Advantages and Disadvantages of Appium

Nowadays, testing professionals explore ways to test a mobile app elaborately across varied devices and platforms. They even look for test automation frameworks that enable them to evaluate a variety of mobile apps quickly and efficiently. As a robust test automation framework, Appium comes with features to simplify and accelerate testing of native, hybrid, and mobile web apps. It allows users to test the mobile apps with real devices, emulators and simulators. Interested readers can read more on how popular is Appium among mobile app testing tools.

The testing professional can further automate the mobile apps without modifying the app code or adding extra components. They even have option to write test scripts in a number of programming languages and take advantage of a record and playback tool. At the same time, Appium, as an open source test automation framework, help testers to curtail mobile app testing cost significantly. But the QA testers must understand that Appium, like other test automation tools and frameworks, has its own pros and cons. So they should understand the advantages and disadvantages of Appium before using it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Appium

Advantages of Appium

Automates Various Types of Mobile Apps

Often developers have to choose test automation frameworks according to the type of mobile apps. But they can use Appium testing services to test different types of mobile apps – native, hybrid and mobile. Appium facilitates testing of hybrid and mobile web apps as a cross-platform test automation framework. At the same time, it enables testers to automate native mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile through the WebDriver protocol. Hence, it becomes easier for testers to test a variety of mobile apps with a single tool.

Does not require App Code Recompilation

Many test automation tools require testers to make changes to the app code. Likewise, certain test automation frameworks require testing professionals to recompile the app code according to the targeted mobile platforms. But Appium enables testers to evaluate both native and cross-platform mobile apps without altering or recompiling the code frequently.

Allows Testers to Use Real Devices, Emulators, and Simulators

Often testers explore ways to evaluate mobile apps with real devices to assess their usability and user experience more precisely. But the testers cannot accelerate mobile app testing without using emulators and simulators. Hence, most testers nowadays opt for test automation frameworks that support real devices, emulators, and simulators. Appium helps developers to produce reliable test results and reduce testing time simultaneously by supporting real devices, emulators, and simulators.

Enables Testers to Automate Apps without Adding Extra Components

As noted earlier, testing professionals can use Appium to automate different types of mobile apps. They can even simplify mobile app automation by keeping all complexities in Appium server. They can even execute the same tests across multiple mobile platforms without putting extra time and effort. Also, Appium enables users to automate the mobile app testing without adding any specific components.

Provides a Record and Playback Tool

Like other widely used test automation frameworks, Appium also provides a robust record and playback tool. While working with Appium, the testers can use Inspector to accelerate testing efforts through record and playback functionality. Appium Inspector even has the capability to record behaviour of native apps by inspecting their document object model (DOM).  The testers can further take advantage of the record and playback tool to produce test scripts in a number of programming languages. However, they still lack the option to run Appium Inspector on Windows.

Facilitates Test Execution without Server Machines

Despite being a test automation framework, Appium is designed as a HTTP server. It is even developed using a robust cross-platform runtime environment like NodeJS. NodeJS enables programmers to write server-side code in JavaScript. While using Appium, the testing professionals can run tests smoothly without requiring a server machine. Appium further connects the test machines to a test server which runs the test automation framework automatically by creating a two-tier architecture.

Supports Several WebDriver Compatible Languages

The testing professionals can integrate Appium seamlessly with a number of test frameworks including Selenium WebDriver API. Selenium WebDriver API enables testers to write test scripts in a number of programming languages. Also, it helps testing professionals to distribute the same test scripts across multiple test environments. Appium further supports a number of WebDriver-compatible languages including Java, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, C# and Objective-C. Hence, a tester has option to write test scripts in his preferred programming language.

Disadvantages of Appium

Does Not Support Older Versions of Android

At present, Appium does not support earlier versions of Android. It supports only Android 4.2 and later. Likewise, it also does not support older APIs for Android. The developers have to integrate Appium with Selenium to test APIs lower than version 16. There are still a large number of devices that run on Android 4.1 Lollypop. Hence, developers find it difficult to test mobile apps developed by targeting different versions of Android.

Does not Facilitate Script Execution on Multiple iOS Simulators

Appium accelerates iOS app testing by allowing developers to use simulators. The simulators make it easier for testers to mimic internal behaviour of the underlying iOS devices. But it does not allow users to run multiple test scripts on multiple simulators at a time. Hence, the developers have to execute test scripts individually to produce more reliable test results. The shortcoming further increases iOS app testing time significantly.

Lacks Capability to Locate and Recognize Images

Many testers nowadays opt for tools with image recognition capability to evaluate mobile apps and games more precisely. Unlike other widely used mobile app testing tools, Appium lacks the capability to locate images automatically. The testers have to work with screen coordinates additionally to make Appium locate and recognize images.

Yet to Implement Common Gestures

At present, Appium does not support Android alert handling directly. Hence, the users lack the option to evaluate alert handling through native APIs. They have to handle alerts in a different way to produce accurate test results. Likewise, Appium currently does not implement some of the commonly used gestures like double-clicking in Java-client libraries. The testing professionals have to put extra time and effort to test these gestures.

On the whole, the features provided by Appium help developers to choose native, hybrid, and mobile web apps. Also, Appium, as an open source test automation framework, helps developers to curtail overall mobile app testing cost. But Appium, like other mobile app testing tools, has its own pros and cons. It is always important for the testing professionals to keep in mind the advantages and disadvantages of Appium while comparing similar test automation frameworks.

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