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5 Open Source Automation Tools for Mobile App Development

  • by Shishir Dubey
  • 3 Years ago
  • 0

Top 5 Open Source Automation Tools

Would you prefer to use an app that requires you to spend a lot of time to access a feature?

Or the one that has a steep learning curve?

You will not, right?

This holds true for your app users as well.

A stolid user experience is the key to an app’s success and the only way you can ensure its success is through mobile app testing.

Mobile app testing is a challenging phase of mobile app development due to the diverse range of device types, screen sizes and platforms.

The good news is that several open source automation tools are available today that you can explore to successfully test your app.

These automation tools reduce your testing burdens by minimizing the testing time, providing you with larger coverage and reducing the manual errors.

So, here is our top five list of open source automation tools that you should explore.

1. Calabash

Calabash is an open source testing tool that specializes in acceptance testing and is compatible with Android and iOS.

It has separate libraries for these platforms and provides cross-platform support and Cucumber support.

You can specify your app’s behavior by using natural language under the Behavior Driven Development model implemented by this tool.

The Cucumber scripts used in Calabash are written in Ruby and the statements are written once and can be repeated for different scenarios.

Calabash has a large community for support and is quite easy to work with because it uses simple English like test statements.

It also covers all the major screen actions, such as swipe, pinch, rotate, and tap.

2. Appium

Appium is an open source testing framework created by Sauce Labs and can be used with Android and iOS apps.

It can also be used for native, hybrid and web apps. This tool works under a server model where the library functions make call requests to the server running in the background.

It uses the JSON Wire Protocol and Selenium’s WebDriver to interact with the iOS and Android apps internally.

Appium can work with a variety of programming languages, including Java, Python, Ruby and all other languages supported by Selenium’s WebDriver.

Appium also allows cross-platform script development and does not require source code access.

It has several powerful features, including script recording for Mac, built-in support for Selendroid, the Inspector tool and support for vendor provided frameworks, such as UIAutomator for iOS and Selendroid.

3. Robotium

Robotium is an all-round testing tool that allows for functional, system and acceptance testing of Android apps. It is also open source and is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.

This tool is known for its ability to create powerful and robust automation scenarios. It helps you simulate real-time execution and environmental conditions with the help of an Android device or emulator where the test case suite is installed as an app.

Robotium is easy to work with and has several features that provide convenience. It also provides support for activities, dialogs, menus and other common SDK controls.

It further allows for the automation of pre-installed apps and for automatic execution followed by a current activity. It is much faster than the other tools, since it provides runtime binding with GUI components.


Frank is a Cucumber-based testing framework that helps you automate testing for iOS apps. Cucumber lets you write testing scenarios using English like sentences.

Frank may make changes to your source code because it needs to be compiled inside the app to test it. It makes use of UISpec along with a combination of Cucumber and JSON commands to run the tests.

This tool also includes a live inspection tool, called Symbiote, and it is quite easy to learn how to use it by those who have previous experience with Selenium and Cucumber.

It is also backed by an active community support that keeps adding more to the library functions. 

 5. UIAutomator

UIAutomator is Google’s own testing framework for automating advanced UI testing. It only supports Android Versions 4.1 and above and is best suitable for native Android apps and games.

It contains a java library and a test engine to create and run functional UI tests. The tool comes as part of the Android SDK and can thus easily be integrated into the development process.

You can easily find loads of tutorials and guides to get started with this tool.

Though UIAutomator provides a simple means to perform advanced unit testing, such as JUnit tests, it has limited support for web view automation.

Being a Google product, this tool is backed by a strong community that actively adds new functions and maintains the library.

So, which automation testing tool seems most suitable for your requirements?

No matter which tool you use, it is advisable to get help from a professional mobile app development company that has a lot of experience in developing and testing apps.

This will help you determine whether you are on the right path, or need to make a shift.

In our experience, we have seen several clients getting assistance for testing from an Android application development company, while they had an app exclusively for iOS. This led them to a testing disaster.

Therefore, you must ask your testing consultant or custom mobile app development services provider whether they have experience in Android or iOS or both.

Would you like to recommend any other tools here? Do you have any questions? Feel free to drop us a note below and thanks for reading!

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