Locating Elements in Mobile Apps using Appium
Mobile app testing has become increasingly important with the rising usage of mobile devices. Appium is an open-source tool that automates testing of mobile applications on various platforms. One of the most critical aspects of mobile app testing is locating elements. In this article, we’ll discuss how to locate elements in mobile apps using Appium.
Introduction – Understanding Appium
Appium is similar to selenium for mobile applications, in place of web applications in desktop browsers. It is an open-source test automation framework driving iOS and Android native, mobile, and hybrid apps with the help of WebDriver protocol, or Selenium API. It is based on the client-server architecture and is used for both native and hybrid applications. Appium is compatible with multiple programming languages like Java, C#, Ruby, and Python.
Nowadays users are shifting to mobile devices, because of which developers and testers are taking advantage of the functions provided by Appium. Appium plays an important role as it responds differently to web design, mobile operating systems and browsers render applications like different browsers. The native, mobile, and hybrid apps are functioning separately to serve various different purposes. They have different processes for design, development, and testing requirements.
Types of Locators in Appium
Locating specific elements is essential before automating test scenarios for web and mobile apps. Knowing how to use different locators correctly is key to building efficient automation scripts. After all, if the test script cannot identify which element it needs to interact with, the test will fail before it can begin.
Appium uses different types of locators to find elements in a mobile application. These include:
- Class Name
- Accessibility ID
- Android UI Automator
- Android View Tag (Espresso Only)
- iOS UI Automation
Each type of locator has its own syntax and method for finding elements, and the choice of locator depends on the type of element and the platform being used. By understanding the different types of locators and their best practices, testers can efficiently locate elements and ensure the smooth functioning of the mobile application. The ID locator is the most preferred due to its speed and reliability, while Xpath is a powerful locator that allows testers to traverse the entire page structure. Accessibility ID is useful for making the application accessible to people with disabilities, and Name and Class Name locators are also available. Overall, a solid understanding of the types of locators in Appium is essential for any mobile app tester.
Finding Elements by ID
ID is a unique identifier assigned to every element in the mobile application. It is the most preferred locator in Appium, as it is fast and reliable. We can use the find_element_by_id method to locate the element using its ID.
Finding Elements by ID is a commonly used method for locating elements in a mobile application. The ID is a unique identifier assigned to each element, making it a fast and reliable way to locate elements in the application. Using the “find_element_by_id” method, testers can efficiently locate elements by their unique identifier. This method is especially useful for mobile applications that have a large number of elements as it can save time and reduce the likelihood of errors. However, it is important to ensure that the ID is unique and consistent throughout the application. By understanding and utilizing the Finding Elements by ID method, testers can improve their efficiency and accuracy in mobile app testing.
Finding Elements by Xpath
Xpath in Appium analyzes the XML structure of the app and then locates the element. Xpath should only be used when there is no ID, Name, or accessibility ID assigned to a specific UI element. Although XPath allows for the formulation of complex queries, using XPath is not recommended because it has stability and performance issues. One can easily find the Xpath using the Appium Desktop Inspector while inspecting the XML structure of the application.
Finding Elements by Xpath is a powerful method for locating elements in a mobile application. Xpath is a path used to locate elements in an XML document, and it allows testers to traverse the entire page structure. This method is useful when the element’s ID is not available or is not unique, or when a tester needs to navigate through a complex page structure to locate an element. Testers can use the “find_element_by_xpath” method to locate elements by their Xpath.
However, it is important to use a well-constructed Xpath that is optimized for performance and is not too brittle. Testers must also be familiar with the structure of the application’s XML document to use this method effectively. By understanding and utilizing the Finding Elements by Xpath method, testers can locate even the most complex elements in a mobile application.
Finding Elements by Accessibility ID
Accessibility ID in Appium is a highly preferred locator strategy, especially when automating Android and iOS test cases. Developers can explicitly set the Accessibility ID during development. As Accessibility ID can be used for cross-platform automation, the code becomes reusable. For iOS, the default Accessibility ID is set to the name of the UI element. For Android, the value of Accessibility is same as the value of the attribute “content-desc”.
Finding Elements by Accessibility ID is a method for locating elements in a mobile application that are marked with a unique identifier for making the application accessible to people with disabilities. This method is useful for ensuring that an application is accessible and compliant with accessibility standards. Testers can use the “find_element_by_accessibility_id” method to locate elements by their Accessibility ID.
This method is also useful when the element’s ID is not available or when the tester needs to locate an element that is not visible on the screen. However, not all elements in an application have an Accessibility ID, and testers must ensure that the Accessibility ID is consistent and unique throughout the application. By understanding and utilizing the Finding Elements by Accessibility ID method, testers can ensure that an application is accessible and compliant with accessibility standards.
Finding Elements by Name
Finding Elements by Name is a method for locating elements in a mobile application by their name. The “name” attribute is assigned to an element in the application, and it is a useful identifier for locating elements that do not have a unique ID or accessibility identifier. Testers can use the “find_element_by_name” method to locate elements by their name. This method is useful for testing mobile applications with non-unique elements, such as buttons or text fields that have the same function or label.
However, it is important to ensure that the name attribute is consistent and descriptive of the element’s function or purpose. By understanding and utilizing the Finding Elements by Name method, testers can efficiently locate elements in a mobile application that do not have a unique identifier.
Finding Elements by Class Name
Using Class Name for searching an element is a very generic method. This is because multiple elements may have the same class name, creating a problem finding a particular component. Thus, one needs to use a combination of various attributes, for example, combining text with the class name to identify the element.
For iOS, Class Name is represented as the full name of the XCUI element and begins with XCUIElementType. For example – UIAButton, UIARadioButton
In the case of Android, the Class Name is called out as the full name of the UIAutomator2 class. For example – android.widget.TextView
Class Name is a unique identifier assigned to a class of elements in the mobile application. We can use the find_element_by_class_name method to locate the element using its Class Name.
Locating elements in a mobile application is a crucial aspect of mobile app testing. Appium provides various types of locators to find elements in a mobile application, including ID, Name, Class Name, Xpath, and Accessibility ID. Each of these locators has its own syntax, and the choice of locator depends on the type of element and the platform being used. By using the appropriate locator, you can efficiently locate the elements and ensure the smooth functioning of the mobile application.