by maximl | v6.1.3-r1
A NativeScript plugin to help integrate and run Appium tests
npm i --save @maximl/nativescript-dev-appium


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


  1. Cross-platform locators
  2. Find strategies: findElementByText, findElementByClassName, findElementByAccessibilityId, findElementByXPath
  3. Actions: tap, click, doubleTap, hold
  4. Gestures: scroll, scrollTo, swipe, drag
  5. Cross-platform element abstraction with exists, waitForExist, waitForNotExist, location, isDisplayed, size, text properties
  6. Ability to turn on/off “Don’t keep activities” setting in the Developer options for Android
  7. Direct access to driver
  8. Typings
  9. Async/Await
  10. Open source cloud builds integration, i. e. Sauce Labs
  11. Image comparison of: screen, rectangle; block out areas to ignore
  12. [WIP] Ability to verify animations/transitions through video/images; please refer to frame-comparer
  13. Mochawesome HTML report - including screenshots in report


The nativescript-dev-appium plugin requires:


Add the plugin as a devDependency to your project:

$ npm install -D nativescript-dev-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.

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

$ npm install -g appium

Install external dependencies of XCUITest driver for iOS via:

$ brew install carthage
$ brew install libimobiledevice --HEAD
$ brew install ideviceinstaller
$ brew install ios-webkit-debug-proxy
$ npm install -g ios-deploy

For detailed information on external dependencies, please, refer to the XCUITest repository.

For correct functioning of the mobile-devices-controller for Android emulators, telnet is required to be available on your system.

As the telnet was removed from macOS High Sierra, it could be installed as follows:

$ brew install telnet


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

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-ts 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 capabilities configuration using the runType option as shown below. This way a capabilities will be selected from the capabilities configuration file.

$ npm run e2e -- --runType android25


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

or for local runs during development

$ npm run e2e android
$ npm run e2e ios
$ npm run e2e -- --device.name=/iPhone X/ --device.apiLevel=/12.1/

Generated tests are standard Mocha tests.

NOTE: When using Jasmine instead of Mocha, additional npm params (like runType) must have an equal sign (=) instead of a space.

npm run e2e -- --runType=sim.iPhoneX


2018, March 6th: Start Testing Your NativeScript Apps Properly


The official demos of the nativescript-dev-appium plugin: https://github.com/NativeScript/ns-dev-days-appium-plugin.

These tests demonstrate:

Tests on NativeScript Continuous Integration

NativeScript/e2e/modal-navigation - use "Don't keep activities", run background (minimize/restore) app.

nativescript-angular/e2e/renderer - use basics: locators, find strategies, assertions.

nativescript-angular/e2e/router - use basics: locators, find strategies, assertions.

nativescript-dev-webpack/demo/AngularApp - use data driven approach, compares element's images.

nativescript-dev-webpack/demo/JavaScriptApp - use data driven approach, compares element's images.

nativescript-dev-webpack/demo/TypeScriptApp - use data driven approach, compares element's images.


2018 March 6th: NativeScript Air 6 - UI Testing {N} apps with DevAppium

2017 Sept 27th: NativeScript testing with Appium @ NativeScript Developer Day Europe 2017

2017 Sept 19th: Introduction to Mobile UI Test Automation @ NativeScript Developer Day 2017

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 capabilities file instead default ones, you can specify it with --appiumCapsLocation 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). See sample content of appium.capabilities.json file below. For more details regarding the Appium Capabilities read Appium documentation about Desired Capabilities:

"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.iPhone8.iOS110. 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.

For faster testing when working on an app with livesync it would be better to use --devMode option or start a new session using --startSession option and run tests using --attachToDebug option and specify appium --port. Or simply start session with appium desktop application


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
appiumCapsLocation Change the location where appium.capabilities.json config file can be. It should be relative to the root directory e.g. --appiumCapsLocation /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
sessionId In order to attach to already started session Option --port is mandatory in this case. It will automatically set --devMode to true. Provides ability nativescript-dev-appium to be used with appium desktop client
attachToDebug Same as sessionId but no need to provide session id. Option --port is mandatory in this case. It will automatically resolve --sessionId. Provides ability nativescript-dev-appium to be used with appium desktop client
startSession Start new appium server and initialize appium driver.
cleanApp Remove application from device on server quit.


Let say that we have a script in package.json like this

 "scripts": {
"e2e": "tsc -p e2e && mocha --opts ./config/mocha.opts --recursive e2e --appiumCapsLocation ./config/appium.capabilities.json"

Run tests in sauceLab

$ npm run e2e -- --runType android25 --sauceLab --appPath demo.apk

Run tests in Kobiton

$ npm run e2e -- --runType android25 --kobiton --appPath demo.apk

Run tests locally

$ npm run e2e -- --runType android25

Starting new session will console log appium server port and session id

$ node ./node_modules/.bin/ns-appium --runType android23 --startSession --port 8300

Run tests with already started session. Specify session id and server port. Default value for server port is 8300

$ npm run e2e -- --sessionId e72daf17-8db6-4500-a0cf-59a66effd6b9 --port 8300 

or simply use --attachToDebug which will attached to first available session. This is not recommended when more than one session is available.

$ npm run e2e -- --attachToDebug --port 8300


Use the --verbose option to get error details:

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

Common Problems

  1. Missing installed appium
  2. Misleading appPath or capabilities location. Please make sure that the path to the app or capabilities location is correct.
  3. Misleading details for device specified in appium config


We love PRs! Check out the contributing guidelines. If you want to contribute, but you are not sure where to start - look for issues labeled help wanted.

Get Help

Please, use github issues strictly for reporting bugs or requesting features. For general questions and support, check out the NativeScript community forum or ask our experts in NativeScript community Slack channel.