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A package to help with writing and executing e2e Appium tests.


The nativescript-dev-appium plugin requires:

Set Up

Add the plugin as a devDependency to your project:

$ npm install -D nativescript-dev-appium

Then install Appium - we recommend a global installation to avoid adding it to every project you would like to test:

$ npm install -g appium

After completion of the installation, if your project has a dependency to TypeScript, the plugin should have added an e2e folder containing predefined configs and samples.


    ├── app
    ├── e2e
        ├── configs
            ├── appium.capabilities.json
            ├── mocha.opts
        ├── sample.e2e-test.ts
        ├── setup.ts
        ├── tsconfig.json
    ├── ...
    ├── package.json
    ├── tsconfig.json

Note - To avoid any incompatibilities between the source of e2e tests (ES6) and the source of the application (ES5), we recommend to exclude the e2e folder from the application's tsconfig.json file: exclude": [ "e2e" ].

Files Preview

File Purpose
config/appium.capabilities.json Contains predefined configurations for test execution.
config/mocha.opts A default mocha configuration file.
sample.e2e-test.ts Contains a predefined ready-to-execute sample tests of the default hello-world template.
setup.ts Defines the before and after test execution hooks responsible to start and stop the Appium server.
tsconfig.json TypeScript compiler configuration file for the e2e tests.

Note - The folders below are related to the image comparison feature:

  • e2e/reports - this folder is created during test execution and stores the actual images from comparison
  • e2e/resources - this folder aims to store the expected images for comparison


Before running the tests you will have to build your app for the platform on test or both. Navigate to your demo app folder from where you will execute the commands that follow.

$ tns build android


$ tns build ios

The command that will run the tests should specify the targeted platform using the runType option as shown below. This way a capabilities will be selected from the capabilities config file.

$ npm run e2e -- --runType android25


$ npm run e2e -- --runType sim.iPhone8.iOS110

Generated tests are standard Mocha tests.

Custom Appium Capabilities

When installed, the plugin creates e2e folder containing sample test file and configuration folder config where your custom capabilities reside. The existence of such capabilities is a runner's requirement which comes from Appium. Additional locations where the runner will search for the config file are:

├── app
├── assets
├── package.json
└── appium.capabilities.json

If the file structure assembles plugin repo structure like for example nativescript-plugin-seed the suggested location is:

├── demo
├── demo-angular
├── src
└── appium.capabilities.json

Thus, the same configuration can be used by both apps without duplication of files.

If you wish to use another location of the capapabilities file instead default ones, you can specify it with --capsLocation option. Remember that the path provided has to be relative to the root directory.

Notice that once custom capabilities are provided you will be able to pick any of them using the --runType option (e.g. --runType android25). Sample content of appium.capabilities.json file could be:

    "android21": {
            "browserName": "",
            "platformName": "Android",
            "platformVersion": "5.0",
            "deviceName": "Android Emulator",
            "noReset": false,
            "app": ""
    "android25": {
            "browserName": "",
            "platformName": "Android",
            "platformVersion": "7.0",
            "deviceName": "Android Emulator",
            "noReset": false,
            "app": ""
    "sim.iPhone8.iOS110": {
            "browserName": "",
            "platformName": "iOS",
            "platformVersion": "11.0",
            "deviceName": "iPhone 8 110",
            "app": ""

As you can see, the app property can be left an empty string which will force the plugin to search for an app package in platforms folder. However, this search functionality depends on runType option so if you think of using it add android, device, sim strings as part of your runType option which in fact is your capability key in the config file. E.g --runType android23, --runType sim.10iPhone6. Thus, the runner will manage to look in the right location in order to search for app package.

It is important to build your app in advance as explained in Usage section, because the runner expects to provide app package to it or such to exists in the search location.


Option Description Value
runType Select the capabilities from your config file appium.capabilities.json Consider using android, device, sim strings as part of your runType option if you haven't provided app capability. Thus, the runner will look for app package in the right location for the current run.
e.g. --runType ios-device10iPhone6
appPath Provide location of the app package to be tested. This will overwrite all provided capabilities for app Possible values are:
- app build package name (in case --sauceLab option is set it will prepend sauce-storage: in front of the app name so app has to be uploaded to Sauce Labs before execution starts)
- path e.g. platforms/android/build/outputs/apk/demo.apk.
Example: --appPath demo-debug.apk
sauceLab Enable tests execution in Sauce Labs. As a prerequisite you will have to define SAUCE_USER and SAUCE_KEY as environment variable e.g. --sauceLab
capsLocation Change the location where appium.capabilities.json config file can be. It should be relative to the root directory e.g. --capsLocation /e2e-tests
port Appium server port
storage Specify remote image storage
ignoreDeviceController Setting this option you will use default appium device controller which is recommended when tests are executed on cloud based solutions


$ npm run e2e -- --runType android25 --sauceLab --appLocation demo.apk --capsLocation "/e2e-tests/config"


  1. Compare images. Block out areas to ignore in comparison.
  2. Find elements findElementByText, findElementsByXPath, findElementByAccessibilityId etc...
  3. Gesture support: swipe, scroll, drag, scrollTo
  4. Action support: tap, click, doubleTap, hold,
  5. Element characteristics: location, exists, size, isDisplayed
  6. Find strategies: waitForExist, waitForExistNot
  7. Direct access to webdriver and webdriverio


Use the --verbose option to get error details:

$ npm run e2e -- --runType android25 --verbose

Common Problems

  1. Missing installed appium
  2. Missleading appPath or capabilities location. Please make sure that the path to the app or capabilities location is correct.

Missing Features

  1. Faster developer turnaround when working on an app. Find a way to use livesync and kick off Appium tests for the app that's on the device already.