Is Appium Better Than Espresso For Android Testing?


In order to produce premium quality solutions within predetermined timeframes and budgets, mobile application automation testing has developed into a critical component of the mobile app development process. However, selecting the right automated testing framework for your organization is crucial if you want to provide a bug-free product to your customers. Error free apps are loved by customers who are always looking forward to a seamless user experience. There are several, very capable automated testing frameworks out there in the market. This article compares Appium and Espresso, two of the most popular automation testing frameworks, to help you decide which is best for your app testing needs.

Due to its instability and flakiness, Espresso was not much favored. However, since Google introduced Android Test Orchestrator, a Gradle test option, Android Espresso tests’ instability and unreliability have disappeared. This in turn is posing a severe challenge for Appium, the most widely used automation framework. We will find out if Espresso now has the ability to destroy Appium or whether Appium can survive in this cutthroat industry. Let’s get started!

What Is Appium?

It is a framework for testing mobile applications. It is open source and supports cross-platform testing. Appium offers automated testing on both real devices and simulators or emulators, as well as native, hybrid, and web application testing. The Appium server makes use of the Selenium web driver, enabling platform independence and enabling users to utilize the same code for iOS or Android.

Benefits of Appium

In this section, we will have a look at some of the major benefits which the Appium framework offers:

  1. Does not require recompiling of the application code

Most automated testing solutions demand that testers modify application code. Testers may need to recompile the code for the intended mobile platforms in order to use certain test automation frameworks. In contrast to this, Appium gives testers the ability to evaluate both native and cross-platform programs without often recompiling and modifying the code.

2. Makes it easier to run tests without server machines

Appium was developed using cross-platform runtime conditions, similar to NodeJS, which allow software developers to write server-side JavaScript code. Since it was designed to be an HTTP server, you may run the test without a server computer.

  3. Gives a tool for recording and playing back.

Through its record and playback capabilities, the inspector in Appium allows testers to accelerate the testing process. Appium inspector may observe native applications’ behavior by examining their DOM (Document Object Model). Using the record and playback features, test scripts may be written in a variety of computer languages.

LambdaTest is a  platform for testing mobile apps in the cloud. Application testers can quicken their release cycles using LambdaTest’s dependable, scalable, and secure Appium automation cloud. Simulators, Emulators, and real device clouds may all be used for testing. Additionally, you may use your desktop browser to immediately access any device that you need. LambdaTest enables you to improve your performance with free Appium Android automated testing, thereby enhancing your performance.

Disadvantages Of Appium

Inspite of its numerous benefits, Appium has some disadvantages too. Let’s have a look at them.

    1. Flaky tests

The imprecision of Appium’s testing is one of its major drawbacks. Appium’s automated UI testing is substantially less stable as compared to Espresso’s automated Android testing. In other words, the tests for Appium might either pass or fail for the same setup, which is frustrating for the developers.

    2. Speed

Unfortunately, Appium’s design makes it quite sluggish. Starting the server and subsequently communicating each activity to it both take some time. Therefore, do not be alarmed if your automated Android UI tests take a little longer to complete.

    3. Challenging setup

The setup procedure for Appium’s Android testing is a little challenging. Because configuring the server is more difficult than configuring Espresso, it requires good programming abilities. Here is a tutorial on how to install Appium.

    4. Older Android versions are not supported

To make the matters a little worse, Appium does not support Android versions older than 4.2, so your testing won’t be applicable to a wide range of devices. Fortunately, if you use Selendroid and Appium together, the problem may be resolve.

    5. Issues with element location

The tool’s inability to accurately locate parts and identify photos is another drawback. Simply said, it can’t accomplish it on its own. Therefore, the placements of the components must be manually entere by your team.


Espresso is a tool create by Google. It is used for UI testing of Android applications. It guarantees that the activity is initiated before the tests begin and seamlessly synchronizes your test operations with the user interface of the mobile app. Although there will be some flakiness and shared state across tests when you run a Espresso test. Google came up with a fix for this. The Gradle test option called Android Test Orchestrator aids in testing and raises the dependability of our automated test suites.

