86: Dan Cuellar: Creator of Appium – How to Test Mobile Apps

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Appium – How to Test Mobile Apps

Appium is a cross-platform, open-source, mobile UI automation framework. It allows you to write UI tests for your mobile apps, Android iOS and some other OSs.

In today’s episode we’ll be talking with the creator of Appium, Dan Cuellar. Discover why Dan developed Appium and how it can help you create mobile-based automation awesomeness.

About Dan


Dan Cuellar is the creator of the open source mobile automation framework Appium, and Head of Testing at Foodit. 
 Previously, he headed the test organizations Shazam Entertainment in London and Zoosk in San Francisco, and worked as a software engineer on Microsoft Outlook for Mac, and other products in the Microsoft Office suite.

He is an advocate of open source technologies and technical software testing. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, with a minor in Music Technology, from the world-renowned School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh..

Quotes & Insights from this Test Talk

  • Appium is a cross-platform mobile UI automation framework. It allows you to write UI tests for your mobile apps, for Android iOS, and some other OSs. Maybe Windows phone, soon, we can talk about that later. And, it lets you write it using the Selenium JSON writer you know and love from web automation.
  • I think about a year ago, Appium passed out Robotium and then Calabash was also a big player for a while as well. So it seems like finally only about a year ago, that started to happen. Then there was a big month we had where Amazon came on board, and Zameron came on board, and Perfecto, and it was just like one week where five or six big players all decided to put Appium in their clouds. That was like a huge win. So when you see big companies like that, and then there's some people at Microsoft actually working right now on getting Appium support built into the mobile operating system at the moment. So you're seeing like all these big companies start to support it now, and that's…yeah, I definitely think we've hit that point where it's tipped a bit.
  • The way you can think about Appium is it's just a server that runs, and it listens to our HTTP requests, just like any other server. And all the language binding is in C#, the Python, the Ruby, the whatever. All they do is just send web requests to this server, and so because we use the same protocol as Selenium, we were able to steal all their code. Not steal it, you know it's re-purposed and re-use, and share all their language bindings that people had built up over the years for PHP and all these Pearl and all these weird languages. Since we talk the same protocol over HTTP, their bindings can just talk to us and we can talk back to them. That's how it works with all of them, with little effort. It's just that Appium, it's a Javascript app. It runs in NodeJs, and it sits there, and it just listens for whatever requests. And then, we already have the Selenium clients that could send those kinds of web requests, and we just hooked them in.
  • Appium 1.5 includes an iOS implementation which does not use UI automation Javascript but rather uses the new Swift XC UI tests library. So we are future proof going forward, so we will continue to work with versions of Xcode that do continue to support UI automation Javascript. And, 1.5, which is currently in the latter stages of beta should be out any minute or day now or something. Supports XC UI test, and it supports some other things that, yeah, we're covered. Don't worry. You won't be having to switch frameworks in five months whenever Xcode 8 comes out.
  • In the end of the day, the guy who came up with the thing everyone uses now, this wasn't developed by Elon Musk, or some of his brainiacs over in a secret bunker in New Mexico, or whatever. I was just a guy that was tired of losing money and getting yelled at by my boss, because stuff kept breaking.
  • Read the release notes, because we're always tweaking stuff and making it better. A lot of times, that knowledge doesn't get out any other way. We do releases almost every two weeks, I feel like at this point. Yeah, I would say, read the release notes. There's good stuff in there. It will also prevent, we get the same bugs logged over, and over, and over again. I think we have eight hundred bugs right now in the Appium repository.

[tweet_box design=”box_3″] 1.5 includes an iOS implementation which doesn't use UI automation but rather uses the new Swift XC UI tests library [/tweet_box]


Connect with Dan

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