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Testing UI for a Single App

Dependencies and Prerequisites

This lesson teaches you to

  1. Set Up Espresso
  2. Create an Espresso Test Class
  3. Run Espresso Tests on a Device or Emulator

You should also read

Try it out

Testing user interactions within a single app helps to ensure that users do not encounter unexpected results or have a poor experience when interacting with your app. You should get into the habit of creating user interface (UI) tests if you need to verify that the UI of your app is functioning correctly.

The Espresso testing framework, provided by the Android Testing Support Library, provides APIs for writing UI tests to simulate user interactions within a single target app. Espresso tests can run on devices running Android 2.3.3 (API level 10) and higher. A key benefit of using Espresso is that it provides automatic synchronization of test actions with the UI of the app you are testing. Espresso detects when the main thread is idle, so it is able to run your test commands at the appropriate time, improving the reliability of your tests. This capability also relieves you from having to add any timing workarounds, such as Thread.sleep() in your test code.

The Espresso testing framework is an instrumentation-based API and works with the AndroidJUnitRunner test runner.

Set Up Espresso

Before building your UI test with Espresso, make sure to configure your test source code location and project dependencies, as described in Getting Started with Testing.

In the build.gradle file of your Android app module, you must set a dependency reference to the Espresso library:

dependencies {
    // Other dependencies ...
    androidTestCompile ''

Turn off animations on your test device — leaving system animations turned on in the test device might cause unexpected results or may lead your test to fail. Turn off animations from Settings by opening Developer options and turning all the following options off:

If you want to set up your project to use Espresso features other than what the core API provides, see this resource.

Create an Espresso Test Class

To create an Espresso test, create a Java class that follows this programming model:

  1. Find the UI component you want to test in an Activity (for example, a sign-in button in the app) by calling the onView() method, or the onData() method for AdapterView controls.
  2. Simulate a specific user interaction to perform on that UI component, by calling the ViewInteraction.perform() or DataInteraction.perform() method and passing in the user action (for example, click on the sign-in button). To sequence multiple actions on the same UI component, chain them using a comma-separated list in your method argument.
  3. Repeat the steps above as necessary, to simulate a user flow across multiple activities in the target app.
  4. Use the ViewAssertions methods to check that the UI reflects the expected state or behavior, after these user interactions are performed.

These steps are covered in more detail in the sections below.

The following code snippet shows how your test class might invoke this basic workflow:

onView(withId(            // withId( is a ViewMatcher
        .perform(click())               // click() is a ViewAction
        .check(matches(isDisplayed())); // matches(isDisplayed()) is a ViewAssertion

Using Espresso with ActivityTestRule

The following section describes how to create a new Espresso test in the JUnit 4 style and use ActivityTestRule to reduce the amount of boilerplate code you need to write. By using ActivityTestRule, the testing framework launches the activity under test before each test method annotated with @Test and before any method annotated with @Before. The framework handles shutting down the activity after the test finishes and all methods annotated with @After are run.


import org.junit.Before;
import org.junit.Rule;
import org.junit.Test;
import org.junit.runner.RunWith;


public class ChangeTextBehaviorTest {

    private String mStringToBetyped;

    public ActivityTestRule<MainActivity> mActivityRule = new ActivityTestRule<>(

    public void initValidString() {
        // Specify a valid string.
        mStringToBetyped = "Espresso";

    public void changeText_sameActivity() {
        // Type text and then press the button.
                .perform(typeText(mStringToBetyped), closeSoftKeyboard());

        // Check that the text was changed.

Accessing UI Components

Before Espresso can interact with the app under test, you must first specify the UI component or view. Espresso supports the use of Hamcrest matchers for specifying views and adapters in your app.

To find the view, call the onView() method and pass in a view matcher that specifies the view that you are targeting. This is described in more detail in Specifying a View Matcher. The onView() method returns a ViewInteraction object that allows your test to interact with the view. However, calling the onView() method may not work if you want to locate a view in an RecyclerView layout. In this case, follow the instructions in Locating a view in an AdapterView instead.

Note: The onView() method does not check if the view you specified is valid. Instead, Espresso searches only the current view hierarchy, using the matcher provided. If no match is found, the method throws a NoMatchingViewException.

The following code snippet shows how you might write a test that accesses an EditText field, enters a string of text, closes the virtual keyboard, and then performs a button click.

public void testChangeText_sameActivity() {
    // Type text and then press the button.
            .perform(typeText(STRING_TO_BE_TYPED), closeSoftKeyboard());

    // Check that the text was changed.

Specifying a View Matcher

You can specify a view matcher by using these approaches:

To improve the performance of your Espresso tests, specify the minimum matching information needed to find your target view. For example, if a view is uniquely identifiable by its descriptive text, you do not need to specify that it is also assignable from the TextView instance.

Locating a view in an AdapterView

In an AdapterView widget, the view is dynamically populated with child views at runtime. If the target view you want to test is inside an AdapterView (such as a ListView, GridView, or Spinner), the onView() method might not work because only a subset of the views may be loaded in the current view hierarchy.

Instead, call the onData() method to obtain a DataInteraction object to access the target view element. Espresso handles loading the target view element into the current view hierarchy. Espresso also takes care of scrolling to the target element, and putting the element into focus.

Note: The onData() method does not check if the item you specified corresponds with a view. Espresso searches only the current view hierarchy. If no match is found, the method throws a NoMatchingViewException.

