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Mobile Test Automation Framework with Appium Inspector GUI for Android Applications

Project description

The Mobile Test Automation Framework (MTAF) supports end-to-end regression tests of web and Android applications. It provides unit test and Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) test case organization using a Python Page Object Model architecture. User interaction with the application under test (AUT) is simulated using Selenium Webdriver (for web applications) and the Appium Python Client (for Android applications). Support for iOS (also using Appium) is planned for future development.

The first release of the MTAF includes only the MTAF Inspector, a tool to help test programmers create automated tests that use Appium to interact with Android applications. The remaining framework components will be included once they have been refactored for general release.

MTAF Inspector creates a graphical user interface (GUI) to capture application screenshots and calculate unique partial xpaths for displayed elements. The resulting xpaths are converted to an abbreviated format called “zpath” to make them shorter (Android xpaths can be quite long).

The user can select elements individually with a mouse click, or click and drag a selection rectangle on the displayed screenshot to narrow down the list of partial zpaths shown on the screen. Resource ID’s are also displayed, but some elements won’t have one, and a resource ID may not represent a unique element on the screenshot.

Clicking on an ID or xpath will outline the corresponding element(s) on the screenshot, and copy the ID or zpath value to the main GUI.

The main GUI can use Appium to find elements matching the ID or zpath value, and show information about the elements.


MTAF Inspector:
  • Graphical tool to assist in designing end-to-end tests on Android devices

  • Works with Android device emulators, or Android devices via USB connection

  • Interactively determines valid locators for screen elements, for use with Appium

  • When no Appium server is present, grabs screenshots and xml using adb

  • When used with Appium server, finds and manipulates visible screen elements

  • Records Appium interactions in a log file

  • Loads plugins to extend menus, zpaths and GUI elements for specific applications (see for examples)

MTAF Library Modules (Python):
  • ADB

    For using ADB from Python, the pyand ( ADB module is included (which avoids the problem of “pip install” not recognizing modules hosted on github)

  • selenium_actions

    Defines SeleniumActions class for using Selenium methods

  • android_actions

    Defines AndroidActions class for using Appium Python Client methods

  • ios_actions (future)

    Defines IosActions class for using Appium Python Client methods

  • android_zpath

    Defines abbreviations used to convert Android xpaths to zpaths, a short format that makes working with locators a lot easier

  • ios_zpath (future)

    Defines abbreviations used to convert iOS xpaths to zpaths


    Filter functions used to narrow down lists of screen elements returned by the Appium Python Client search methods

  • mtaf_logging

    Wrapper for Pythonmtaf_logging

  • prune_logs

    Utility to limit number and/or age of timestamped logs retained

  • trace

    Decorators formtaf_logging method calls and return values

  • user_exception

    Defines UserException class for graceful exception handling in test code

  • softphone (future)

    Creates and manages SIP softphones to make and receive calls for testing devices that support voice calls

Page Object Model (future):
  • Each visible view (called a “page”) displayed by an application under test has a Python class which contains locators for that page, and methods to be called while that page is displayed

  • Locators for visible elements on the page are given names that convey the element’s function

  • Each page class represents a separate namespace for locator names, so that names can be re-used on other pages without conflict

  • Test steps are generally implemented by calling methods belonging to the current page’s class, and these methods obtain locators from the locator namespace belonging to their class

  • Pages can inherit from a common base page class when they share common elements and functionality; in this case, methods and locators are inherited from the base class unless overridden in the current page class

Python Unit Test (future):
  • Test suite classes are structured using the Python unittest module conventions

  • Custommtaf_logging, and method call tracing using decorators

Python Feature Test (future):
  • Uses the Python “behave” framework

  • Tests are written in “feature” files, using Gherkin BDD language

  • Feature files describe tests in feature/scenario/step format, using “plain language” phrases to describe user interaction with the application

  • Test step phrases are implemented in Python

  • Test results are saved in a MongoDB database and available for review using a web browser

Report Single Page Application (future):
  • AngularJS application displays test results saved by Python Feature Test

Running Inspector

When running “pip install mtaf”, a command-line executable named “mtaf-inspector” is installed in a directory that depends on the system configuration: - (Darwin) /usr/local/bin - (Linux) /usr/local/bin - (Linux with virtualenv) <virtualenv directory>/<virtualenv name>/bin - (Windows) C:Python<version>Scripts - (Windows with virtualenv) C:Users<user name>Envs<virtualenv name>Scripts

The mtaf-inspector executable can be run if the following requirements are met:

  • adb can be found on the current path

  • Python and Tkinter are installed on the local machine

  • an Appium server is running on the local machine (optional)

  • the script has permission to write in the temporary files directory (default value is ‘MtafInspector’ in /tmp (Linux or Darwin) or %TEMP% (Windows)

  • Alternatively, inspector can be run from a Python script with these two lines:

    from mtaf.inspector import start

MTAF Inspector presents a GUI with these components (from top to bottom):

  • a menu bar with drop-down menus for both Appium and ADB operations

  • buttons and other controls for performing various operations that require Appium

  • a input field for entering arbitrary Python commands that will be run in the global context when the “exec” button is clicked

  • a scrolling text window that displays captured standard output

  • a scrolling text window that displays recorded commands

  • a bar with “screenshot” and “quit” buttons

The buttons and controls requiring Appium, along with the Appium drop-down menu, are disabled until Appium is started. To start Appium, run an Appium server instance on the local machine, and click “Start Appium” on the menu bar.

Click the “screenshot” button to capture a screenshot and the xml representation of the current display. This does not require Appium to be started, since Inspector will use ADB if Appium has not been started. Inspector will display the screenshot, and a column of minimum unique relative zpaths for each element on the display; these are translated by MTAF methods into the shortest xpaths that Appium can use to find that individual element. Some elements may have resource id’s, which will be displayed in a separate column. Clicking a resource id will highlight one or more elements on the screenshot (preloading the “find element” locator field in the main GUI), and corresponding zpaths will be highlighted. Clicking a zpath will highlight one element (highlighting the corresponding resource ID if the element has one) and preload the zpath into the “find element” locator field.


Options settings can be placed in a YAML configuration file or included on the command line.

The YAML format for options with string values is:

<option name>: <option value>

without quotes.

For options with dictionary values (see “zpath_tags_new” and “zpath_tags_all”, below) the format is:

<option name>:
    <attribute name>: <value>
    <attribute name>: <value>

String-valued configuration options can be set on the command line using this format:

<option name>=<option value>

without quotes or spaces. An option set on the command line will override an option with the same name in the configuration file.

This is the list of possible command-line options:

option                long format                description
-------------------   -------------------------  -------------------------------------------------------
-h                    --help                     print usage and exit
-c <file path>        --config_file              configuration file path (default: ./config.yml)
-p <directory path>   --plugin_dir               prepended to sys.path for locating inspector_plugins module
-d                    --debug                    print configuration
-s                    --show_configuration_only  print configuration and exit
<option>=<value>                                 set configuration options with string values

Possible configuration options include:

option             format      description
-----------------  ----------  ------------------------------------------------------------
tmp_dir                        directory for saving temporary files
log_window_height              text height of "standard output" and "recorded text" windows
plugin_dir                     path to directory containing "inspector_plugins" directory
zpath_tags_new     dictionary  zpaths (abbreviated minimal xpaths) to be added to the built-in list
zpath_tags_all     dictionary  zpaths to replace the built-in list

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