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Internet Explorer Mobile can not access 127.0.0.1 / localhost

Recently I stumbled over this very anoying feature of the Microsoft Internet Explorer Mobile (IEM). IEM is NOT able to open local webserver pages! Neither within WM5 nor WM6.1. You can test this using the stand-alone Windows Mobile emulator:

You can download the device emulator from here [1] or here [2].  After install you also need a WM5 or WM6 emulator image that you also download from the previous stated links.

Now also download a web server that runs on WM5/6. I used the free opensource Depeche Webserver [3]. For the WM5/6 emulator images download the armv4i files.

To check for the running service and the open port, I recommend vxUtils [4]. The personal edition is sufficiant for our tests.

Now start the Device Emulator Manager: “C:\%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Device Emulator\1.0\dvcemumanager.exe”. Select one of the installed WM5 or WM6 images.

iem_localhost1

Here I started a Windows Mobile 5 emulator image.

Copy the Depeche and vxUtils installation CAB files to a directory of your choice and select this dir as source for sharing with the emulator image (File-Configure). Here I selected d:\temp:

iem_localhost2

Now start file explorer within the emulator and browse to ‘Storage Card’ and install the two tools:

iem_localhost3

Then start Depeche Webserver via start-settings-system-Depeche Web Server:

iem_localhost4 iem_localhost5

If you see the IP address of 192.168.55.101 or some starting with 169, you have an active sync connection. Stop the ActiveSync connection and then reopen the Depeche settings again. You should see 127.0.0.1. If so, start the web server by tapping [Load]. The webserver is then started and it is time to start IEM and take a look at what happens for http://127.0.0.1:400 or http://localhost:400

iem_localhosterror1 iem_localhosterror

If you now believe the webserver seems not to be running, try vxUtils and do a port scan (tap the [s] in vxUtils main screen).

There are some sites about this strange problem, but no solution yet. The solutions provided (localhost-null) are for WM2003 and do not work for WM5/6.

I then started a test against Access Netfront, my favorite Mobile Browser and it works FINE for local web server.

The problem with this all is, that SAP MI uses a local web server to provide SAP services on mobile devices (SAP Netweaver, Mobile Infrastructure and MAM). Without a working IEM to 127.0.0.1:4444 this will not work. As a workaround, one can use Access Netfront Browser Windows Mobile instead.

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