Appium Vs XCUITest: A Detailed Comparison

During the early years of technology, the developers only created applications for desktops as it was the only source of accessing them.

However, with the advancement of technology, the market began to rapidly change. This is because the portability in the lives of the people forced them to search for alternatives such as smartphones, tablets, and even smartwatches.

This fact can easily be justified by the statistics that more than 53% of Internet traffic currently comes from mobile devices.

So the developers sensed the huge market that lies in the mobile segment and started to make the transition.

While developing mobile apps, there are certain unique features that the developers must keep track of. For instance, there are certain separate frameworks like Appium that the developers have to use.

Appium and XCUITest are the two major players in the segment of mobile-friendly testing.

So, with this article, we’ll take a deep dive into both of these tools and try to identify the primary differences between these two.

We will also take a general look into the role of various tools and platforms in the execution process of mobile testing.

Diversity in the Mobile Market

The mobile market is often referred to as one of the most diverse segments that currently exist in the technological universe.

Appium Vs XCUITest: A Detailed Comparison
Mobile Testing

This is because various segments of diversification can be seen in this market. For instance, the primary operating systems that are currently popular for mobile or Android, iOS, and Windows.

Furthermore, android devices for instance can be classified into several other segments based on differences in screen size, display resolution, device hardware, or the manufacturing company.

For reference, we can consider that more than 1000 android devices come into the market every year. Now adding the total number of devices coming from iOS and Windows backgrounds with this number will easily give an idea about the diverse mobile market.

So, it is almost impossible to generalize the mobile application testing process.

In such cases, the developers have to use various mobile automation testing tools like Appium and XCUITest to accurately verify the proper performance of the application concerning real-world scenarios. It also helps the developers to diversify the testing process with the introduction of multiple platforms like real devices, emulators, and simulators.

Moreover, the developers cannot test the performance of the application only on modern devices.

This is because one of the statistics shows that more than 80% of the users have devices that are at least two years old.

Considering all of these factors is important to ensure that you reach the largest segment of the audience base. Improving an application’s reach is in turn an important factor in increasing the brand image and maintaining the company’s position in the competitive market.

Introduction to Appium

Appium is a popular open-source test automation platform to verify the proper performance of multiple types of mobile applications.

This means that with the help of this platform, the quality assessment teams of the company can verify the proper performance of mobile apps like hybrid apps, cross-platform apps, and even native apps.

The major advantage of this app is that it also helps the developers to verify the proper performance of cross-browser mobile apps. We will learn more about the benefits of cross-browser testing in the latter part of this article.

Appium uses the client-server architecture protocol for functioning and conducting the test cases. It also uses the mobile wire JSON protocol for communicating with the elements of a mobile application.

The open-source nature of the Appium framework also ensures that all of its features are openly available to the developers without any form of expense.

Moreover, it also has a huge community of tech lovers who are always ready to help new developers. Since the Appium library is developed with node.JS, it is compatible with all the leading clients like Ruby, Python, Java, and a few more alternatives.

Introduction to XCUITest

Apple has always been renowned for locking down the core functionalities with reasons for privacy protection. So it has released a native mobile app testing framework known as XCUITest for testing the proper functioning of all user interface elements.

Since its release in 2015, it has played a major role in improving the testing capabilities of native iOS applications. The developers have the option of using swift or Objective-C programming languages for testing the proper functioning of all native iOS apps. However, the availability of only two programming languages often limits the development and innovative capabilities of the testing teams.

Since XCUITest is natively developed and maintained by Apple, it has default support for all the testing elements. So the developers do not have to invest much time in creating and maintaining the test cases. It also eliminates a huge portion of the learning curve that comes with almost all standalone software.

Major Differences Between XCUITest and Appium

Now that we have finished discussing the basic information about Appium and XCUITest, it is time to take a look at the major differences between these two mobile application testing frameworks.

