Intranet software on an iPad

I’m not really an Apple person. I admit, they have some great designs and ideas, but I’ve always used Windows. I’m comfortable with it, I’ve rarely had any issues (and those I have had are either my fault or a dll problem) and it just is easier for me than learning a new OS. I’ve had enough trouble trying to learn linux (it’s not bad but it keeps breaking on me and, since I don’t know it, it harder for me to fix) without diving into OSX.

My boss’s son is a Mac Guy, so my boss has a couple iPads. He gave me the task of figuring out how to make our web-based software work on them, since despite being a software development company, I’m the one with the most understanding of technology. I understand it, but it still strikes me as funny.

Anyway, the software stays on the local network, and my boss has a (Windows) laptop that he bought for demoing the software (and for navigating his 25-year-old yacht, but it’s his company so he can do whatever he wants) which will be running the ColdFusion server and have the software on it. Since ColdFusion wasn’t on the laptop, I used mine.

Now, the details here are hazy, but since the laptop was on wired and the iPad was on wireless, I couldn’t see the software on the web browser. I think I tried putting them both on the same wireless network, but even if that worked, I didn’t feel like I should assume open wireless networks wherever we need to demonstrate the software. Our customers are the kinds of people stuck in the 70s, and for the most part, that’s fine. Their business doesn’t require staying completely up to date on everything, but our software can help them save a lot of money (and give a bunch of it to us!).

My original solution was simple and seemed to work until we ran into a “ColdFusion Developer Edition only allows 2 outside IPs to access it and you accidentally ended up using 3!” error. This is what I wrote down for my future-self and colleagues to work with:

  • Create/connect ad-hoc network on the laptop
  • Connect to ad-hoc network on iPad
  • Open Safari
  • Connect to the application using the computer name and then the name of the location of the software
  • it should work. Log in and go

Of course, since we got my boss’s laptop running our software with an actual ColdFusion licence, I’m back on the project. The first thing I did was test to be sure the software worked on his machine, and then I set out connected the same way I did weeks ago.

It didn’t work.

I honestly shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. It worked perfectly before and now I can’t get it to connect. I can connect via ad-hoc network from my machine to my boss’s machine and see the software in my browser, but not the iPad. Personally, I feel that the fact that I could do that means that answers like these are bullshit. Unfortunately, I still have no answer. Well, okay this answer is pretty nice, but I’m running Windows 7 with IIS, so I have no idea where to even begin with that.

Anyway, I did end up getting something that worked. I overlooked this originally, even though I feel it’s a poor solution considering the circumstances I discussed above.

If the laptop is connected to the same wireless network as the iPad, you can access the laptop’s website by using the IP address. Not the computer name, sadly. I would prefer that, but safari on’t stop tacking on “http://www.” and “.com” around it, even when I put the software location on the URL. I can’t help but think there’s a solution for that, but I’m happy something works for the time being, for testing, but this is not what my boss wants.

I did find this guy who wants to do what I’m trying to do, but no answer there, either. It was also suggested that windows firewall was the problem, but that site seems to be talking about something slightly different than I’m looking for.

So far, no answer.

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