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How to Use Appium Inspector For Easy Mobile Object Identification

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mobile Labs' new built-in Appium Inspector for deviceConnect enables enterprise mobility teams to skip installing the Appium Desktop for easy object identification when writing Appium test scripts.

At Mobile Labs, we are committed to helping enterprise mobility professionals better manage mobile app testing and device management. As part of this journey, we have taken strides to make our internal mobile device cloud, deviceConnect™ Appium ready. Our goal is to make Appium accessible and easy to use for mobile developers, testers and quality assurance professionals who want to leverage this open-source tool for automated testing.

As our next step in achieving this goal, we are pleased to announce the launch of Appium Inspector. We are currently offering a public preview of this new feature to our customers and so far, we have received great feedback.

Want to learn more? Check out the information and screenshots below to get a crash course on Appium Inspector and its role in making testing with Appium easier than ever.

The Basics: What is Appium Inspector?

Appium Inspector is a new built-in feature that is an extension of deviceConnect’s built-in Appium server. This tool enables mobile testers to easily identify objects in mobile apps or on websites running in a mobile browser when writing Appium test scripts. Appium Inspector makes object identification easy by providing the necessary attributes required to write an Appium test script, such as ID name, text, location, etc., through a simple mouse click on the object in the mobile app or website that requires testing. Appium Inspector can be accessed from the deviceViewer in our mobile device cloud, deviceConnect.

Appium Inspector works with the following:

  • iOS: Native and Hybrid apps, Web (Safari)
  • Android: Native and Hybrid apps, Web (Chrome)

Object Identification Made Easy – How it Works

To best understand how Appium Inspector works, below are two examples of how this tool can be leveraged for object identification when writing an Appium test script for a mobile app or for a website running in a mobile browser.

Example #1: Object Identification with Appium Inspector for a Native Mobile App
Device: iPhone 8+

Step #1:
Open the Appium Tab on the right-hand side of the screen in deviceViewer. Click "application" to launch Appium Inspector for a mobile app.

Step #2:
Select the required app for writing an Appium mobile test script in deviceConnect.

Step #3:
Using Appium Inspector, testers can easily identify the object and variables needed to write an Appium mobile test script, as shown below.

Example #2: Object Identification with Appium Inspector for a Website in a Mobile Browser
Device: Samsung Galaxy S7

Step #1:
Open the Appium Tab on the right-hand side of the screen in deviceViewer. Click "Chrome browser" to launch Appium Inspector for a website viewed in a mobile browser, Then, navigate to the required URL in the browser.

Step #2:

Click the object on the web page in the mobile browser to see its attributes

to write an Appium mobile test script. In the screenshot below, note that the

search bar in the mobile browser is highlighted in blue. In the middle of the screen,

the same object is highlighted in blue, with the attributes for the selected

object (search bar) appearing on the right-hand side of the screen.

By leveraging a tool like Appium Inspector, enterprise mobility professionals can avoid installing the Appium Desktop app on a computer to identify objects when writing test scripts. As a built-in feature of deviceConnect, mobile testing and quality assurance teams can easily start using Appium Inspector to identify objects to write test scripts. Without Appium Inspector, writing Appium scripts would be a more cumbersome process due to having to download and reference the Appium Desktop application.

With deviceConnect, leveraging Appium is a seamless experience. Enterprise mobility teams can easily get set up and begin writing test scripts quickly and efficiently.

Besides making it easier to write Appium test scripts with easy object identification, Appium Inspector plays an important role in making it easier to leverage Appium for enterprise mobility teams. Here is a look at the 3 primary benefits that Appium Inspector provides for testers and quality assurance teams.

3 Benefits of Leveraging Appium Inspector

#1: Avoid Installing Appium Software

As current users of Appium can attest, it is not easy to get started with Appium. To begin testing with Appium, enterprise mobility teams must install Appium Desktop on all workstations used for testing. Not only is this a lengthy process, but it is also a costly one in relation to time and resources that busy teams must allocate to getting prepared for Appium.

But, by using deviceConnect, testers and quality assurance professionals get the benefit of accessing many devices that are easy to manage online from one platform that is Appium ready. Appium support, by being built-in to deviceConnect, provides a seamless experience to start using Appium for automated testing.

Mobile testers can quickly get started writing and running Appium tests, whether simple scripts or parallel tests, easier than teams who must set up Appium Desktop on-site without any support or help from Appium experts.

#2: Remote Device Access – No Tethers

At Mobile Labs, we believe in testing on real mobile devices. Our philosophy has always been that testing on real devices is the only way that testers and quality assurance professionals can really understand the actual user experience. In addition, when writing mobile test scripts using Appium Inspector for easy object identification, it is important to note that these tests will be performed on real mobile devices. This gives an even stronger reason that teams will want to leverage real iOS and Android devices for testing.

Traditionally, when mobile testers and quality assurance teams leverage Appium, the devices are tethered through the Appium Desktop. Because deviceConnect features built-in Appium support, the devices do not have to be tethered. Instead, each device can point to the Mobile Labs deviceConnect environment to run Appium tests quickly bypassing several time-consuming tasks required by Appium Desktop.

With the built-in Appium server and with Appium Inspector, testers avoid using emulators and/or simulators for testing by writing and running Appium test scripts on real devices.

It is also important to note that by leveraging deviceConnect with Appium support, enterprise mobility teams can also write and run tests on Windows machines. The Appium iOS server requirements can be skipped with deviceConnect.

#3: Get Web Objects

Because Appium Inspector helps testers easily identify objects when writing Appium test scripts, it is a game changer for enterprise mobility teams. Besides making this process easier and faster, Appium Inspector works with content and types of apps that Appium Desktop does not support.

For example, Appium Desktop currently does not support website content or hybrid apps. Therefore, enterprise mobility teams that are tasked with testing web content and hybrid apps will struggle when leveraging Appium. But, Appium Inspector and the built-in Appium support from deviceConnect tears these barriers down because deviceConnect supports testing of both web and hybrid apps.

As Mobile Labs continues to improve its Appium support by adding new features, stay tuned for additional updates for Appium Inspector as our team of experts continue to make using Appium quick and easy for busy enterprise mobility teams.

Have questions about deviceConnect or Appium support? Learn more about this private device cloud solution, available as both an on-premises and as a hosted solution by viewing our video demo.

Steve Orlando

Steve Orlando is a seasoned development and quality assurance professional with experience testing and developing mobile, Web, mainframe, CRM and desktop applications. In his role as director of product marketing for Mobile Labs, Steve drives the design and implementation of the company’s private mobile device clouds, GigaFox™ and deviceConnect™.

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