This knowledge is highly essential for the developers to make the correct choice that can suit their personal and project requirements. Based on our analysis and research, the major differences between both these frameworks are as follows:

  1. Support of Programming Languages: Appium has native support for almost all the programming languages that are currently available. These include Java, Ruby, Python, and many others. On the other hand, while using XCUITest, the developers can only have native support for Objective-C and Swift.
  2. Test Support: Using Appium the developers can initiate and execute all forms of test cases on mobile applications that are developed for both Android and iOS platforms. Therefore, Appium is often referred to as the one-stop solution for all mobile application development requirements. On the other hand, using XCUITest, the developers can only initiate and execute user interface test cases on iOS applications only. This can be a huge limitation considering the variety that is present in the current mobile market.
  3. Test Flakiness: We can define a flaky test as a test that can return both passes and failures irrespective of no changes in the test or code itself. Flaky test cases can massively slow down the application testing and debugging process as they can confuse the final output. Appium can generate highly flaky test results as it lacks native support from the Android studio. On the other hand, XCUITest has native support from Apple and has customized test cases. So, the test flakiness on XCUITest is very low.
  4. Test Setup Process: Appium has a long and complicated setup process as the developers have to configure various parameters. However, the official website has certain documentation that can assist during the setup process. On the other hand, the native support from Apple means that XCUITest has a simple setup process. So it can be very welcoming for new developers who are starting to make the transition. The test maintenance process is also very simple in XCUITest compared to Appium.

Role of Tools and Platforms in Mobile App Testing

As we already discussed earlier, the mobile application is very diverse making it impossible to generalize the testing process.

So, the developers must have an onsite device testing solution that has multiple devices to ensure the stable performance of the application on these targets.

However, having such a bench is not only very expensive but also hassle-some for the developers to keep updated. In such scenarios, many individual creators and small startup companies start using only emulators and simulators for the application testing process.

However, we must remember that emulators and simulators cannot replicate the device’s hardware. So the developers can’t understand the influence of various physical changes like low power, a broken display, or user interaction errors.

In such a scenario, a perfect middle ground would be to introduce a cloud testing platform. To begin discussing cloud testing we can analyze it to be a platform that serves similar purposes to an onsite test bench while eliminating the need of having such a bench.

This is because cloud servers help the developers to verify the functioning of their applications on these devices over the web. So, we can also say that with the help of these platforms, the developers can eliminate the geolocation barriers on their test bench.

All these factors have a significant contribution towards improving the overall efficiency of the mobile app testing process. We can further learn about the advantages of cloud testing by bringing the example of LambdaTest:

For the sake of new developers, we can say that LambdaTest is a cloud platform that helps developers to conduct secure modern cross-browser compatibility test cases on web apps.

Cross-browser compatibility testing has become the current market standard for ensuring that the application is up to the mark. This is because, with cross-browser testing, the developers can ensure a stable app performance irrespective of frequent shifts in device hardware, browser edition, or OS version.

LambdaTest also has various interactive features like side-by-side execution of test cases with parallel testing. Experts believe that with this testing process, the developers can improve the testing efficiency by almost 15 times. 

LambdaTest can import the automation test files from multiple frameworks like Selenium, Cypress, and Playwright.

Moreover, the integration of real device testing with already existing simulators and emulators ensures that the developers can maintain the highest level of accuracy in the test cases.

LambdaTest also helps the developers to introduce Agile methodologies for improving the coordination between the development, testing, and production teams of an app development company.

Final Verdict!

After analyzing this article, the developers will have a clear idea about the role of Appium and XCUITest in the application testing process. It will also help the developers to choose the correct tool according to their requirements.

We all can agree that automation testing will continue to become one of the most important factors in the future application development market.

So application testers and developers need to keep themselves updated with all the modern automation testing trends.

App development companies also have a key role in promoting adequate knowledge regarding the adoption of test automation.

Experts believe that only 60% of app development companies have transitioned to complete test automation. So, it is high time for the rest of the market to make the transition.

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