Appium is one of the most popular test automation tools—and for good reason. Its open-source, cross-platform framework provides testers with flexibility and a rich range of features to create an effective suite of tests. However, the same features that make it so well-liked amongst the developer community also make it more challenging for other organizations to adopt. While open-source solutions can be a flexible, ideal option for some organizations, others may find it to be a poor fit for their needs. So what else is out there? Join us in taking a deep dive into both Appium and a variety of Appium alternatives.
What is Appium?
Appium is an open-source tool for test automation of native, mobile, and hybrid applications for iOS and Android. With Appium, developers can write tests in a variety of programming languages like Java, Ruby, and C#.
Using the WebDriver protocol, Appium works by interacting with an application’s user interface to communicate with that application to perform clicks, swipes, enter text—or any other common actions and validate against an expected result.
Appium can be integrated with other testing tools, such as Selenium, to create comprehensive test suites for mobile applications.
A brief history of Appium
Former SauceLabs employee Dan Cuellar created Appium in 2011. Cuellar aimed to provide a simple, open-source tool for automating mobile application testing that could be used across multiple platforms. SauceLabs purchased Appium and donated it to the JS Foundation.
Over the years, Appium has become a popular choice for mobile test automation, with a large and active community of users and contributors. Many companies and organizations have adopted Appium for testing mobile apps, and Appium has seen frequent updates and improvements along the way.
However, while popular, Appium has its share of downsides. These issues aren’t unique to Appium, but rather they’re similar to issues faced by other tools that rely on WebDriver. For example, Appium may be slower than other testing tools because it relies on the protocol, which adds an extra layer of communication between the test script and the application.
As your mobile app changes with new features, updates, and iterations, so will your tests. Appium requires regular maintenance and updates to keep up with mobile platforms and devices changes. And for those responsible for maintaining the test suite, this can be exhausting.
Setting up Appium can also be prove to be a complex affair, especially for users new to test automation. It requires installing and configuring various dependencies, such as the Appium server, the Android SDK, and the iOS SDK, which can be time-consuming and challenging for some users.
List of Appium alternatives
Fortunately, there are plenty of other fish in the sea. If you’re looking to explore Appium alternatives, here are some options:
Espresso is an open-source testing framework developed by Google for Android applications. It’s one of the most popular among Appium alternatives listed here. Designed to be lightweight and easy to use, it supports both native and hybrid applications. Espresso is native to Android, so for many developers on the platform, it’s a familiar tool.
By using simple API commands, even Java beginners can quickly write powerful test automation. These commands include:
- ViewMatchers: ViewMatchers functions match any view present on the UI. Matchers can match a view by its unique ID, or by way of a variety of match criteria that developers can specify.
- ViewActions: ViewActions perform actions on a given element. Using easy-to-understand functions like click(), swipeleft (), typeText(), doubleClick(). Anything you can do with a keyboard and mouse, you can perform through Java using ViewActions.
- ViewAssertions: These assertions can check if the view contains a string, is positioned a certain way or behaves as expected. Assertions are what determine if the test is passing or failing.
Robotium is a popular open-source testing tool known for quality and reliability among android developers. It is a powerful tool that can be used to automate a wide range of testing scenarios, including functional, integration, and regression testing. Robotium can be used to test both native and hybrid apps.
With Robotium, you can write tests in Java and run them on real devices or emulators and make commands using a simple API to interact with the application. Like many tools, you can also run tests in parallel.
Testers enjoy the extensive documentation from Robotium’s generous community support as well.
EarlGrey is a test automation framework developed by Google for testing iOS apps. It uses a gray box testing approach, allowing it to access the internal implementation details of the app being tested. This allows EarlyGrey to perform more advanced testing tasks, such as verifying the state of an app after a specific action is taken.
EarlGrey automatically synchronizes with the UI, network requests, and other external events, ensuring that tests remain stable and reliable. It also allows you to schedule the execution of test actions, creating complex and interactive tests.
This framework also includes features such as concurrent test execution and the ability to capture screenshots during test execution, which can help debug and visualize test results.
Calabash allows developers and testers to write tests in a human-readable language called Gherkin (yes, like the small cucumbers), which makes it easier to understand and maintain test cases.
It’s well suited for most testing use cases and also supports a wide range of programming languages like Java, C#, and Python.
Developed by Apple in 2015, XCUITest is an open-source test automation framework for iOS. Feature-rich, Apple designed XCUITest to make it easy to write and run tests for iOS apps.
XCUITest is based on the XCTest framework and is designed to work with the Xcode development environment. It allows developers and testers to write tests in Swift or Objective-C.
Sofy: A different option among Appium alternatives
All of these frameworks are great for creating a well-rounded testing strategy—that is, if you’ve got the resources and the extra time. Each of these options requires a specific programming language expertise and maintenance overhead.
That’s why organizations are switching to no-code solutions like Sofy. Sofy allows you to automate your iOS or Android mobile tests all without interacting with code. Just grab a real device, perform a manual test, and automate it.
You can even run the test across hundreds of real devices at your fingertip with Sofy’s Real Device Lab. With the help of machine learning, Sofy recommends changes to your existing code base as your application changes.
Find out why others are joining the no-code revolution—try Sofy today for free.
While Appium is regarded as one of the best test automation platforms available today, there are plenty of competitors in its space, all boasting rich features like concurrent testing, a simple API framework, and cross-platform capabilities. However, like most open-source platforms, it comes with its challenges. Namely, the lack of accessibility and added technical debt that comes with a code-based tool.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed above are those of the contributor and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official beliefs or positions of Sofy.