Mitch Crowe

On Ruby, Rails, Javascript, and all that good stuff.

Easy Rails Debugging in IE With a Mac and VirtualBox

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Internet Explorer is still more than 60% of my traffic, and I need to do a lot of feature testing on it. A lot of folks push up to a staging server then point a virtual machine to that server. This is too slow for me. Especially when I’m hunting down and fixing particularly pernicious css bugs, there is a lot of tweaking involved, and re-deploying for each test just doesn’t cut it.

Instead, I setup VirtualBox to connect to my development server so I don’t need to re-deploy to see changes in IE. It makes debugging in IE almost as easy as in other browsers!

Assuming you have, or can, setup VirtualBox with XP or Windows 7 (if not there are a thousand tutorials on google), the rest takes a couple of seconds. VirtualBox’s default setting will allow it to connect to your Mac’s localhost through http://10.0.2.2. Forwarding ports is messier, so instead we can run rails on port 80. This requires running your server as a super user. Assuming you’re using rvm, run:

rvmsudo rails server -p 80

and verify you can hit the server at http://localhost on your Mac, and http://10.0.2.2 in VirtualBox. You’re good to go!

While you’re at it, I’d recommend installing IE Collection, so that you can easily test on all versions of IE on the same box.

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