While I was working on my previous job I have been given the task to find a way to use a Flash based application on an iPad (Android was not on the mind of anybody but me). Among the applications I have been trying for that there was Puffin Browser which is available for both iOS and Android.
I haven’t written much about this before, because it was too related to work to talk about — we were trying to get in touch with them, as we had a few issues that needed to be addressed, but since that was about six months ago now, I guess that fell through and won’t be happening anyway. Nothing that I’ll be discussing here is related to that job anyway.
So what is Puffin, and why did it relate to run a Flash application? Well, mostly it’s a browser that follows the same idea that I remember being used at least by the first Opera browser on the iPad, if I’m not mistaken. A server of theirs downloads and renders the page, and it’s displayed on the device’s screen.
Unlike most other browsers I’ve seen, though, it also renders Flash in (near) real-time, and proxies the taps as clicks. To make it nicer, it also provides a virtual mouse, and keyboard, which allows you to do operations like right clicks and drags. It’s not a bad result what you get, but there are complications.
Mostly, the complications are for server admins — not even web developers, really just server admins. The problem is that CloudMosa, the company that develops and sell this application, while using a very limited pool of IP addresses to proxy the requests, do not provide a FcRDNS to ensure that what comes, declaring itself as Puffin, is actually Puffin, and can be trusted.
You can imagine that this causes no little problem with my ruleset especially in regard to the openproxy handling. Unfortunately, and this was one of the things that caused the most problems at my previous position as well, they don’t really have a support system. They handle most of the feedback and discussion through their Facebook page. Which is to say, something very screwed up.