Advantages Of Espresso

You must adjust the dependency configuration if you use Gradle build tools in any Android Studio version older than 3.0. Let’s examine the benefits of using Android Espresso.

  1. Gradle integration

The Android Studio and Gradle that are now include with the new Android Espresso provide support. So, all it takes to invoke your tests, run them, or modify them is to deploy a Gradle script. This greatly simplifies testability and offers the developer full command-line power.

     2. Test Orchestrator

With the capability of Android Test Orchestrator included with the new Android Espresso, you can execute each of your application’s tests inside of its own invocation of Instrumentor. This ensures that crashes are segregate and that there is a minimum amount of common state. You may channel the tests you wish to run via it, as well as perform tests on various devices. This implies that you have more control over the results of your testing.

     3. Reduced Flakiness

The synchronized execution method is more to blame for the test cycle’s scalability in Android Espresso. Espresso has a built-in system that certifies the thing is really being shown on the screen. By doing this, test execution is prevent from crashing in the face of “Objects not found” and other failures.

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Disadvantages Of Espresso

In this section, we will have a look at the disadvantages of Espresso.

   1. Language and technology stack restrictions

Espresso is the ideal solution for Android developers who are use to building native applications since it only supports Java and JUnit. However, it also has a disadvantage in that it restricts your stack size.

    2. Testing native Android UI

Since we are comparing Appium for automated Android UI testing, it’s pretty difficult to state that this is a drawback. However, practically all mobile teams nowadays need to create and test both Android and iOS applications. If you decide to use Espresso, you must undoubtedly find a comparable tool or framework for automating iOS UI testing. The effort required to write and maintain test scripts is therefore double.

Significant Differences Between Appium And Espresso

Although both Espresso and Appium are automate UI testing frameworks, they operate differently. There are situations when Espresso is a better option, and there are situations where Appium is a better one.

Espresso is a testing framework that is neither black-box nor white-box, as opposed to Appium, which they refer to as a “grey box.” The real Android application is test using Appium. Without having access to any of the application’s internals, it uses the application’s apk and performs UI tests on it. Nothing regarding “Activities,” “Broadcast Services,” “Intents,” etc. is known to an Appium test. The tests imitate the use of an application in the same manner that a user would really use it since they have the same access rights to the program as a user would.

Contrarily, Espresso is a Java framework that is install together with the source code for your application. It allows you to create user interface tests (black boxes), but these tests also have access to the internal workings of the program, giving it the name “grey-box” (white box + black box).

These two strategies have varied advantages and disadvantages and shouldn’t be seen as rival strategies but rather as complementary test strategies that address various use cases.

Espresso, which is include inside the program, was create by Google specifically to test the testing of an Android user interface. The Espresso description refers to “white box testing” as a testing approach. Espresso can access and utilize the code that actually executes the program since it is a part of it, allowing for more in-depth testing of each component.

Appium was create as a cross-platform testing environment. As a result, one compromise focuses on “black box testing,” which only examines the application’s externally exposed components. Appium can access all the UI components that a user will view by using the Android UIAutomator framework. The ability to check data entering and leaving the service layer behind the scenes and the capability to run simulations by informing the application that the device has rotate or that the home button has been press are two advantages of being external to the application.

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Let’s Sum It Up!

In conclusion, Espresso outperforms Appium in terms of , reliability, speed, feedback, and simplicity of setting for automated Android UI testing. However, Appium has one advantage over Espresso that allows it to recover some ground in our Appium vs. Espresso comparison. Any business that wants to get the most out of continuous testing and integration must have Appium’s ability to execute Android UI tests in parallel.

If you need to do UI testing on an Android app, both Appium and Espresso may be utilize, but which one you select will depend on your needs. What type of testing do you want to do on the app? Android Espresso is the best option for developers that wish to do UI testing for their native Android app. However, you may utilize Appium if the test has to support both iOS and Android and you want to test at a functional level.

Choose Espresso if you want a framework that will handle automated Android UI testing better. It is a platform-specific tool with several advantages, including being quick, stable, dependable, and simple to use. However, use Appium if your software is cross-platform and you also need to test the iOS version.

Infographic: Difference Between Appium and Espresso

Difference Between Appium and Espresso
Difference Between Appium and Espresso

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