How Does Appium Work?

During the early years of application development, the developers only had to provide stability for the apps on the desktop platform. This is because it was the only platform to access the Internet and use multiple apps.

However, with the advancement of technology, portability has become one of the most critical factors in people’s lives. So various other mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have come into the market.

The major benefit of these devices is that they provide a desktop-like performance while being able to fit in the users’ pockets. The popularity of these devices can be easily understood because mobile devices control more than 52% of Internet traffic.

So modern app development companies must provide proper mobile support. Appium is an excellent framework for verifying the performance of mobile apps.

With this article, we will help the developers to understand the various processes to test the performance of the mobile application with Appium. We will also understand how different tools and platforms can help the developers in this process.

Understanding the Diversity of the Mobile Market

To understand the role of modern testing in the mobile app development process, the developers need to have a definite idea about the diversity of the mobile market. This is because thousands of mobile devices come on the market every year.

Three of the most important mobile platforms include Android, iOS, and Windows. The developers can’t generalize the testing process with the help of only a few devices. This is because all these platforms differ in resolution, screen size, features, and even hardware.

So, it is one of the essential processes for the developers to ensure that the apps are not only functional based on mobile specifications but also stand up to the expectation of device-specific unique features.

This is also one of the major reasons why many experts stress the importance of real device testing while executing mobile test cases.

This is because, with the help of these test cases, the developers can verify the application’s performance based on a device’s physical parameters. These parameters include user interaction error, broken display, and low bandwidth connection.

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Understanding the Basics of Appium

To understand the working process of Appium, the developers must have a clear concept of the basic structure of the Appium system. In simple terms, it is an open-source automation framework that helps developers to automate test cases for mobile applications.

While working with Appium, the developers can generate mobile automation test cases for platforms like iOS and Android. Using this framework, the developers can also access the web driver protocol to control mobile applications.

The advantage of this process is that it allows the application developers to execute the test cases in the native environment of a mobile device. By executing the automation test cases in the native environment, app developers can massively improve the accuracy of the test results.

Since Appium is an open-source framework, all individual creators and small companies can access its features without worrying about licensing fees or other expenses.

Moreover, the open-source framework has given rise to a community of tech lovers who are always ready to help with new covers whenever they are stuck. This community also helps to improve overall testing satisfaction while using Appium.

How does Appium Work

The developers need to be aware of the working mechanism of Appium to utilize its full potential. For the simplicity of the new developers, we have divided this entire process into several small steps. Based on our research and understanding, the working mechanism of Appium is as follows:

  • The first step in the Appium working process comes from the Appium server. This is because Appium consists of a server component that will run on the tester’s machine or the cloud-based platform as per the requirements. The server listens to the test scripts and relays the commands to the target mobile devices. In simple terms, the Appium server is responsible for initiating and redirecting the test cases to the target elements.
  • The next step in this process will require the developers to enter the desired capabilities for the test execution process. These capabilities will include the parameters like target platform, app activity name, app package, and other essential settings. These parameters are responsible for controlling the test cases. Before initiating the testing process, the developers must conduct awareness and survey programs to have a clear idea about the requirements of the target audience. This will help them to customize these parameters and remove any compatibility issues.
  • After this process, the Appium server would establish a connection with the mobile device or the emulator software that the company is using. This connection can be established through Wi-Fi, USB, or any other supported method. In this regard, we advise the companies to avoid simulation or emulation software as they cannot replicate the physical behavior of a device. Thus, the developers may not receive accurate test reports while using these devices.
  • To successfully establish the connection with the mobile device, Appium will start executing the automation test script. The developers can write this test script in their preferred programming languages, like Ruby, Java, and Python. The system will send commands to the Appium server to perform the actions specified in the test script. These actions will be performed on the mobile application and might include specific communications like button clicking, scrolling, or filling out forms. In simple terms, with the help of these test scripts, the developers can understand the user interactivity capabilities of the app undergoing the development process.
  • To communicate with the elements of an application, Appium first needs to identify these elements. For the identification process, Appium uses a Unique identifier. This identifier allows it to communicate and control the elements of an app. The identifier can use various attributes like XPath, name, ID, and many others. The unique identifier of Appium also allows it to automatically move on to the next element of a web application with the progress of the test case. This is a very innovative feature that massively helps to remove the excessive human involvement in the test case execution process.
  • Finally, Appium will execute the test scripts on the application undergoing development. During the test script execution process, Appium will provide real-time feedback about the application’s behavior. This report will consist of vital parameters like performance metrics, response time, and error messages. This will help the developers to properly conduct the debugging process that will follow soon after the test case execution process. These metrics will also allow the application developers to understand how the app behaves to various user interactions or device specifications. This feature also allows the app developers to maintain an activity log for the application testing process.

Based on all the factors we discussed above, Appium is a powerful and flexible framework that allows developers to execute advanced test cases on modern mobile apps. All of these features combined allow the developers to verify and monitor the performance of modern mobile apps on multiple platforms and devices.

Integrating tools and Platforms with Appium Test Cases

Integrating test automation with mobile application development can be confusing, especially for new developers. However, various platforms and tools readily available can assist developers.

Moreover, with these platforms, the developers can access additional features to improve the application quality while developing. We can consider the example of modern cloud platforms that help developers to remove the mobile test lab from the development process.

These test labs are usually used for verifying the physical features of the application based on multiple devices. However, the developers can conduct similar test results on remote servers with cloud platforms. With remote servers, the testers can also access legacy devices that are impossible to have physically in the Test lab.

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Another significant advantage of cloud testing is that it removes all the location-based obstacles from the application testing process. This is because, with these platforms, the developers can initiate and execute automation test cases from anywhere in the world.

We can learn and improve our knowledge about the influence of cloud testing in the modern industry by bringing in LambdaTest as our discussion point:

The latest app development community considers cross-browser testing the new benchmark for ensuring the best end-user experience on complex web apps.

This is because, with the help of cross-browser test cases, the developers can guarantee the application’s usability irrespective of the user’s change in browser version, operating system, or the complete device hardware.

For general awareness, we can introduce LambdaTest as a modern cloud-based digital experience testing platform to execute cross-browser test cases on web apps.

This platform also has various useful features like parallel test execution to uplift the usefulness of the test cases. LambdaTest can test cases from well-known test frameworks and suites like Selenium, Cypress, and Playwright.

While working with mobile apps, LambdaTest allows the developers to verify their performance on real devices on the cloud.

While working with Selenium test cases, LambdaTest can run it on more than three thousand simultaneous modern browsers.

This platform is also an excellent choice for verifying the performance of web pages that have a local host and are used by a company for its internal operation. Lastly, combining real devices with thousands of emulation software massively improves the dependability of the test results. 

Conclusion

Since automation testing and mobile app development are gaining popularity in the coming years, developers and testers need a clear idea about these technologies.

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Moreover, app developers and experts also believe that automation testing will successfully dominate the entire app market in the coming years. In this regard, the testers and developers must keep their knowledge and information updated regarding this segment’s new additions.

It will help them to continue improving the test cycles to maintain their company’s position in this competitive part of the industry. In this regard, we would also like to mention that app companies have a crucial role in spreading the required knowledge and awareness regarding healthy automation testing practices.

Lastly, the developers need to choose the correct tool that can complement their development practices.