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Automating hybrid apps

One of the core principles of Appium is that you shouldn't have to change your app to test it. In line with that methodology, it is possible to test hybrid web apps (e.g., the UIAWebView elements in an iOS app) the same way you can with Selenium for web apps. There is a bit of technical complexity required so that Appium knows whether you want to automate the native aspects of the app or the web views, but thankfully, we can stay within the WebDriver protocol for everything.

Here are the steps required to talk to a web view in your Appium test:

  1. Navigate to a portion of your app where a web view is active
  2. Call GET session/:sessionId/contexts
  3. This returns a list of contexts we can access, like 'NATIVE_APP' or 'WEBVIEW_1'
  4. Call POST session/:sessionId/context with the id of the context you want to access
  5. (This puts your Appium session into a mode where all commands are interpreted as being intended for automating the web view, rather than the native portion of the app. For example, if you run getElementByTagName, it will operate on the DOM of the web view, rather than return UIAElements. Of course, certain WebDriver methods only make sense in one context or another, so in the wrong context you will receive an error message).
  6. To stop automating in the web view context and go back to automating the native portion of the app, simply call context again with the native context id to leave the web frame.
// javascript
// assuming we have an initialized `driver` object for an app
driver
    .contexts().then(function (contexts) { // get list of available views. Returns array: ["NATIVE_APP","WEBVIEW_1"]
        return driver.context(contexts[1]); // choose the webview context
    })

    // do some web testing
    .elementsByCss('.green_button').click()

    .context('NATIVE_APP') // leave webview context

    // do more native stuff here if we want

    .quit() // stop webdrivage
// java
// assuming we have a set of capabilities
driver = new AppiumDriver(new URL("http://127.0.0.1:4723/wd/hub"), capabilities);

Set<String> contextNames = driver.getContextHandles();
for (String contextName : contextNames) {
    System.out.println(contextNames); //prints out something like NATIVE_APP \n WEBVIEW_1
}
driver.context(contextNames.toArray()[1]); // set context to WEBVIEW_1

//do some web testing
String myText = driver.findElement(By.cssSelector(".green_button")).click();

driver.context("NATIVE_APP");

// do more native testing if we want

driver.quit();
# ruby
# assuming we have a set of capabilities
@driver = Selenium::WebDriver.for(:remote, :desired_capabilities => capabilities, :url => SERVER_URL)

# I switch to the last context because its always the webview in our case, in other cases you may need to specify a context
# View the appium logs while running @driver.contexts to figure out which context is the one you want and find the associated ID
# Then switch to it using @driver.switch_to.context("WEBVIEW_6")

Given(/^I switch to webview$/) do
    webview = @driver.contexts.last
    @driver.switch_to.context(webview)
end

Given(/^I switch out of webview$/) do
    @driver.switch_to.context(@driver.contexts.first)
end

# Now you can use CSS to select an element inside your webview

And(/^I click a webview button $/) do
    @driver.find_element(:css, ".green_button").click
end
# python
# assuming we have an initialized `driver` object for an app

# switch to webview
webview = driver.contexts.last
driver.switch_to.context(webview)

# do some webby stuff
driver.find_element(:css, ".green_button").click

# switch back to native view
driver.switch_to.context(driver.contexts.first)

# do more native testing if we want

driver.quit()
// php
// assuming we have an initialized `driver` object in an AppiumTestCase

public function testThings()
{
        $expected_contexts = array(
                0 => 'NATIVE_APP',
                1 => 'WEBVIEW_1'
        );

        $contexts = $this->contexts();
        $this->assertEquals($expected_contexts, $contexts);

        $this->context($contexts[1]);
        $context = $this->context();
        $this->assertEquals('WEBVIEW_1', $context);

        // do webby stuff

        $this->context('NATIVE_APP');

        // do mobile stuff
}

Automating hybrid Android apps

Appium comes with built-in hybrid support via Chromedriver. Appium also uses Selendroid under the hood for webview support on devices older than 4.4. (In that case, you'll want to specify "automationName": "selendroid" as a desired capability).

Make sure setWebContentsDebuggingEnabled is set to true as described in the remote debugging docs.

Once you've set your desired capabilities and started an appium session, follow the generalized instructions above.

Automating hybrid iOS apps

To interact with a web view appium establishes a connection using a remote debugger. When executing against a simulator this connection is established directly as the simulator and the appium server are on the same machine.

Once you've set your desired capabilities and started an appium session, follow the generalized instructions above.

Execution against a real iOS device

When executing against a real iOS device appium is unable to access the web view directly. Therefore the connection has to be established through the USB lead. To establish this connection we use the ios-webkit-debugger-proxy.

For instruction on how to install and run ios-webkit-debugger-proxy see iOS webkit debug proxy documentation.

Now you can start an appium test session and follow the generalized instructions above.