Appium Bootcamp – Chapter 5: Writing and Refactoring Your Tests

Posted by Bill McGee in AppiumBest Practices

This is the fifth 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 fifth of eight posts; two new posts will be released each week.

Now that we've identified some test actions in our apps, let's put them to work by wiring them up in code.

We'll start with the iOS app and then move onto Android. But first, we'll need to do a quick bit of setup.

Quick Setup

Since we're setting up our test code from scratch, we'll need to make sure we have the necessary gems installed -- and done so in a way that is repeatable (which will come in handy for other team members and for use with Continuous Integration).

In Ruby, this is easy to do with Bundler. With it you can specify a list of gems and their versions to install and update from for your project.

Install Bundler by running gem install bundler from the command-line and then create a file called Gemfile with the following contents:

# filename: Gemfile

source 'https://rubygems.org'

gem 'rspec', '~> 3.0.0' gem 'appium_lib', '~> 4.0.0' gem 'appium_console', '~> 1.0.1'

After creating the Gemfile run bundle install. This will make sure rspec (our testing framework), appium_lib (the Appium Ruby bindings), and appium_console (our interactive test console) are installed and ready for use in this directory.

Capabilities

In order to run our tests, we will need to specify the capabilities of our app. We can either do this in our test code, or we can leverage the appium.txt files we used for the Appium Console.

Let's do the latter approach. But first, we'll want to create two new folders; one for Android and another for iOS. Once they're created, let's place each of the appium.txt files into their respective folders.

├── Gemfile
├── Gemfile.lock
├── android
│   └── appium.txt
└── ios
    └── appium.txt

Be sure to update the app capability in your appium.txt files if you're using a relative path.

Writing Your First Test

With our initial setup taken care of, let's create our first test file (a.k.a. "spec" in RSpec). The test actions we identified in the previous post were focused on navigation in the app. So let's call this spec file navigation_spec.rband place it in the ios folder.

├── Gemfile
├── Gemfile.lock
├── android
│   └── appium.txt
└── ios
    └── appium.txt
    └── navigation_spec.rb

Now let's write our test to launch Appium for iOS and perform a simple navigation test.

In RSpec, describe denotes the beginning of a test file, whereas it denotes a test. So what we have is a test file with a single test in it.

In this test file, we are starting our Appium session before each test (e.g., before(:each)) and ending it after each test (e.g., after(:each)). More specifically, in before(:each), we are finding the path to the iOSappium.txt file and then loading it. After that we start the Appium session and promote the Appium commands so they will be available for use within our test. We then issue driver_quit in after(:each) to cleanly end the Appium session. This is equivalent to submitting an x command in the Appium console.

The commands in our test (it 'First cell' do) should look familiar from the last post. We're finding the first cell, grabbing it's title, click on the cell, and then looking to see if the title appeared on the inner screen.

After saving this file, let's change directories into the ios folder (e.g., cd ios), and run the test (assuming your Appium Server is running -- if not, load up the Appum GUI and click Launch) with rspec navigation_spec.rb. When it's running, you will see the iOS simulator launch, load up the test app, click the first cell, and then close.

This is a good start, but we can clean this code up a bit by leveraging some simple page objects and a central configuration.

A Page Objects Primer

Automated tests can quickly become brittle and hard to maintain. This is largely due to the fact that we are testing functionality that will constantly change. In order to combat this, we can use page objects.

Page Objects are simple objects that model the behavior of an application. So rather than writing your tests directly against your app, you can write them against these objects. This will make your test code more reusable, maintainable, and easier to fix when the app changes.

You can learn more about page objects here and here.

Refactoring Your First Test

Let's create a new directory called pages within our ios directory and create two new files in it: home.rb and inner_screen.rb. And while we're at it, let's create a new folder to store our test files (called spec -- which is a folder RSpec will know to look for at run time) and move our navigation_spec.rb into it.

├── Gemfile
├── Gemfile.lock
├── android
│   └── appium.txt
└── ios
    ├── appium.txt
    ├── pages
    │   ├── home.rb
    │   └── inner_screen.rb
    └── spec
        ├── navigation_spec.rb

Let's open up ios/pages/home.rb to create our first page object.

