Since mobile testing includes testing the applications across different devices and platforms such as Android and iOS, the job can become very hectic. Thankfully, there is a way out of this, and that is to utilize mobile automation tools. Though there are many mobile automation tools open at present, Appium proves to be the most efficient and accessible.
Appium is flexible, feature-rich, scalable, and hugely profitable. And learning it would facilitate the job of every mobile tester.
Well, if you are interested to know about Appium and its features, we can help you with that by giving the necessary details.
Appium – The Open Source Mobile Application
Appium is simply an open-source mobile application for mobile automation. Appium supports native, hybrid, and web application automation tests across physical devices having both an emulator and simulator. It even allows cross-platform app testing where its real beauty lies.
Appium allows the user to write tests for multiple platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone utilizing the same API. It implies that you could write a test for iOS and use the same test for Windows Phone and Android. It saves time and supports the software tester to reuse a large number of codes between different test suites.
Another great characteristic of Appium is that it has no dependency on Mobile device OS. It is because Appium has a structure or wrapper that could translate Selenium Webdriver commands to UIAutomation or UIAutomator commands based on the kind of device. Furthermore, Appium supports nearly all languages that have Selenium client libraries.
Appium also showcases a neat characteristic that can automate without recompiling the app. It means that the user doesn’t require to have access to the application code to work with Appium. Whereas, other mobile automation devices like Frank and Calabash require the user to be aware of the app code to be able to operate with it. Thus, you could test the same app which you will be operating to submit to the app store.
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Appium Philosophy and the Four Tenets
No automation or recompiling your app – As we have read earlier, Appium doesn’t need an additional agent or an app code to operate. Hence, the user doesn’t have to recompile or change the app to automate it.
No requirement of a particular language or framework – Appium supports all languages when it gets to writing tests. Ruby, Python, Node.js, Java, Objective, PHP, and you name it. Users wouldn’t have to study a new language to operate with the tool.
No reinventing the wheel – A more beneficial tool for mobile applications shouldn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to automation APIs. Appium employs WebDriver API, and so there is no trouble reinventing the wheel by including an entirely new API.
A framework should be open source and useful– Appium is easily available to all the users and can be easily altered as per the user’s requirements. Moreover, Appium is completely practical and real in spirit.
Appium and the Way It Works
Appium is an HTTP server written using a Node.js platform. It manages iOS and Android sessions using WebDriver JSON wire protocol.
Once Appium is downloaded and installed on your device, a server is set up on the machine that gives REST API the required exposure.
Later, it receives connection and command requests from clients and takes the necessary actions to execute the command.
Appium answers back using HTTP responses and uses mobile test automation frameworks to achieve the request.
Prerequisites When Using Appium
Before you get started with Appium, you are needed to install a few of the below-listed applications to operate efficiently with Appium.
- Android SDK
- Java Development Kit
- TestNG for Eclipse
- Selenium Server
- Appium Client Library
- APK App Info on Google Play
- Appium Desktop
Limitations of Using Appium
The most vital limiting factor of using Appium would be its inefficiency to synchronize with AUT accurately.
To put it in easy words, while the automation tests are operating, it may take some time for the action to perform. It may be waiting for some factor to load or get ready so that the user can move ahead to the next step. However, Appium doesn’t manage this situation diligently.
One could put a “wait command” to overcome this setback. Nonetheless, this cannot operate as a permanent solution and can turn your automation test to operate slowly. Tools like Espresso and EarlyGrey could efficiently take care of conditions like this.
Again, Appium is quite a tough tool to manage when you are a complete beginner in the process. You will also need a Mac system to run iOS tests, and iOS apps cannot be automated on Windows or Linux systems. This is due to the reason that Appium needs Xcode for iOS automation which is Mac-only at present.
Appium can again be a difficult nut to crack when users glance at it from the scalability perspective. Due to the technical constraints, users can only perform one test at a time Mac. This can be a great hindrance when purchasing Mac and buying multiple Macs to solve the situation can show to be costly. The only method to address this problem is to take aid from mobile cloud services.
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