Testing Google App Engine apps in Internet Explorer on Windows with Parallels on OS X

I've had a hard time trying to get Internet Explorer on Windows (under Parallels) to connect to the Google App Engine local development server running on OS X.

The interesting thing was that IE would connect to the built-in web server on the Mac without problem (using the Shared Network setting, I could also connect to any other web site.) But I couldn't connect to the development server either via IP or via the computer name using Bonjour for Windows.

I was puzzled until I looked at the options for dev_appserver.py and saw that it binds to a specific address (by default to localhost). Ah, eureka!

I got it working by starting the development server and binding it to the local IP address of my Mac (which you can find at the bottom of the System Preferences panel once you have Personal File Sharing enabled).

cd myapp
dev_appserver.py -a .

I wasn't able to get it to work with the computer name from Windows by binding the server to it although it worked on the Mac and Bonjour for Windows was enabled in Internet Explorer -- it just did not see the server.

I hope this helps someone else save a little hair.

Now if only there was a quick fix for things looking crappy on Internet Explorer 6 :)