Toggle between iOS application during AUT


     According to one recent report, smartphone users use on average 9 apps per day, and 30 apps per month. Many apps today provide value by integrating with other aspects of the mobile phone experience, even if it’s just as simple as taking photos using the device’s camera. Testing of multi-app integrations with iOS has been challenging, because Apple’s automation model allowed automation only so long as the AUT was running. The second you switched to another app to automate another part of your user flow, the automation would die. Thankfully, with Appium’s XCUITest driver (available with iOS 9.3+), we’re no longer limited to this kind of sandbox.

     There are so many kinds of multi-app flows we could experiment with, but let’s imagine a scenario involving the camera. Let’s say your app allows the user to take photos, and modifies them in some way before finally saving them to the system-wide photo library (the Camera Roll). One key verification for testing your app will be ensuring that, after performing the necessary steps in your app, the photo is newly available in the Camera Roll album of the Photos app.

     This is all possible to encode into your Appium scripts using two handy commands: mobile:launchApp and mobile:activateApp. We know that the launchApp before, in the Appium. activateApp is just the same, only the app must already have been launched; activateApp merely brings it back to the foreground. Here are examples of how we’d use these commands, by incorporating the Bundle IDs of the apps we’re dealing with (having these Bundle IDs available is a pre-requisite),

// launch the photos app (with the special bundle id seen below)
HashMap<String, Object> args = new HashMap<>();
args.put(“bundleId”, “”);
driver.executeScript(“mobile: launchApp“, args);

// re-activate that AUT (in this case The App)
args.put(“bundleId”, “io.cloudgrey.the-app”);
driver.executeScript(“mobile: activateApp“, args);

      I believe this is so simple with Appium we can really pretend we are a user and do all the things a user would do in order to check the appropriate conditions. And chances are, you have a different requirement than verifying photo saving. So the thing to take away is the principle of using mobile: launchApp and mobile: activateApp. What’s nice is that this particular strategy will work not only for simulators but also for real devices.

Try to use this logic of switch applications during your iOS Appium automation.

Reference: Appium Pro

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File download with headless automation


      In selenium headless automation, we had a scenario to download a file and verify the file content. We tried with chrome browser as headless for execution but failed to download the file into a respective path mentioned in the ChromeOptions via setExperimentalOption. 

     Finally, we derived a solution to download the file into respective path when the application under headless execution. We used to send the Page.setDownloadBehavior value as a request. This request needs to execute after the headless driver instantiation. Following is the sample code snippet which helped us to solve the file download issue under headless automation execution,

String dowloadPath = “directory path to your file to download”;

System.setProperty(“”, “path to chromedriver.exe”);

ChromeOptions options = new ChromeOptions();
ChromeDriverService driverService = ChromeDriverService.createDefaultService();
ChromeDriver driver = new ChromeDriver(driverService, options);

Map<String, Object> commandParams = new HashMap<>();
commandParams.put(“cmd”, “Page.setDownloadBehavior”);
Map<String, String> params = new HashMap<>();
params.put(“behavior”, “allow”);
params.put(“downloadPath”, dowloadPath);
commandParams.put(“params”, params);
ObjectMapper objectMapper = new ObjectMapper();
HttpClient httpClient = HttpClientBuilder.create().build();
String command = objectMapper.writeValueAsString(commandParams);
String u = driverService.getUrl().toString() + “/session/” + driver.getSessionId() + “/chromium/send_command”;
HttpPost request = new HttpPost(u);
request.addHeader(“content-type”, “application/json”);
request.setEntity(new StringEntity(command));

     Try to use the above code snippet if you are facing the file download issue during headless automation execution.

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Pick the Right Locator Strategy during Mobile Automation


   Here focus just on the selector strategies provided by Appium for native iOS and Android testing using the UiAutomator2 and XCUITest drivers.  Here’s prioritized list of locator strategies:

  1. accessibility id
  2. id
  3. XPath
  4. Class name
  5. Locators interpreted by the underlying automation frameworks, such as: -android uiautomator, -ios predicate string, -ios class chain
  6. -image

1. accessibility id
This is the top choice should surprise nobody. If you have the option of using accessibility IDs, use them. Normally an app developer needs to add these specifically to UI elements in the code. The major benefit of accessibility IDs over just the id locator strategy is that while app developers add these IDs for testing, users with handicaps or accessibility issues benefit. People who use screen readers or other devices, and algorithms which inspect UIs, can better navigate your application. On Android, this locator strategy uses the accessibility contentDescription property. On iOS, this locator strategy uses the accessibility identifier. Here’s something surprising: in the XCUITest driver, the accessibility idid, and name locator strategies are all identical.

  They are implemented the same way. Go ahead and try switching your locator strategies, you will get the same results. This may change in the future, but for now you can find an element using the name or text in it because iOS has many ways in which it sets a default accessibility identifier if one is not provided by the developer.

