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Cross domain policy files, Flash and browser behaviour

On the heels of my last post decreeing the death of Flash, here’s a tip I just discovered. We’ve been finishing up some revisions for a long-time client. It’s a flash site (I know, I know), but we’ve been working hard to integrate some current tech to make it more useful, like a WordPress-powered news engine and Slideshow Pro Director for managing the dozens of fantastic photo slideshows they have on the site.

It’s this last tool that caused an interesting little problem. If you try to run Director and serve slideshows across domains, even if those are subdomains, for example if Director is installed at kulapartners.com and you want to demo the slideshow at demo.kulapartners.com, you have to create a file called crossdomain.xml and place it at the root of your webserver. Everyone developing in Flash has learned this over the years. It’s annoying, but it works.

However, the issue I ran into was a bit unexpected. The client was able to view everything on the site except the new slideshow. The issue was occurring on all of their PCs in IE, Chrome and Firefox. It was happening inside of their office and even when their laptops were offsite. However, it looked just fine for us on our Macs and even on our test PCs which are running Windows XP.

Turns out, their browsers (all of them!) were adding a www to the beginning of the subdomain. So, instead of demo.kulapartners.com, they were getting www.demo.kulapartners.com. Most if not all of the client’s computers had Windows 7 or Vista (I can’t tell the difference from a quick look to be honest). It appears like this is the default behaviour in Windows now.

I added this domain to the cross domain policy file and poof, everything worked as expected. I know this seems like a simple thing, but it stumped me for a second and hopefully this post will help anyone else who runs into this little issue.

What forehead slappers have you run into lately?

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