Discover the power of Appium, an open-source mobile app testing tool revolutionizing the way companies approach mobile app testing.

Appium Test Automation for Native, Hybrid, and Web Apps: What You Need to Know

Appium is an open-source automation tool used in mobile app testing for running scripts and testing native, hybrid, and web applications. It supports all the native, hybrid, and web apps in a mobile app testing process. So, in mobile app testing, Appium becomes a handy tool for companies and testers to have more excellent coverage on their mobile app tests. For high maintenance of the test automation procedures across all the different platforms, testers often go for the Appium automation tool.

This article will give readers insights into how Appium test automation works for native, hybrid, and web apps during mobile app testing.

A deep dive into app types

Here are some of the critical points that must be made aware of about native, hybrid, and web apps.

Native Apps:

Native apps are mobile applications designed to run on a specific platform. The mobile platform can be both iOS and Android. These apps are usually built with the help of platform-specific programming languages.

The platform-specific programming language may include Objective-C, Java, or Kotlin. Native apps utilize every feature the device offers and its operating systems. They easily get mended with device features like the camera, accelerometer, etc.

The Apple and Google Play stores are the app stores used to distribute the native iOS and native Android apps, respectively.  Both app stores have exhaustive approval processes to recheck the application's security, reliability, and quality.

Mobile web applications:

Mobile applications are built to run on mobile devices. The mobile devices may include smartphones and tablets. They are developed using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They can be accessed via web browsers. They are easily accessible across different mobile platforms, and any changes or updates will quickly reflect on the server side. This reduces the need for users to download updates.

To access mobile web applications, the user should simply enter the relevant URL into a mobile browser, and there is no need for them to do anything with the installation from the app store. Mobile web applications are always easy to use and maintain. Responsiveness and a capability to accommodate the layout and functionality changes of the mobile devices are expected from the mobile app applications.

Hybrid applications:

Hybrid apps are a combination of native applications and web applications. Though generally web-based, they are packaged and deployed as native applications. They, too, are built using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Hybrid applications seek the support of web technologies to build their ability to interact with users and develop a rich user interface. Hybrid apps are bonded within a native wrapper, allowing them to be distributed and installed like native apps.

Hybrid applications are known for offering the advantage of cross-platform development. They permit developers to use web technologies to build code and then deploy it on various platforms. The major challenge in hybrid applications is their inability to be fully efficient for graphic-intensive functionalities. Also, they depend on the web view component to render the web content.

Appium test automation for various platforms

Appium has evolved as the best mobile app testing tool in recent years due to its cross-platform compatibility. However, several cloud testing tools work similarly to Appium. Cloud testing tools offer testing environments and infrastructures in the cloud. They permit the developers and testers to have their tests done on a cloud testing platform with high scalability, reducing the extensive in-house hardware and infrastructure. One such platform is LambdaTest.

LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration platform that facilitates manual and automated testing across 3000+ environments. Its comprehensive features include real device cloud and automation testing capabilities, providing a robust cross-platform and cross-browser testing solution.

This part of the article explains how Appium is related to native, hybrid, and web apps and what the points are that must be pondered to bring out an optimal test execution.

Native apps and Appium:

During mobile app testing, Appium uses the WebDriver protocol to interact with the UI elements of native apps. The WebDriver protocol specifies a collection of RESTful HTTP APIs that allow client libraries and browsers to talk to each other. It can also be described as a standardized protocol for automating web browsers and mobile devices.

Appium allows the tester to build a single set of test scripts that can be used for both iOS and Android platforms. This feature can be referred to as cross-platform compatibility. The interaction with native app UI elements, such as tapping buttons, swiping, entering texts, and finding the locations of the UI components, is easily implemented by Appium during the mobile app testing processes.

 Here are some important considerations when implementing efficient mobile app testing using Appium on native apps.

