Monday, January 16, 2012

Big SWF'in

This morning Devon noticed a problem loading the Flex SWF (the Flash workbench) on one of our customer systems.  It seemed to stop at about 75% on Chrome.  Worked fine on Safari.

We've already established a compatibility matrix for Operating Systems/Browsers/Flash Plugins and have it teed up to add compatibility detection to Flex, but we think this problem isn't really related to browsers and plugins.

We think it's because the SWF has grown over the last 18 months to around 4.5 MB, which is pretty large for a Flash object.  Latency issues factor in and we think it might be time to consider using a CDN to host our SWF.  The only CDN I've worked with personally is Akamai, which is overkill for us since we're not Hulu.  Our initial thought was to use Amazon S3, even though I know that S3 buckets are tied to specific AWS data centers.  Turns out one of the AWS services I've never had a use for will fit the bill: CloudFront.  You can setup a CloudFront CDN to proxy an S3 bucket and instantly get your data proxied all over the planet.  It would be nice for our European customers to get their SWF's from Ireland and for our Australian, Malaysian and New Zealand customers to get their SWF's from Singapore and so on.

Like a lot things on our wish list, there's no telling when we'll get around to incorporating the CDN into Flex, but we did some experimentation this morning by adding a new S3 bucket for static content and a basic piece of content here: http://cdn.flexrentalsolutions.com/angry-nun.jpg

(I hope hardcore audio engineers will forgive the presence of Behringer equipment on my desk.)

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