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Test iOS Apps with UI Automation: Bug Hunting Made Easy


Cover image for Test iOS Apps with UI Automation

Test iOS Apps with UI Automation


If you’re an iOS developer or QA professional tapping through an app to reproduce bugs or performance issues you thought were solved two releases ago, then this is your book. Learn how to script the user interface, assert correct behavior, stub external dependencies, reproduce performance problems, organize test code for the long haul, and automate the whole process so the machine does the work. You’ll walk through a comprehensive strategy with techniques using Apple’s tools that you can apply to your own apps.

About this Title

Pages: 224
Published: 2013-08-10
Release: P1.0 (2013-08-14)
ISBN: 978-1-93778-552-9

Automated user interface testing is an important part of a comprehensive testing strategy for iOS applications. By scrutinizing your app through the eyes and actions of the user, you raise confidence that features are wired up right and behave as you expect.

Through this book you’ll learn how to do full-stack testing of your iOS apps in both the simulator and on the device with Apple’s built-in tools. You’ll write behavioral tests in UI Automation that help protect against regressions. You’ll write scripts to repeat steps in Instruments to reproduce performance bugs. With a little ingenuity, you’ll build a workflow that gives the feedback you need.

Grow a test suite by working with a real application that uses Core Data and network requests. Learn how to describe expected behavior in test scripts, launch the app in a specific state, and stub external dependencies for completely isolated and repeatable tests. Along the way, you’ll practice how to organize your test code and run it hands-free from the command line. By the end, you’ll have the tools and habits you need to tackle the unique testing problems you’ll face while building best-of-breed native iOS apps for your users.

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What You Need

You’ll need a Mac running at least Mac OS X Lion (10.7) and Xcode 4.6.

Contents & Extracts

  • Introduction
    • What Can We Do About It?
    • The Road Ahead
    • Expectations and Technical Requirements
    • Online Resources
  • UI Automation Overview
  • Testing Behavior With UI Automation
    • Talking The UI Through JavaScript
    • Reporting Errors
    • Verifying The Test Does What It Says
  • Building Up A Test Suite
    • Testing With A Modal Alert View
    • Importing Script Files At Runtime
    • Testing Results From A Live API
    • Grouping Test Steps And Their Output
  • Organizing Test Code
    • Starting A JavaScript Toolbox
    • Describing The App With Screen Objects
    • Reusing A Generic Screen Prototype
    • Converting Our Test Suite To Screen Objects
  • Maps, Gestures, and Alerts
  • Strategies For Testing Universal Apps
  • Automating Performance Tests
    • Setting Up Custom Instruments Templates
    • Capturing Steps To Reproduce A Memory Leak
    • Triggering Simulator Memory Warnings With AppleScript
    • Stress Testing
  • Setting Up Application Data
    • Seeding Data in Xcode With Application Data Packages
    • Seeding Data Dynamically With A Factory
    • Choose Your Own Adventure With Environment Variables
    • Hiding Test Setup Code From Release
  • Stubbing External Services
    • Choosing A Geographical Location
    • Faking A Network Service API
    • Wrapping Service APIs In A Facade
    • Stubbing A Facade With Data In The App Bundle
  • Command Line Workflow
    • Practicing With The Raw Commands
    • Automating The Build and Run Process With Rake
    • Reading Environment Variables From Script Files
    • Resetting The Simulator To Test Permissions
    • Running Tests On a Connected Device
  • Third Party Tools And Beyond
    • Enhancing UI Automation
    • Testing Outside The Box


Jonathan Penn is a software developer with a long history of quality work sprinkled with mischief. When not consulting with clients, he speaks at conferences, is the mad scientist behind the featured apps at, and is scribbler-in-chief at, a technical blog for exceptional iOS resources and commentary.