When we activating a feature that contains a featurereceiver doing heavy actions, for instance;
- Creating lists
- Modifying existing site columns
- And/or most probably content types because we faced the issue here J I received a “Request timed out” error at the Manage Features page. We have Solution Base Content type which contains more than 60 Site columns and more than 10 Page Layouts further child content types so when it update the Child Contents it require huge amount of time.
This is of course that the execution time exceeds the maximum execution timeout. Considering the feature applies changes to contenttypes and updating those to the children using the method SPContentType.Update(true) that could surely be the case. SharePoint itself does such updates using a LongRunningOperationJob that executes on a separate thread somewhat like a timer job.
I thought about modifying the request/execution timeout, but that was not the best solution in my case. SharePoint itself does this, check out the web.config in the /_layouts/ folder. It contains executionTimouts overrides for some pages using location elements.