Deconstruction of the Appium Architecture

Deconstruction of the Appium Architecture
Deconstruction of the Appium Architecture

The advent of Appium was just like a “dream come true” for many software testers. It reduced the execution time and effort required by the application developers for testing exponentially. It allows us to run tests parallelly on the multiple platforms using a single code-base.

To get familiarised with the basics and the working of Appium on Android and iOS, you can refer our previous article on ‘What is Appium and how it works?’.

Competition exists in every field; we have several other automation tools like Selenium and Robotium available in the technology zone. To pick out the correct testing machine according to your requirement is necessary, so in order to assist you in making your decision, we have brought a thorough comparison of Appium, Selenium and Robotium in front of you.

Appium Vs Selenium

Build Strategy
It was developed using NodeJS as an HTTP Server. Installation of NodeJS by the users is a prerequisite to initialise and use Appium server. Conversely, Selenium was designed to perform automated tests for websites and web applications by manipulating browser actions automatically.

Platforms Supported
Both Appium and Selenium are automated testing frameworks that are cross-platform. Selenium supports the major desktop browsers and operating systems for web application testing. But, the former comes with an additional perk; it can support Windows along with the significant mobile platforms like iOS and Android.

Number of Programming languages supported
Selenium supports a long queue of programming languages, namely: Java, PHP, JavaScript, Python, Ruby and C#. Hence, it enables developers to write the test scripts in multiple programming languages. Appium includes all the programming languages supported by the Selenium Client Library. But on the brighter side, Appium has the ability to write the test scripts automatically.

Use Cases Available
Selenium is primarily devised for the automated testing of web applications. However, it can be employed to automate web services and API test and even mobile app testing. On the other hand, Appium is a platform-independent automation tool that comes with exclusive features for automated mobile application testing. It comes with very high flexibility and can run tests on a vast chain of apps weather native, mobile web, or hybrid.

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Appium Vs Robotium

Platforms Supported
The prime difference between Appium and Robotium is that Appium is a cross-platform automated testing tool, while Robotium is compatible only with Android SDK. Robotium can be referred to as the “king for testing Android apps”, as it allows the testing of a vast chain of versions and subversions of the Google mobile operating system. Conversely, Appium is compatible with iOS and Firefox OS along with Android so that it can test the same API on multiple platforms. Appium doesn’t require modification or recompilation of the application while testing.

Use Cases Available
Appium is more extensive when it comes to the evaluation of mobile websites across web browsers like Google Chrome and Safari on mobile devices. It can be used to run automated tests on web apps, along with native and hybrid mobile applications. In contrast, Robotium can be used for evaluating native as well as hybrid mobile applications for Android.

Number of Programming languages supported
Robotium is specially designed for Android Application Testing. Hence it restricts the testers to write the test cases in Java only. It doesn’t provide alternate programming language options to the user and makes the access impossible for non-java users. Appium was devised with a vision of providing multiple options to the user with respect to programming languages, so that he may choose the most compatible language for writing the test cases. For instance, WebDriver-compatible languages, including Java, PHP, C#, Ruby, Python, Perl, Objective-C, Clojure and JavaScript with Node.js.

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The table below gives you a head-to-head comparison of the three popular testing tools: Appium, Selendroid and Robotium.

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How to install Appium with Android Studio?
The primary task for learning Appium is installing it; many developers face issues in software installation as the sequence is sometimes incorrect.

Step One: Download the following software in your system:

  • Android Studio, the latest version recommended
  • Appium Client Library, the latest version
  • Appium Server
  • Appium Jar files for Java
  • Required Java Plugins

Step Two: Install Java on your system and carefully set the environment variables!
Step Three: Install Android Studio on your system by giving the necessary permissions and create a new android project.

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Step Four: Extract the client library compatible with Appium. Store them separately in a file along with the Appium jar files in your system.
Step Five: Toggle to the “project view” in the Android Studio.

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Step Six: Now select the files that you have extracted in step four and place them in the library folder under the application directory. After that, select them all and append them as libraries.

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Step Seven: Once you have added the client files as a library, locate the ” build.gradle” file in the “app” module. Double click on that and rebuild your project. Once the “build successful” message is displayed on the log, it means that your Appium library has been successfully installed. In case of any sequential errors, the error and its cause will be displayed in the log, try to debug it.

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After you have successfully executed the above mentioned seven steps, you are done with Appium Installation; if you want to install Appium by using the command-line interface, you may refer to our previous article.

Benefits of working with Appium:

  • Appium is an open-source automated testing tool; i.e., it is available for free.
  • It can be easily installed and added to the Android SDK by following the above-mentioned steps.
  • It allows parallel automated testing of hybrid, native, and web applications using a sharable codebase.
  • Only a single API needs to be created for Android, iOS, and Windows operating systems.
    Unlike other automated testing tools, we don’t need to add any supplementary plugins to make Appium automated.
  • It runs a test on the particular app that is going to be uploaded in the App Store.
  • Additionally, it also supports desktop and mobile application testing for windows also.
  • All the complexities of Appium’s cross-functionality are present in the Appium server and are abstracted from the developer so that his automation experience is uniform for both Android and iOS.
  • Common tests are run for all the three supporting platforms. i.e., windows, Android, and iOS, so the overall time taken for testing the application is by a factor which is equal to the “number of platforms.”
  • Contradictory to the other testing tools, it doesn’t require any extra plugins to make it automation-friendly; it comes with an in-built package.
  • It encompasses the concept of testing the same application that is going to be published on the App Store; no provisional apps are required.

The demand for Appium is tremendously increasing in the WebDriver community for automated testing of mobile applications; hence it has a very dense and active community. It is also supported by the Sauce Labs.

Challenges  faced by developers while using Appium:

  • No detailed error reports are published.
  • Since the tests rely on a remote web driver, their execution time is very high.
  • In the case of Android, Appium uses a UI Automator which is compatible with the Android SDK, API level 16 or higher only. However, with the help of certain additional plugins, it tends to support certain older APIs also. Particularly, it needs another open-source library known as Selendroid to support the classical APIs. This can be considered as an overhead configuration.
  • Setting up Appium locally is a challenge for many developers.
  • Usually, an application involves interaction with the device’s microphone, camera pr NFC chip. These interactions require thorough testing, but unfortunately, Appium doesn’t support the testing of these features.
  • Appium needs to be connected to several third-party report-generating systems. These as a process consume a lot of developer’s time, and ultimately the end-reports generated are also inconsistent and prone to the system crashes. This leads to the need for installing Appium Studio, which heroically changes the picture by making the testing process much easier and smoother. This leads to faster execution and delivery of the application.

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By Vanshika Singolia