Test ASP.NET apps on your Mac with VMWare Fusion & DD-WRT

Today I needed to test and fix mac-specific bugs in a website that is written in ASP.NET, but I generally use a Mac. When I work on the ASP.NET site I boot into Vista using Boot Camp, and the rest of the time I spend happily in OS X. I needed a solution to run both at the same time, and on the same computer, (this is the only mac I have, but my development environment for the .NET site is on my Boot Camp partition). It was time to see if Virtualization has gotten any better. It has.

There are two reasons that virtualization is better: VMWare Fusion 3.0 was released, and I doubled up my RAM, (now at 4GB). With these two changes, and Aero turned off on the Windows side, Vista runs ok under VMWare Fusion on my ageing Macbook Pro. Now to see changes made in Vista from OS X.

The simplest way I found to make this happen was to use some of the DHCP features DD-WRT on my router to assign a static IP address to my virtual machine and to map a URL to that IP. I’ll do this in steps:

  1. Before starting your VM in VMWare, go to the settings for the VM > Network and choose “Bridged” then open the advanced section and click the button to generate a MAC address. Copy the generated MAC address.
  2. To to Services > Services in your DD-WRT web interface and in the DHCP Server box assign a static IP to the Mac address you just copied
  3. In the DNSMasq box enter the following:address=/the-url-you-want-to-map-to-the-vm/THE.IP.YOU.JUST.SET entering, of course, the real values.
  4. Hit Apply and Save at the bottom of the page
  5. Start up your VM
  6. Make sure that Windows Firewall is set up to let HTTP connections through
  7. Type the URL you created in your browser in OS X and you should get the web page served by Windows
  8. Now, there should be a way to make this work without the router, using NAT network mode for the VM and some hosts file edits in OS X. I’m going to try to figure out how, but for now I just need to get some bugs fixed in the .NET app. If anyone has any ideas how to make this happen without involving a router let me know, (or blog about it and leave a note in the comments).

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