Unlike IIS, the Windows Azure Compute Emulator does not listen for external requests on your network IP. It only listens on the local loopback address 127.0.0.1. As I have found out, this is a big pain for cross browser testing because you cannot install Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 and 10 side-by-side, so you have to either use external PCs with old browsers or create virtual machines in Oracle VirtualBox or Hyper-V with those browsers installed.
To solve this problem, you could:
- Use AnalogX PortMapper – however, you need to remember to shut it down before the emulator starts and then start it again after it’s started… this is too much friction!
- Create a separate IIS website listening on a different port to 80, add that as a Firewall exception and access the application externally that way – however, the drawback is that you may need to change your application architecture to run under the two different contexts. Also #1, you have the memory overheads of having 1 + N instances of the app in memory. Also #2, you’re not testing the app in emulated conditions when using IIS – which means it’s not really a thorough test. Also #3, it’s more friction.
- You might find there’s a way to configure Hyper-V to use the host network connection and loopback adapter… I’m not a Hyper-V expert, but I tried and failed. Probably not possible!?
However, the best solution was totally frictionless: Just use PJS PassPort: http://sourceforge.net/projects/pjs-passport as detailed in this other blog post: http://blog.sacaluta.com/2012/03/windows-azure-dev-fabric-access-it.html
Hope this helps someone! I have posted this as an answer on stackoverflow as well; hopefully this will work for everyone now!