solutions (non-sandboxed ones, as particular case) while anything is sandboxed in Office 365 anyway and it cannot be otherwise there

Please correct me where I am wrong.


Has anyone got any experience of sandboxed workflow actions using SharePoint Online and could they point me in the right direction for how to implement one?

IMO, use OOTB options for creating workflows without any coding, codeless (client-side) development or client-side (*) coding, etc. You even would not need to know the term "sandbox" since it is impossible to create non-sandbox solutions for Office 365 through these approaches

under client-side development, I mean any development outside of Sharepoint Server machine and then deploying to Sharepoint Online, including development in Sharepoint Workspace, custom coding in Infopath's VSTA (Visual Studio for Applications), Sharepoint Designer 2010, etc.

Again, I am developing on Windows XP SP3 (32-bit machine) while Support and documentation insist on developing at Sharepoint Server or, at least, 64-bit Windows 7.


I also implemented Custom workflow activity using sandbox solution. I am basically calling custom & outside domain WCF service which does some sorts of file IO operations and it usually takes longer to execute. I never encountered timeout issue with this so far.

I agree with Chris that it may be the server where your code is executing is slow. I could not find any performance related improvement that we can apply while creating custom workflow action. I also tried creating custom action using SharePoint apps but it did not work. Looks like sandbox solution is the only way for it.

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