2. id
Element IDs need to be added by a developer, but they allow us to pinpoint the exact element in the app we care about, even if the UI changes appearance. The drawback is you need to be able to talk to your developers. Many testing teams do not have this luxury.

   This locator strategy is pretty similar to accessibility id except that you don’t get the added benefit of accessibility. As noted above, on iOS, this is actually identical to accessibility id. On Android, the id locator strategy is implemented using Resource IDs. These are usually added to UI elements manually by app developers, though are not required, so many app developers will omit them if they don’t think they’re important.

3. XPath
Now this is contentious. XPath is the most expressive and commonly accepted locator strategy. Despite Appium developers warning against XPath’s low performance for years, it still seems to be the most popularly used locator strategy. This is probably because there are many selections that can’t easily be made any other way. For example, there’s no way to select the parent of an element using the simple id selectors. The benefit of being able to express more complicated queries must outweigh the cost to performance for all but the testers whose apps have such large XML element hierarchies that XPath is completely unusable.

     XPath selectors can be very brittle, but they can be responsibly wielded to great effect. Being intentional and carefully picking selectors rather than taking whatever an inspector provides can mitigate the brittleness.

    I think part of the popularity of XPath stems from its use with Selenium and web development, as well as it being the default of many tutorials and inspection tools. When working on Appium I always expected our XPath handling to break more often, but I remember few bugs, probably the benefit open source XPath libraries built for more generalized use.

    The Android OS provides a useful dumpWindowHierarchy which gives us an XML document of all the elements on the screen. From there we apply the XPath query and find elements.

    iOS does not supply a method of getting the entire hierarchy. Appium’s implementation starts at the root application element and recurses through each element’s children and populates and XML document which we can then apply the XPath query to. I still think XPath is unintuitive, especially for those new to programming, but at least it’s a well-accepted industry standard.

4. -android uiautomator, -ios predicate string or -ios class chain
These are the “native” locator strategies because they are provided by Appium as a means of creating selectors in the native automation frameworks supported by the device. These locator strategies have many fans, who love the fine-grained expression and great performance (equally or just slightly less performance than accessibility id or id).

    These locator strategies are crucial for those who have UIs which escape the grasp of the other locator strategies or have an element tree which is too large to allow the use of XPath. In my view, they have several drawbacks. These native locator strategies require a more detailed understanding of the underlying automation frameworks. Uiautomator and XCUITest can be hard to use, especially for those less familiar with Android and iOS specifics. These locator strategies are not cross platform, and knowing the ins-and-outs of both iOS and Android is challenging.

   In addition, the selectors passed to these native locator strategies are not directly evaluated by the mobile OS. Java, Kotlin, Objective C and Swift all lack an eval function which would allow interpreting a string of text as code. When you send an android uiautomator selector to Appium, the text passes through a very simplistic parser and uses Reflection to reconstruct the objects referenced in the text. Because of this, small mistakes in syntax can throw off the entire selector and only the most common methods are supported. This system is unreliable and often encounters difficult bugs.

    If Android or iOS change the testing classes in new updates, your selectors might need to be updated. Using XPath, Appium will keep track of the OS updates and your selectors should keep working.

    A personal quibble I have with these locator strategies is that you are essentially writing a different programming language (such as Java) inside of a string in your test code. Your text editor will not offer syntax highlighting or semantic analysis inside of these queries which makes them harder to maintain. On the other hand, sometimes there’s just no other way, and for those who are proficient in these methods XPath can seem clumsy in comparison.

5. -image
This locator strategy is pretty nifty. Supported on all platforms and drivers, you can pass an image file to Appium and it will try to locate the matching elements on the screen. This supports fuzzy matching, and certainly has its applications, but you should only use it when the other locator strategies aren’t working. It may not always behave deterministically, which mean it can be a source of test flakiness. Also, unless you have a special code editor, they may be a little more difficult to work with and maintain. Of course, visual UI changes will always break -image selectors, whereas the other selectors only break when the element hierarchy changes.

Reference: Appium Pro

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Automating Voice Commands With Siri


     It’s very common with modern mobile devices to rely on virtual “assistants” to get tasks done, whether in a hands-free situation utilizing voice commands, or just to save the trouble of tapping out search queries. On iOS these interactions take place through the Siri interface.

Hey Siri

     How on earth would you test this aspect of your app’s behavior? Ideally you’d be able to have a recording of the particular voice command or phrase used to trigger your app’s Siri integration, which you could then somehow apply to the simulator or device under test. This is not currently possible, outside of rigging up some speakers!

     Fortunately, Appium has recently added a command (as of Appium 1.10.0), that lets you specify the text you want Siri to parse, as if it had been spoken by a person.

The command itself is accessible via the executeScript “mobile” interface:

HashMap<String, String> args = new HashMap<>();
args.put(“text”, “Hey Siri, what’s happening?”);
driver.executeScript(“mobile: siriCommand”, args);

     Essentially, we construct an options hash with our desired text string, and pass it to the siriCommand “mobile” method. We can run this command at any point in our automation, and it will take care of getting to the Siri prompt for us as well (we don’t need to long-hold the home button).

