A JavaScript library to ease automated iOS UI testing with UIAutomation and Instruments
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Tune-up is a collection of JavaScript utilities that builds upon and improves the UIAutomation library provided by Apple for testing iOS applications via Instruments (get it? "tune-up"? Instruments? get it?).

While the JavaScript library provided by Apple is fairly complete and robust, it is a bit wordy and repetitive at times. This project aims to reduce as much pain as possible when writing UI tests by enhancing the existing API. It also provides some basic structure for your tests in a manner familiar to most testers.


Put the files for this project in the same location as your test scripts that your run from Instruments. I like to use git submodules for third-party libraries like so:

git submodule add git://github.com/alexvollmer/tuneup_js.git tuneup

Then at the top of each test script include the following:

#import "tuneup/tuneup.js"

Regardless of how you like to structure your tests, the path in the initial #import statement in your test script needs to be relative to the path of the tuneup library.

Test Structure

To create a test case, use the test() function, which takes the name of the test case as a string, and a function. The function will be given a UIATarget instance and a UIAApplication instance. For example:

test("Sign-In Screen", function(target, app) {
  // The target and app arguments are your portals into the running application
  // Exercise and validate to your heart's content

test("Sign-out Screen", function(target, app) {
  // now exercise and validate the sign-out screen

See the test.js file for details.


Tune-up comes with a handful of basic xUnit-like assertions (and more are on the way). For now though, the basic assertions supported are:

  • assertNotNull
  • assertEquals
  • assertMatch
  • assertTrue
  • assertFalse
  • assertWindow (more on this below)
  • fail

See the assertions.js file for all the details.

Window Assertions

A common theme in writing integration tests for "screen flows" is the repetitive cycle of making several assertions on a screen, then engaging some user-control after all of the assertions pass. With the UIAutomation API as it is, it's easy to lose sight of this structure when bogged down in the syntax of asserting and navigating the user interface.

To make this cycle more obvious, and cut down on unnecessary verbosity, use the assertWindow function. It works by applying a given JavaScript object literal to the current main window (UIAWindow instance).

The full details are documented in assertions.js, but here's a taste of what this assertion can do for your tests. Prior to assertWindow you would have to do something like this:

test("my test", function(target, app) {
  mainWindow = app.mainWindow();
  navBar = mainWindow.navigationBar();
  leftButton = navBar.leftButton();
  rightButton = navBar.rightButton();

  assertEquals("Back", leftButton.name());
  assertEquals("Done", rightButton.name());

  tableViews = mainWindow.tableViews();
  assertEquals(1, tableViews.length);
  table = tableViews[0];

  assertEquals("First Name", table.groups()[0].staticTexts()[0].name());
  assertEquals("Last Name", table.groups()[1].staticTexts()[0].name());

  assertEquals("Fred", table.cells()[0].name());
  assertEquals("Flintstone", table.cells()[1].name());

With assertWindow, you can boil it down to this:

test("my test", function(target, app) {
    navigationBar: {
      leftButton: { name: "Back" },
      rightButton: { name: "Done" }
    tableViews: [
        groups: [
          { name: "First Name" },
          { name: "Last Name" }
        cells: [
          { name: "Fred" },
          { name: "Flintstone" }

You can do more than just match string literals. Check out the full documentation in assertions.js for all the details.

Window Assertions for Universal Applications

If you have a Universal Application and want to maintain a single set of test files, you can mark specific properties to match by adding a "~ipad" or "~iphone" extension to the property name. When you do this, you need to quote the property name instead using a literal, like so:

test("my test", function(target, app) {
    "navigationBar~iphone": {
      leftButton: { name: "Back" },
      rightButton: { name: "Done" }
    "navigationBar~ipad": {
      leftButton: null,
      rightButton: { name: "Cancel" }

Note that the "~iphone" extension should work for iPod Touch devices also.

This convention is derived for how device-specific images are loaded on both iPad and iPhone/iPod devices. Hopefully it looks somewhat familiar.

UIAutomation Extensions

The UIAutomation library is pretty full-featured, but is a little wordy. Tune-up provides several extensions to the built-in UIAutomation classes in an attempt to cut down on the verbosity of your tests.

See the uiautomation-ext.js for details.

Running Tests

Starting in iOS 5, Apple provided a way to run Instruments from the command-line. However, it's a bit fiddly and is very general-purpose so doing anything useful with the output is kind of a pain.

Tuneup now provides a Ruby script (run-test) to run your test scripts. The runner will parse the output of your test and produce a proper UNIX exit code based on whether or not your tests succeeded. It also provides some niceties like automatically specifying the full-path to your test script if you don't provide one.

Have a look at run-test --help to be sure you're not missing any newly added features like fancy colors.

To use the runner, invoke it like so:

[path to tuneup]/test_runner/run <app bundle> <test script> <output directory> [optional args]

Normally the name of the app bundle will suffice for the <app bundle> argument. If you're running your tests on the simulator the newest bundle will be located automatically. If that fails, or if you want to manually specify the bundle to be used, you need to provide a fully-qualified path to the app bundle, which will be buried somewhere in ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/DerivedData.

The <test script> argument specifies the JavaScript test file and the <output directory> is where the resulting Instruments output like screenshots and reports should go.

Run the script with -h or --help for a full explanation of supported options.

Device or Simulator

If you provide the optional argument -d DEVICE, you can tell Instruments to run your test against a real device (identified by UDID). You can also pass dynamic and tuneup will find the UDID at runtime. If this argument is not provided, the runner will run against the simulator.


The Instruments preprocessor causes a lot of headache due to its inability to handle #import statements properly. If you pass -p, the script will create a temp file, resolve any imports and inline the referenced files (only once).

Selecting tests

If you don't want to run your whole test suite, you can selectively run tests by specifying the argument -r TEST. Whatever you pass for TEST will be used as regex to match any title of your tests.

XML reports

Tuneup can generate Xunit style reports that can be analyzed by any compatible tool, like Jenkins. Given the parameter -x a XML report will be generated in the output directory.

Screenshots assertion

Tuneup can compare captured screen images against provided reference images and generate diff images for them. This function relies on compare utility from ImageMagick. Steps to activate this feature:

  1. brew install imagemagick.
  2. In your test script create ImageAsserter:
* tuneup_folder     - folder with tuneup sources
* output_folder     - folder with test results
* ref_images_folder - folder with you reference images
createImageAsserter('tuneup_folder', 'output_folder', 'ref_images_folder');
  1. Assert current screen against reference image with assertScreenMatchesImageNamed helper.
  2. Generated diff images are located in screens_diff subfolder of the output folder.

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.
  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.
  • Test the darn thing with your own apps (built-in testing to come)
  • Commit to your local repo and send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.


Copyright (c) 2010 Alex Vollmer. See LICENSE for details.