Top 5 Android Testing Frameworks (with Examples)

Mobile Web Development

Google’s Android ecosystem continues to expand rapidly. It is evident that new mobile OEMs are emerging in every corner of the world, bringing in different screen sizes, ROM/firmwares, chipsets, and etc. For Android developers, it becomes rather difficult to cope with the fragmentation.

Luckily, Android (including iOS) developers have had unlimited access to some advanced cloud-based solution, like Testdroid Cloud, to run automated tests on a large scale of real devices for quality assurance. Also the emergence of different Android testing frameworks has substantially eased Android developers’ lives.

Today we are going to behold 5 most used Android testing frameworks and break down the basics and code examples of each. You can also check out top 5 iOS test automation frameworks with examples here.

Robotium

Undoubted, Robotium was once the most widely used Android testing framework in the early days of Android world. With a similarity with Selenium in Android, it makes testing API simpler.
Robotium is an open source library extending JUnit with plenty of useful methods for Android UI testing. It provides powerful and robust automatic black-box test cases for Android apps (native and hybrid) and web testing. With Robotium you can write function, system and acceptance test scenarios, and test applications where the source code is available.

Robotium code example:

// Public void for the operation
 public void testRecorded() throws Exception {
 // Wait for the text 'Hello!' to be shown for newbie
 if (solo.waitForText("Hello!")) {
 // R class ID identifier for 'Sign in' - and click it
 solo.clickOnView(solo.findViewById("com.twitter.android.R.id.sign_in"));
 // R class ID identifier for entering username
 solo.enterText((EditText) solo.findViewById("com.twitter.android.R.id.login_username"),"username");
 // R class ID identifier for entering password
 solo.enterText((EditText) solo.findViewById("com.twitter.android.R.id.login_password"),"password");
 // R class ID identifier for clicking log in
 solo.clickOnView(solo.findViewById("com.twitter.android.R.id.login_login"));
 // Wait until log in is done
 solo.waitForActivity("HomeTabActivity");
 }
 // Activate the text field to compose a tweet
 solo.clickOnView(solo.findViewById("com.twitter.android.R.id.menu_compose_tweet"));
 // Type the tweet
 solo.enterText((EditText) solo.findViewById("com.twitter.android.R.id.edit"), "Testdroid");
 // Tweeting!
 solo.clickOnView(solo.findViewById("com.twitter.android.R.id.composer_post"));
 }

For your convenience, Testdroid Recorder is an awesome recording tool built with Robotium for test script creation. By performing actual actions on your real device, it records every step or action you take and converts to Javascript for your further modification.

In addition, you are also entitled to fully download and utilize our Extension Library – ExtSolo. It includes useful methods that have not been merged into Robotium, for instance:

  • Automatic scaling of x,y clicks for any resolution
  • Multi-path drags
  • Automatic screenshots on test failure
  • Mock locations
  • Change device language
  • Control WiFi connection

uiautomator

While Robotium is a good yet basic framework, uiautomator allows you to do more in testing Android apps and games. Google’s test framework allows you to test user interface (UI) of your native Android apps on one or more devices. Another advantage of uiautomator is that it runs JUnit test cases with special privileges, which means test cases can span across different processes. It also provides five different classes for developers to use, including

com.android.uiautomator.core.UiCollection;
 com.android.uiautomator.core.UiDevice;
 com.android.uiautomator.core.UiObject;
 com.android.uiautomator.core.UiScrollable;
 com.android.uiautomator.core.UiSelector

Similar to its time of birth, it only works on Android devices with API level 16 or higher. Another downside of uiautomator is that it doesn’t support webview, with no way to directly access Android objects.

uiautomator’s code example:

// Public void for the operation
 public void testSignInAndTweet() throws Exception {
 // Starting application:
 getUiDevice().wakeUp(); // Press Home button to ensure we're on homescreen
 getUiDevice().pressHome(); // Select 'Apps' and click button
 new UiObject(new UiSelector().description("Apps")).click(); // Select 'Twitter' and click
 new UiObject(new UiSelector().text("Twitter")).click(); // Locate and select 'Sign in'
 UiSelector signIn = new UiSelector().text("Sign In"); // If button is available, click
 UiObject signInButton = new UiObject(signIn);
 if (signInButton.exists()) {
 signInButton.click(); // Set the username
 new UiObject(new
 UiSelector().className("android.widget.EditText").instance(0)).setText("username");
 new UiObject(new
 UiSelector().className("android.widget.EditText").instance(1)).setText("password");
 new UiObject(new UiSelector().className("android.widget.Button").
 text("Sign In").instance(0)).click(); // Wait Sign in progress window
 getUiDevice().waitForWindowUpdate(null, 2000); // Wait for main window
 getUiDevice().waitForWindowUpdate(null, 30000);
 }
 new UiObject(new UiSelector().description("New tweet")).click(); // Typing text for a tweet
 new UiObject(new UiSelector().className("android.widget.LinearLayout").instance(8)).
 setText("Awesome #Testdroid!"); // Tweeting!
 new UiObject(new UiSelector().text("Tweet")).click();

Espresso

Espresso is the latest Android test automation framework that got open-sourced by Google, making it available for developers and testers to hammer out their UIs. Espresso has an API that is small, predictable, easy to learn and built on top of the Android instrumentation framework. You can quickly write concise and reliable Android UI tests with it. It is supported on API level 8 (Froyo), 10 (Gingerbread), and 15 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and afterwards.
It’s quite reliable, synchronizing with the UI thread and fast because there is no need for any sleeps (tests run on same millisecond when an app becomes idle). But it does not have support for webviews as well.