 

# filename: ios/pages/home.rb

module Pages module Home class << self

  def first_cell
    @found_cell = wait { text 2 }
    self
  end

  def title
    @found_cell.name.split(',').first
  end

  def click
    @found_cell.click
  end

end

end end

module Kernel def home Pages::Home end end

Since the Appium commands are getting promoted for use (instead of passing around a driver object), storing our page objects in a module is a cleaner approach (rather than keeping them in a class that we would need to instantiate).

To create the Home module we first wrap it in another module called Pages. This helps prevent any namespace collisions as well simplify the promotion of Appium methods.

In Home, we've created some simple static methods to mimic the behavior of the home screen (e.g., first_celltitleclick). By storing the found cell in an instance variable (e.g., @found_cell) and returning self, we will be able to chain these methods together in our test (e.g., first_cell.title). And in order to cleanly reference the page object in our test, we've made the home method available globally (which references this module).

Now let's open up ios/pages/inner_screen.rb and create our second page object.

# filename: pages/inner_screen.rb

module Pages module InnerScreen class << self

  def has_text(text)
    wait { text_exact text }
  end

end

end end

module Kernel def inner_screen Pages::InnerScreen end end

This is the same structure as our previous page object. In it, we're performing an exact text search.

Let's go ahead and update our test to use these page objects.

# filename: ios/spec/navigation_spec.rb

require 'appium_lib' require_relative '../pages/home' require_relative '../pages/inner_screen'

describe 'Home Screen Navigation' do

before(:each) do appium_txt = File.join(Dir.pwd, 'appium.txt') caps = Appium.load_appium_txt file: appium_txt Appium::Driver.new(caps).start_driver Appium.promote_appium_methods RSpec::Core::ExampleGroup Appium.promote_singleton_appium_methods Pages end

after(:each) do driver_quit end

it 'First cell' do cell_title = home.first_cell.title home.first_cell.click inner_screen.has_text cell_title end

end

We first require the page objects (note the use of require_relative at the top of the file). We then promote the Appium methods to our page objects (e.g., Appium.promote_singleton_appium_methods Pages). Lastly, we update our test.

Now when we run our test from within the ios directory (e.g., cd ios then rspec) then it will run just the same as it did before.

Now the test is more readable and in better shape. But there is still some refactoring to do to round things out. Let's pull our test setup out of this test file and into a central config that we will be able to leverage for both iOS and Android.

Central Config

In RSpec, we can configure our test suite from a central location. This is typically done in a file called spec_helper.rb. Let's create a folder called common in the root of our project and add a spec_helper.rb file to it.

├── Gemfile
├── Gemfile.lock
├── android
│   └── appium.txt
├── common
│   └── spec_helper.rb
└── ios
    ├── appium.txt
    ├── pages
    │   ├── home.rb
    │   └── inner_screen.rb
    └── spec
        ├── navigation_spec.rb

Let's open up common/spec_helper.rb, add our test setup to it, and polish it up.

 

# filename: common/spec_helper.rb

require 'rspec' require 'appium_lib'

def setup_driver return if $driver caps = Appium.load_appium_txt file: File.join(Dir.pwd, 'appium.txt') Appium::Driver.new caps end

def promote_methods Appium.promote_singleton_appium_methods Pages Appium.promote_appium_methods RSpec::Core::ExampleGroup end

setup_driver promote_methods

RSpec.configure do |config|

config.before(:each) do $driver.start_driver end

config.after(:each) do driver_quit end

end

After requiring our requisite libraries, we've created a couple of methods that get executed when the file is loaded. One is to setup (but not start) Appium and another is to promote the methods to our page objects and tests. This approach is taken to make sure that only one instance of Appium is loaded at any one time.

We then configure our test actions so they run before and after each test. In them we are starting an Appium session and then ending it.

In order to use this central config, we will need to require it (and remove the unnecessary bits) in our test.

# filename: ios/spec/navigation_spec.rb

require_relative '../pages/home' require_relative '../pages/inner_screen' require_relative '../../common/spec_helper'

describe 'Home Screen Navigation' do

it 'First cell' do cell_title = home.first_cell.title home.first_cell.click inner_screen.has_text cell_title end

end

Note the order of the require_relative statements -- they are important. We need to load our page objects before we can load our spec_helper, or else the test won't run.

If we run the tests from within the ios directory with rspec, we can see everything execute just like it did before.