The following code snippet shows how you can use the onData() method together with Hamcrest matching to search for a specific row in a list that contains a given string. In this example, the LongListActivity class contains a list of strings exposed through a SimpleAdapter.

        hasEntry(equalTo(LongListActivity.ROW_TEXT), is("test input")));

Performing Actions

Call the ViewInteraction.perform() or DataInteraction.perform() methods to simulate user interactions on the UI component. You must pass in one or more ViewAction objects as arguments. Espresso fires each action in sequence according to the given order, and executes them in the main thread.

The ViewActions class provides a list of helper methods for specifying common actions. You can use these methods as convenient shortcuts instead of creating and configuring individual ViewAction objects. You can specify such actions as:

If the target view is inside a ScrollView, perform the ViewActions.scrollTo() action first to display the view in the screen before other proceeding with other actions. The ViewActions.scrollTo() action will have no effect if the view is already displayed.

Test your activities in isolation with Espresso Intents

Espresso Intents enables validation and stubbing of intents sent out by an app. With Espresso Intents, you can test an app, activity, or service in isolation by intercepting outgoing intents, stubbing the result, and sending it back to the component under test.

To begin testing with Espresso Intents, you need to add the following line to your app's build.gradle file:

dependencies {
  // Other dependencies ...
  androidTestCompile ''

To test an intent, you need to create an instance of the IntentsTestRule class, which is very similar to the ActivityTestRule class. The IntentsTestRule class initializes Espresso Intents before each test, terminates the host activity, and releases Espresso Intents after each test.

The test class shown in the following codes snippet provides a simple test for an explicit intent. It tests the activities and intents created in the Building Your First App tutorial.

public class SimpleIntentTest {

    private static final String MESSAGE = "This is a test";
    private static final String PACKAGE_NAME = "com.example.myfirstapp";

    /* Instantiate an IntentsTestRule object. */
    public IntentsTestRule≶MainActivity> mIntentsRule =
      new IntentsTestRule≶>(MainActivity.class);

    public void verifyMessageSentToMessageActivity() {

        // Types a message into a EditText element.
                .perform(typeText(MESSAGE), closeSoftKeyboard());

        // Clicks a button to send the message to another
        // activity through an explicit intent.

        // Verifies that the DisplayMessageActivity received an intent
        // with the correct package name and message.
                hasExtra(MainActivity.EXTRA_MESSAGE, MESSAGE)));


For more information about Espresso Intents, see the Espresso Intents documentation on the Android Testing Support Library site. You can also download the IntentsBasicSample and IntentsAdvancedSample code samples.

Testing WebViews with Espresso Web

Espresso Web allows you to test WebView components contained within an activity. It uses the WebDriver API to inspect and control the behavior of a WebView.

To begin testing with Espresso Web, you need to add the following line to your app's build.gradle file:

dependencies {
  // Other dependencies ...
  androidTestCompile ''

When creating a test using Espresso Web, you need to enable JavaScript on the WebView when you instantiate the ActivityTestRule object to test the activity. In the tests, you can select HTML elements displayed in the WebView and simulate user interactions, like entering text into a text box and then clicking a button. After the actions are completed, you can then verify that the results on the Web page match the results that you expect.

In the following code snippet, the class tests a WebView component with the id value 'webview' in the activity being tested. The verifyValidInputYieldsSuccesfulSubmission() test selects an <input> element on the Web page, enters some text, and checks text that appears in another element.

public class WebViewActivityTest {

    private static final String MACCHIATO = "Macchiato";
    private static final String DOPPIO = "Doppio";

    public ActivityTestRule mActivityRule =
        new ActivityTestRule(WebViewActivity.class,
            false /* Initial touch mode */, false /*  launch activity */) {

        protected void afterActivityLaunched() {
            // Enable JavaScript.

    public void typeTextInInput_clickButton_SubmitsForm() {
       // Lazily launch the Activity with a custom start Intent per test

       // Selects the WebView in your layout.
       // If you have multiple WebViews you can also use a
       // matcher to select a given WebView, onWebView(withId(
           // Find the input element by ID
           .withElement(findElement(Locator.ID, "text_input"))
           // Clear previous input
           // Enter text into the input element
           // Find the submit button
           .withElement(findElement(Locator.ID, "submitBtn"))
           // Simulate a click via JavaScript
           // Find the response element by ID
           .withElement(findElement(Locator.ID, "response"))
           // Verify that the response page contains the entered text
           .check(webMatches(getText(), containsString(MACCHIATO)));

For more information about Espresso Web, see the Espresso Web documentation on the Android Testing Support Library site.. You can also download this code snippet as part of the Espresso Web code sample.

Verifying Results

Call the ViewInteraction.check() or DataInteraction.check() method to assert that the view in the UI matches some expected state. You must pass in a ViewAssertion object as the argument. If the assertion fails, Espresso throws an AssertionFailedError.

The ViewAssertions class provides a list of helper methods for specifying common assertions. The assertions you can use include:

The following code snippet shows how you might check that the text displayed in the UI has the same value as the text previously entered in the EditText field.

public void testChangeText_sameActivity() {
    // Type text and then press the button.

    // Check that the text was changed.

Run Espresso Tests on a Device or Emulator

You can run Espresso tests from Android Studio or from the command-line. Make sure to specify AndroidJUnitRunner as the default instrumentation runner in your project.

To run your Espresso test, follow the steps for running instrumented tests described in Getting Started with Testing.

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