Espresso code example:

public void testEspresso() {
 // Check if view with the text 'Hello.' is shown
 onView(withText("Hello.")).check(matches(isDisplayed()));
 // R class ID identifier for 'Sign in' - and click it
 onView(withId(getInstrumentation().getTargetContext().getResources()
 .getIdentifier("com.twitter.android:id/sign_in", null, null))).perform(click());
 // R class ID identifier for entering username
 onView(withId(getInstrumentation().getTargetContext().getResources()
 .getIdentifier("com.twitter.android:id/login_username", null, null))).perform((typeText("username")));
 // R class ID identifier for entering password
 onView(withId(getInstrumentation().getTargetContext().getResources()
 .getIdentifier("com.twitter.android:id/login_password", null, null))).perform((typeText("password")));
 // R class ID identifier for clicking log in
 onView(withId(getInstrumentation().getTargetContext().getResources()
 .getIdentifier("com.twitter.android:id/login_login", null, null))).perform(click());
 // Activate the text field to compose a tweet
 onView(withId(getInstrumentation().getTargetContext().getResources()
 .getIdentifier("com.twitter.android:id/menu_compose_tweet", null, null))).perform(click());
 // Type the tweet
 onView(withId(getInstrumentation().getTargetContext().getResources()
 .getIdentifier("com.twitter.android:id/edit", null, null))).perform((typeText(”#Testdroid")));
 // Tweeting!
 onView(withId(getInstrumentation().getTargetContext().getResources()
 .getIdentifier("com.twitter.android:id/composer_post", null, null))).perform(click());
 }

Check Android Espresso Tutorial for more information or alternatively see the demo of Espresso on real devices at Testdroid Cloud.

Calabash

Calabash is a cross-platform test automation framework for Android and iOS native and hybrid applications. Calabash’s easy-to-understand syntax enables even non-technical people to create and execute automated acceptance tests for apps on both of these mobile platforms. Calabash’s tests are described in Cucumber and then converted to Robotium or Frank in run time. It supports about 80 different natural language commands (controllers), and new controllers can be implemented in Ruby or Java.

Calabash code example:

Feature: Login feature
 Scenario: As a valid user I can log into my app
 I wait for text "Hello"
 Then I press view with id "Sign in"
 Then I enter text "username" into "login_username"
 Then I enter text "password" into "login_password"
 Then I wait for activity "HomeTabActivity"
 Then I press view with id "menu_compose_tweet"
 Then I enter text "Testdroid" into field with id "edit"
 Then I press view with id "composer_post"

Appium

Appium is a mobile test automation framework (and tool) for native, hybrid and mobile-web apps for iOS and Android. It uses JSONWireProtocol internally to interact with iOS and Android apps using Selenium’s WebDriver. It supports Android via uiautomator (API level 16 or higher) and Seledroid (API level lower than 16), iOS via UI Automation, and mobile web as Selenium driver for Android and iOS.

One of the biggest advantages of Appium is that you can write your Appium scripts on almost any programming language (e.g. Java, Objective-C, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, Python or C#, etc), freedom from having to select tools, compatibility across the most important platforms (Android and iOS), freedom from having to install and configure devices to test and more. Also if you are familiar with Selenium, then it’s easy for you to use Appium in mobile app testing. They use the same WebDriver and DesiredCapabilities is used in the same way. Configuring an application to run on Appium has a lot of similarities to Selenium.

Appium code example:

# wait for hello
 sleep(3)
 textFields = driver.find_elements_by_tag_name('textField')
 assertEqual(textFields[0].get_attribute("value"), "Hello")
 # click sign-in button
 driver.find_elements_by_name('Sign in')[0].click()
 # find the text fields again, and enter username and password
 textFields = driver.find_elements_by_tag_name('textField')
 textFields[0].send_keys("twitter_username")
 textFields[1].send_keys("passw0rd")
 # click the Login button (the first button in the view)
 driver.find_elements_by_tag_name('button')[0].click()
 # sleep
 sleep(3)
 # click the first button with name "Compose"
 driver.find_elements_by_name('Compose')[0].click()
 # type in the tweet message
 driver.find_elements_by_tag_name('textField')[0].send_keys(”#Testdroid is awesome!")
 # press the Send button
 driver.find_elements_by_name('Send')[0].click()
 # exit
 driver.quit()

Wrapping up

Comparing Android Testing Frameworks

Here we have listed top 5 testing frameworks for your daily Android builds, creation, and correction. Certainly, each of them has its pros and cons. Appium is good in testing both your Android and iOS versions at the same time. But if you are a loyal Android developer with only Android-version app, for instance, then using Robotium is not a bad idea too. Relying on Testdroid Recorder will definitely save your lots of time and money (It’s free!) in generating test scripts. Therefore, think about your testing need – functional testing, compatibility testing, UI testing, etc. – and pick up the right and best Android testing framework(s).


Calabash 101: Basics, Getting Started and Advanced Tips

Go through the basics of Calabash, how to create proper Calabash tests and how to make the most of them.

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