     At this point we can use the typical native automation methods to verify Siri’s response on the screen, tap on action items, etc…

     That’s basically it! There’s not much to it. So let’s have a look at a full example that asks Siri a math question (What’s two plus two?) and verifies the result (notice how the result text shows up as accessibility IDs, which found by looking at the page source).

public void testSiriTalk() {
HashMap<String, String> args = new HashMap<>();
args.put(“text”, “What’s two plus two?”);
driver.executeScript(“mobile: siriCommand“, args);
wait.until(ExpectedConditions.presenceOfElementLocated(MobileBy.AccessibilityId(“2 + 2 =”)));

     You have to use java-client version as 6.1.0 and Appium server version as 1.10.0. Try to use above sample test case to see what exactly automating voice command with Siri.

Reference: Appium Pro

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Extract ZIP and Verify Data in Excel while Automation


     I have a requirement to unzip and verify data in excel file while automation. Following code (especially the function extractZIPAndVerifyDataInExcel(String zipFilePath, String sheetName, String columnName,String valueToVerify)) will explain how to do unzip and verify the data in excel:

 * Verify data in excel after unzip the file
 * @author sanojs
 * @since 30-August-2018
 * @param zipFilePath
 * @param sheetName
 * @param columnName
 * @param valueToVerify
 * @return
 * @throws IOException
public static boolean extractZIPAndVerifyDataInExcel(String zipFilePath, String sheetName, String columnName,
String valueToVerify) throws IOException {
boolean dataFound = false;
ArrayList<String> list = new ArrayList<String>();
InputStream in = null;
XSSFWorkbook wb = null;
String filePath = unZip(zipFilePath, System.getProperty(“user.home”) + “\\Downloads\\”);
try {
if (filePath == null || filePath.trim().equals(“”))
System.out.println(“Excel file path missing”);
if (filePath.endsWith(“.xlsx”) || filePath.endsWith(“.xls”)) {
in = new FileInputStream(filePath);
wb = new XSSFWorkbook(in);
} else {
System.out.println(“Please pass valid Excel file path”);
int index = wb.getSheetIndex(sheetName);
if (index == -1)
System.out.println(“Invalid sheet name”);
XSSFSheet mySheet = wb.getSheetAt(index);
Iterator<Row> rowIter = mySheet.rowIterator();
Row row;
Cell cell;
int columnIndex = 0;
boolean hasColumn = false;
if (rowIter.hasNext()) {
row = (Row);
Iterator<Cell> cellItreator = row.cellIterator();
while (cellItreator.hasNext()) {
Cell nextCell =;
if (nextCell.getStringCellValue() != null && nextCell.getStringCellValue().equals(columnName)) {
hasColumn = true;
columnIndex = nextCell.getColumnIndex();
if (hasColumn) {
while (rowIter.hasNext()) {
row = (Row);
cell = row.getCell(columnIndex);
if (cell != null) {
if (cell.getCellType() == Cell.CELL_TYPE_STRING)
else if (cell.getCellType() == Cell.CELL_TYPE_NUMERIC) {
list.add(cell.getNumericCellValue() + “”);
} else if (cell.getCellType() == Cell.CELL_TYPE_FORMULA)
list.add(cell.getNumericCellValue() + “”);
if (list.contains(valueToVerify)) {
dataFound = true;
} else
System.out.println(“Invalid Column name”);
} catch (Exception e) {
} finally {
try {
} catch (Exception e) {
return dataFound;
 * Extracts a zip file specified by the zipFilePath to a directory specified by
 * destDirectory (will be created if does not exists)
 * @author sanojs
 * @since 30-August-2018
 * @param zipFilePath
 * @param destDirectory
 * @throws IOException
private static String unZip(String zipFilePath, String destDirectory) throws IOException {
String filePath = null;
File destDir = new File(destDirectory);
if (!destDir.exists()) {
ZipInputStream zipIn = new ZipInputStream(new FileInputStream(zipFilePath));
ZipEntry entry = zipIn.getNextEntry();
while (entry != null) {
filePath = destDirectory + File.separator + entry.getName();
if (!entry.isDirectory()) {
extractFile(zipIn, filePath);
} else {
File dir = new File(filePath);
entry = zipIn.getNextEntry();
return filePath;
 * Extracts a zip entry (file entry)
 * @author sanojs
 * @since 30-August-2018
 * @param zipIn
 * @param filePath
 * @throws IOException
private static void extractFile(ZipInputStream zipIn, String filePath) throws IOException {
BufferedOutputStream bos = new BufferedOutputStream(new FileOutputStream(filePath));
byte[] bytesIn = new byte[4096];
int read = 0;
while ((read = != -1) {
bos.write(bytesIn, 0, read);
Please try the above code snippet in your automation execution if  you have the same kind of requirement to verify the data in excel after extract the zip file.
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