Appium Bootcamp - Chapter 2: The Console

Posted by Bill McGee in AppiumBest Practices

This is the second post in a series called Appium Bootcamp by noted Selenium expert Dave Haeffner

Dave recently immersed himself in the open source Appium project and collaborated with leading Appium contributor Matthew Edwards to bring us this material. Appium Bootcamp is for those who are brand new to mobile test automation with Appium. No familiarity with Selenium is required, although it may be useful. This is the second of eight posts; a new post will be released each week.

Configuring Appium
In order to get Appium up and running there are a few additional things we'll need to take care of. If you haven't already done so, install Ruby and setup the necessary Appium client libraries (a.k.a. "gems"). You can read a write-up on how to do that here.

Installing Necessary Libraries Assuming you've already installed Ruby and need some extra help installing the gems, here's what you to do.

  1. Install the gems from the command-line with gem install appium_console
  2. Once it completes, run gem list | grep appium

You should see the following listed (your version numbers may vary):

appium_console (1.0.1)
appium_lib (4.0.0)

Now you have all of the necessary gems installed on your system to follow along.

An Appium Gems Primer

appium_lib is the gem for the Appium Ruby client bindings. It is what we'll use to write and run our tests against Appium. It was installed as a dependency to appium_console. appium_console is where we'll focus most of our attention in the remainder of this and the next post. It is an interactive prompt that enables us to send commands to Appium in real-time and receive a response. This is also known as a record-eval-print loop (REPL). Now that we have our libraries setup, we'll want to grab a copy of our app to test against.

Sample Apps

Don't have a test app? Don't sweat it. There are pre-compiled test apps available to kick the tires with. You can grab the iOS app here and the Android app here. If you're using the iOS app, you'll want to make sure to unzip the file before using it with Appium. If you want the latest and greatest version of the app, you can compile it from source. You can find instructions on how to do that for iOS here and Android here. Just make sure to put your test app in a known location, because you'll need to reference the path to it next.

App Configuration

When it comes to configuring your app to run on Appium there are a lot of similarities to Selenium -- namelythe use of Capabilities (e.g., "caps" for short). You can specify the necessary configurations of your app through caps by storing them in a file called appium.txt. Here's what appium.txt looks like for the iOS test app to run in an iPhone simulator:

[caps]
platformName = "ios"
app = "/path/to/UICatalog.app.zip"
deviceName = "iPhone Simulator"

And here's what appium.txt looks like for Android:

[caps]
platformName = "android"
app = "/path/to/api.apk"
deviceName = "Android"
avd = "training"

For Android, note the use of both avd. The "training" value is for the Android Virtual Device that we configured in the previous post. This is necessary for Appium to auto-launch the emulator and connect to it. This type of configuration is not necessary for iOS. For a full list of available caps, read this. Go ahead and create an appium.txt with the caps for your app. Launching The Console Now that we have a test app on our system and configured it to run in Appium, let's fire up the Appium Console. First we'll need to start the Appium server. So let's head over to the Appium GUI and launch it. It doesn't matter which radio button is selected (e.g., Android or Apple). Just click the Launch button in the top right-hand corner of the window. After clicking it, you should see some debug information in the center console. Assuming there are no errors or exceptions, it should be up ready to receive a session. After that, go back to your terminal window and run arc (from the same directory asappium.txt). This is the execution command for the Appium Ruby Console. It will take the caps from appium.txt and launch the app by connecting it to the Appium server. When it's done you will have an emulator window of your app that you can interact with as well as an interactive command-prompt for Appium.

Outro

Now that we have our test app up and running, it's time to interrogate our app and learn how to interact with it.

About Dave Haeffner: Dave is a recent Appium convert and the author of Elemental Selenium (a free, once weekly Selenium tip newsletter that is read by thousands of testing professionals) as well as The Selenium Guidebook (a step-by-step guide on how to use Selenium Successfully). He is also the creator and maintainer of ChemistryKit (an open-source Selenium framework). He has helped numerous companies successfully implement automated acceptance testing; including The Motley Fool, ManTech International, Sittercity, and Animoto. He is a founder and co-organizer of the Selenium Hangout and has spoken at numerous conferences and meetups about acceptance testing. Follow Dave on Twitter - @tourdedave

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