Appium Framework Pros and Cons: What The Future Might Look Like
Many teams use the Appium framework for testing. Here we cover what the Appium framework is — and pros and cons of using it.
What Is the Appium Framework?
The Appium framework is an open source test automation framework. Many mobile testing teams use the Appium framework for Android and iOS.
Is Appium a Tool or Framework?
Appium is a framework you can use for testing mobile applications. It drives Android and iOS apps using a WebDriver. You can pair it with other testing tools.
Appium Framework Pros
Here's what's great about Appium.
Strong, Active Open Source Community
Appium is by far the leading open-source test framework for cross-platform(mobile) native test automation (iOS, Android).
Plus, Appium is consistently backed by a large, very dynamic community, with steady support, commits, etc.
Support For End-to-End Testing in Multiple Languages
And Appium can cover black box end-to-end test flows including outside-the-app scenarios (e.g., initiating a call, sending a text message).
Cons: Challenges in Appium Automation
Here are some challenges in Appium automation.
Setting Appium Up Locally Can Be a Challenge
Teams are required to download, install and configure their environment. This means having a local Android and iOS device available and connected.
Working With App Objects Is Difficult
Working with app objects for both iOS and Android isn’t easy, and falls into the top testing challenges coming from practitioners.
The Appium framework relies on iOS XCUITest and Espresso Android (UI automation framework). This means that users needs to be familiar with the object structure. And they need to know how to use the Appium object spy correctly.
Slow Test Execution
Tests can be slow due to the remote webdriver dependency, network issues, and processing commands.
Test Framework Stability
Stability issues can occur when executing through CI or at scale and in parallel.
Test Automation Coverage
Being able to fully cover gestural inputs, environment conditions, device settings and more, as well as support immediately latest Beta and GA versions of iOS and Android. Community supported solutions frequently move slower than handset vendor/mobile OS innovations.
Mobile Automation Framework Using Appium
A mobile automation framework using Appium does differ from other frameworks. And despite Appium's leadership today, DevOps teams are also adopting Espresso and XCUITest.
Compare XCUITest vs. Appium vs. Espresso for your mobile automation framework.
The Future of the Appium Test Framework
My testing framework intuition tells me that:
- Appium will share more of the testing framework market with Espresso and XCUITest.
- Functional testing using Espresso/XCUITest will become part of commit-triggered built-testing.
- Full end-to-end testing using Appium will be leveraged during full regression testing.
- Appium stability will improve and execution times will shrink — it will get better & faster!
- Hybrid test execution will become supported. Appium scripts will be able to trigger embedded Espresso/XCITests.
When to Use Appium Framework for Testing
Appium is great! It’s got:
- A strong open source community
- Outstanding support for a number of programming languages
- The ability to handle end-to-end test flows
Appium is weak:
- In test performance and stability
- In keeping up with the latest OS features (e.g. gestural)
- In setup time
XCUITest and Espresso are also leading the market with strong user bases and helps fill in the gaps where Appium falls short — so keep an eye out for those other tools!
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Frameworks like Appium are great for getting started with mobile test automation. But they can't do it all.
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