Now that we have iOS covered, let's wire up an Android test, some page objects, and make sure our test code to supports both devices.

Including Android

It's worth noting that in your real world apps you may be able to have a single set of tests and segmented page objects to help make things run seamlessly behind the scenes for both devices. And while the behavior in our Android test app is similar to our iOS test app, it's design is different enough that we'll need to create a separate test and page objects.

Let's start by creating spec and pages folders within the android directory and then creating page objects in pages (e.g., home.rb and inner_screen.rb) and a test file in spec (e.g., navigation_spec.rb).

├── Gemfile
├── Gemfile.lock
├── android
│   ├── appium.txt
│   ├── pages
│   │   ├── home.rb
│   │   └── inner_screen.rb
│   └── spec
│       ├── navigation_spec.rb
├── common
│   └── spec_helper.rb
└── ios
    ├── appium.txt
    ├── pages
    │   ├── home.rb
    │   └── inner_screen.rb
    └── spec
        ├── navigation_spec.rb

Now let's open and populate our page objects and test file.

module Pages
  module Home
    class << self
  def first_cell
    @found_cell = wait { text 2 }
    self
  end

  def click
    @found_cell.click
  end

end

end end

module Kernel def home Pages::Home end end

This page object is similar to the iOS one except there's no title search (since we won't be needing it).

module Pages
  module InnerScreen
    class << self
  def has_text(text)
    wait { find_exact text }
  end

end

end end

module Kernel def inner_screen Pages::InnerScreen end end

In this page object we're performing a search for an element by text (similar to the iOS example), but using find_exact instead of text_exact because of how the app is designed (we need to perform a broader search that will search across multiple attributes, not just the text attribute). Now let's wire up our test.

require_relative '../pages/home'
require_relative '../pages/inner_screen'
require_relative '../../common/spec_helper'

describe 'Home Screen Navigation' do

it 'First cell' do home.first_cell.click inner_screen.has_text 'Accessibility Node Provider' end

end

Now if we cd into the android directory and run our test with rspec it should launch the Android emulator, load the app, click the first cell, and then end the session. The emulator will remain open, but that's something we'll address in a future post.

One More Thing

If we use the console with the code that we have right now, we won't be able to reference the page objects we've created -- which will be a bit of a pain if we want to reference them when debugging test failures. Let's fix that.

Let's create a new file in our android/spec and ios/spec directories called requires.rb. We'll move our require statements out of our test files and into these files instead.

├── Gemfile
├── Gemfile.lock
├── android
│   ├── appium.txt
│   ├── pages
│   │   ├── home.rb
│   │   └── inner_screen.rb
│   └── spec
│       ├── navigation_spec.rb
│       └── requires.rb
├── common
│   └── spec_helper.rb
└── ios
    ├── appium.txt
    ├── pages
    │   ├── home.rb
    │   └── inner_screen.rb
    └── spec
        ├── navigation_spec.rb
        └── requires.rb

Here's what one of them should look like:

# filename: ios/spec/requires.rb

require the ios pages

require_relative '../pages/home' require_relative '../pages/inner_screen'

setup rspec

require_relative '../../common/spec_helper'

Next, we'll want to update our tests to use this file.

require_relative 'requires'

describe 'Home Screen Navigation' do

it 'First cell' do cell_title = home.first_cell.title home.first_cell.click inner_screen.has_text cell_title end

end

filename: android/spec/navigation_spec.rb

require_relative 'requires'

describe 'Home Screen Navigation' do

it 'First cell' do home.first_cell.click inner_screen.has_text 'Accessibility Node Provider' end

end

Now that we have a central requires.rb for each device, we can tell the Appium Console to use it. To do that, we'll need to add some additional info to our appium.txt files.

 

# filename: ios/appium.txt

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

[appium_lib] require = ["./spec/requires.rb"]

filename: android/appium.txt

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

[appium_lib] require = ["./spec/requires.rb"]

This new require value is only used by the Appium Console. Now if we run arc from either the ios or android directories, we'll be able to access the page objects just like in our tests.

And if we run our tests from either directory, they will still work as directed.

Outro

Now that we have our tests, page objects, and central configuration all sorted, it's time to look at wrapping our test execution and make it so we can run our tests in the cloud.

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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