  • Check the version of the Appium server before executing the mobile app testing process. The server version should be highly compatible with the test automation. In case of doubts about the version, the testers must go through the documentation of the latest stable version and clear their queries.
  • The configurations must be set correctly. The platform name, either iOS or Android, device name, package name, app path, and app activity are the capabilities that must be set according to the requirements.
  • The app that will be up for testing must be installed on the emulator devices before the Appium session is started. Locators with high efficacy must be chosen for detecting the UI elements.
  • The native app must be tested on various devices and screen sizes with the help of the Appium tool. This will spotlight all the potential errors and pave the way for the testers to rectify them.
  • Testers must regularly update the Appium dependencies so the testing process gets elevated from the developers' new bug fixes, features, and updates.
  • Wait strategies, data handling algorithms, and parallel execution are all essential implementations that can be considered to improve the performance of the testing process.

Web apps and Appium:

Appium uses the WebDriver protocol for mobile web applications, too. The test scripts that Appium supports can perform multiple actions on mobile web apps during the testing process. The actions include filling out forms, clicking links, and more. With Appium, testers can switch between different contexts that enable interaction with web elements. This is referred to as context switching. And it is very crucial for places where the mobile app changes between web-based and native components.

Here are some important considerations when implementing efficient mobile app testing using Appium on web apps.

  • The mobile web apps do not require any installation. They can be simply accessed through mobile web browsers like Chrome, Edge, or Firefox. So, they are known as platform-independent apps.
  • As Appium uses WebDriver protocols to automate web browsers, standard commands must be configured for proper and accurate automation.
  • Before the mobile app testing process commences, the browsers' configurations must be set correctly.
  • The testers must be well prepared to handle pop-ups and alerts that might appear during the testing process. The WebDriver Alert interface can also correctly manage any JavaScript alerts.
  • The massive data must be managed with high caution within the web application. The testers must decide beforehand if there is any need to pre-populate the data in the application or if the tests must create the required data on the fly.
  • Regularly check for browser updates and make the necessary changes. This ensures the application stays compatible with all browser versions, including the latest one.
  • The web application must be tested across browsers to ensure reliability and compatibility. The potential issues noted from such testing can be left to the testers for further introspection.

Hybrid apps and Appium:

As hybrid apps combine native and web applications, they come up with extra complex functionalities and unique, significant features. Appium supports mobile app testing for hybrid apps with optimal context switching between native and web contexts. The tool also supports parallel execution of hybrid apps, which is difficult for complex applications. Some additional features must be considered while enabling Appium for hybrid apps to bring out optimal performance in hybrid applications.

 Here are some important considerations when implementing efficient mobile app testing using Appium on hybrid apps.

  • The desired configurations must be specified before testing has started. The specifications include the platform name, app path, app activity, and package name. The names of the browsers must also be specified correctly.
  • Accurate Appium commands and locators must be used to make the tool interact with the native elements within the app.
  • Alerts and pop-ups must be handled well by the testers. They may tend to appear in both native and web contexts. The Web driver alert interface can be set for native and web context alert handling processes.
  • The performance of the web view components must be monitored from time to time. Parameters like page load times and responsiveness must be checked regularly.
  • A single set of test scripts must be able to adapt to both native and web contexts. They should run on both the iOS and Android platforms.
  • Like native and web apps, hybrid apps also need efficient data handling. This also includes the pre-populating of data. It is essential to identify data scenarios to detect all the valid and invalid inputs, boundary cases, and edge cases. The interaction of the web application and the database must be designed properly to ensure the database is ready before each test.
  • All the security measures must be ensured before putting the hybrid app into the mobile app testing process.

Wrapping it up:

Appium supports many features more than what has been discussed earlier in this article. It provides reports and logs for every action during the test execution. It also allows integration with CI servers such as Jenkins, Travis CI, and others. Testing frameworks like JUnit, TestNG, and more can be amended with Appium for systematic and organized test execution processes.  Graphical user interface tools like Appium Inspector help in providing information about the app’s structure to detect the required elements. The Appium community is always open for learners and seekers to learn about automation testing and finding solutions. For an elegant and better-unified approach to automation in mobile testing, Appium is the way.