The usage statistics on various websites depict that Appium is currently one of the most popular cross platform mobile testing tools. The testing professionals can use Appium to perform automated testing of native mobile apps, hybrid mobile apps and mobile web apps. Also, the testing professionals have option to write test scripts in any of the programming languages supported by Appium.
At the same time, the open source nature of Appium enables businesses to perform mobile test automation without spending a lot of money. However, Appium, like other mobile app testing tools, also have a number of shortcomings. Hence, it becomes essential for testing professionals to understand the pros and cons of testing a variety of mobile apps with Appium.
Advantages of Cross Platform Mobile Testing Using Appium Framework
- Appium can be used for testing native, hybrid, and mobile web apps. Hence, it becomes easier for businesses to test a variety of mobile applications without investing in multiple tests. Also, they can leverage the skills of existing testing professionals to evaluate different types of mobile apps.
- Appium supports two major mobile platforms – iOS and Android. So the testers can use a single framework of automate testing of Android and iOS apps. They can further reuse the same test code to evaluate both iOS and Android applications. Likewise, they can use the same set of APIs to write automated test scripts for these hugely popular mobile operating systems.
- The mobile app testing professionals also have option to use a robust record and playback tool called Appium Inspector. Appium Inspector is designed based on Selenium IDE. But it comes with features to simplify native mobile app testing automation. The testers can use the tool to generate test scripts automatically based on the steps carried out in inspector. Appium also have the capability to check the DOM and generate the test scripts in the programming language selected by the user.
- Appium further supports built-in web browsers on individual mobile platforms. It supports Safari on iOS and Chrome on Android. Also, it allows testers to run the same test scripts to evaluate different versions of the same app across different mobile platforms.
- Most mobile app testing tools require testing professionals to add specific agents to the mobile app to get more reliable test results. But Appium enables testers to evaluate the mobile apps without adding any extra agents. The testers can use the framework to assess the mobile apps as they will be submitted to various app stores and without recompiling the app code repeatedly.
- The testers also have option to integrate Appium seamlessly with other mobile app testing tools. The integration enables users to extend the functionality of Appium and generate better test results. For instance, the developers can integrate Appium with another robust continuous integration server to generate more relevant test results. Likewise, they can also integrate the tool with Selenium WebDriver API and other language-specific client libraries.
Major Shortcomings of Appium Framework
- Appium tests Android apps using UIAutomator. Despite being the native UI automation tool for Android, UIAutomator supports only Android SDK Platform, API 16 or higher. But a large percentage of devices are still running on older versions of Google’s mobile operating system. Hence, the mobile app testers have to use Selendroid additionally to evaluate the older APIs. As an open source tool, Selendroid does not increase project overheads. But it requires developers to perform additional configurations.
- While using Appium, the testing professionals can run only a single instance on Instruments per Mac OS. Hence, each Mac device can be used for running a single set of iOS test scripts. The users have to deploy additional Mac devices to execute multiple test scripts simultaneously. Hence, business has to invest in additional machines to test iOS apps efficiently using Appium. However, the businesses also have option to avail the cloud-based solutions provided by several companies to run test scripts on multiple iOS simulators at once without investing in real devices.
- Unlike other robust mobile app testing tools, Appium does not support all gestures. The limited support for gestures make it difficult for testing professionals to evaluate the functionality and user experience delivered by the apps fully. Also, Appium currently does not support toast messages.
However, Appium, despite being open source, has been evolving consistently. Each updated version of the framework comes with several new features to simplify and speedup cross-platform mobile app testing automation. The new features and enhancements also help testing professionals to overcome some of these prominent shortcomings of Appium framework.