Pros and Cons of Appium and How to Use it for Mobile Test automation?

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Are you worried about using the Appium automation testing tool? And want to learn about the pros and cons of using Appium for mobile test automation. If so, then you’re on the right platform! 

We all are well aware that Appium is an open-source test automation framework for testing web, native, and hybrid apps. It drives Android and iOS applications leveraging the WebDriver protocol. 

Let’s sneak peek into some of Appium’s Pros and cons of automating mobile testing. 

Pros of Using Appium Automation on Cloud

Appium has many advantages, some of which are listed below:

  • Appium is an open-source automation testing tool that is easily accessible. 
  • Appium enables you to execute tests on mobile devices by leveraging the same API. 
  • Appium supports automation on cloud and JSON wire protocol. 
  • Appium doesn’t need recompilation of applications. 
  • Appium offers cross-platform for native, hybrid, and web mobile apps. 
  • It is not dependent on any mobile devices. 
  • You can write and run the tests by leveraging any test framework or language. 
  • Supports automation tests on physical devices and for both emulators and simulators.
  • It doesn’t need anything to be installed on the device; thus, no need for code change or server change. 

Cons of Using Appium Automation on Cloud

  • Appium has restricted support for hybrid application testing. Users will not be able to test the action that enables changing applications from the web to native or native to web apps. 
  • No support enables you to run Appium Inspector on Microsoft Windows. 
  • Testing of Android devices lower than 4.2 is not allowed. 
  • Limited support for gestures
  • You can only perform one test at a time on iOS. 
  • Time and configuration needed for setup
  • Appium for Android and iOS has complexity.
  • Appium inspector can’t be geared up on Windows. 

How to Use Appium for mobile app test automation? 

Apart from learning about Appium, you should also know how to use Appium and automate mobile testing. It would be best if you install or have installed the following:

  1. Install JDK (Java Development Kit) 
  2. Install TestNG for Eclipse
  3. Install Android SDK 
  4. APK application information on Google Play
  5. Install Selenium Server JAR
  6. Install Eclipse
  7. Appium Client Library
  8. js (Not Required – whenever you install Appium server, it comes with NPM plus “Node.exe” By default) 
  9. Install Appium Desktop

How to Install Appium Desktop? 

Appium Studio is an open-source Graphic User Interface application required to install Appium Server. It contains the prerequisites to install & use the Appium Server. Moreover, it also has an Inspector to receive general information about your applications. It comes with a Recorder to develop boilerplate code to automate mobile testing. 

Now, let’s look into the process of installing Appium Desktop:

Step 1. Go to the official Appium website or http://appium.io/ and download the Appium application by clicking on Download Appium. 

Step 2. Select the .exe file and download the app. 

Step 3. Click on the downloaded exe file. 

Step 4. There’s no need to install Appium on a Windows machine. After clicking on the .exe file, you’ll see an image for a few minutes on your screen. You need to install the dmg for Mac. 

Step 5. Then you’ll see the Server Start Window. It populates the default port and host option, which can be easily changed. It also mentions the Appium version being leveraged. 

Step 6. A new server gets launched on the particular port and host by clicking on the Start Server Button. 

Step 7. Click on New Session Window

Step 8. You can enter your choice’s Capabilities and start a session. 

Appium Inspector

Like Selenium IDE playback and record tool, Appium has an ‘Inspector’ to playback and record. It records and plays native app behavior by investigating DOM and making the test scripts in the desired language. 

However, there’s no support for Microsoft Windows by Appium Inspector. It releases the Appium Server in Windows but still needs to investigate elements. Nonetheless, the UIAutomator viewer can be leveraged as the best option for checking-up elements. 

Steps how could you begin with Appium Inspector on a Mac machine:

Step 1. Download and start your server with the help of default port 4725 and IP Address 0.0.0.0.

  • Choose the application file or source file from local to test. 
  • Monitor the ‘Apo Path’ Checkbox to view the ‘Choose’ button. 

Step 2. Click on the ‘Choose’ button will serve you with the option to select and browse test files from the local drive. 

Step 3. Start Simulator on Mac 

Step 4. From the top right side, corner clicks on the ‘Launch’ button, which shows a blue icon. Then again, click on this icon to open the Appium Simulator and Inspector, having a pre-selected application. 

Step 5. After the Launch of Appium Inspector, you can see the element hierarchy in the column structure. Moreover, a user can also apply actions by leveraging buttons like Swipe, Tap, etc. 

Step 6. Finally, click on the ‘Stop’ button to end the recording. 

Appium Test Case for Native Android Application

Step 1. Download ADT eclipse or ADT bundle separately

Step 2. Open eclipse and create a new project 

Step 3. Import TestNG and Selenium libraries inside the new project. 

Step 4. Then, create a small test program for the app to add the two numbers. 

Attach Android Emulator to Appium

Step 1. Install Android SDK 

Go to the control panel>>System & Security>>System, and click on Advanced System Settings from the left panel. Click on the ‘Advanced’ tab from System Properties and then click on the button ‘Environment Variables.’

Step 2. From the ‘Environment Variables’ pop-up, double-click on ‘Path’ and set the Android_Home variable pointing to your SDK directory. 

Step 3. Start your Android device or Android emulator to your system (ensure that you have the option of Android Debugging enabled in your Android device. 

Step 4. Open Command Prompt and guide your Android SDK’s \platform- tools\directory

Step 5. Run the command – ‘and devices.’ Now you can see your connected device presented in Command Prompt Window. 

Step 6. Run the command ‘ADB start-server.’ Then, it’ll start an ADB server leveraged by Appium to send commands. 

Step 7. Now move to the Appium directory in your system & start Appium by clicking on an Appium.exe file. 

Step 8. Don’t change the port number or IP Address; click on the ‘Launch’ button. 

Step 9. Click the ‘Start’ button, and the Appium server will gear up on your system. 

Final Thoughts

Today there are various options available when we talk about mobile automation and its uses. All the available testing tools would have their separate pros and cons. There are abundant benefits that the Appium automation testing tool provides. 

A single Appium test can run on different Operating Systems and devices. It’s a piece of cake to create Appium tests. But if we look at its multiple benefits, it’s the only perfect option for mobile automation. 

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