Fed up with Appium? Wondering what’s best for mobile app testing that works on iOS and Android? This article explores what’s wrong with Appium and which alternatives you should consider in 2023.
Initially released in 2011 by Dan Cuellar and open-sourced in 2012, Appium is a popular end-to-end testing framework. It has over 16k stars on GitHub.
Appium uses traditional “black box” methods, meaning no app code changes are strictly required to use it.
Although well-established in the community, Appium has failed to keep pace with advances in the mobile app ecosystem.
Common complaints about Appium:
Despite performance issues, Appium has high adoption among enterprise cloud test runners such as Testlio and BitBar. Partly this is due to vast quantities of existing Appium scripts existing for legacy apps. Additionally, many large enterprises have invested significantly in on-premise Appium infrastructure which has not yet reached end-of-life.
However, the shift away from Appium to modern alternatives is well underway in startups and app development agencies with larger firms beginning to follow. If you're building an automated app testing suite from scratch then avoid Appium if possible by testing out the option below.
Moropo is an end-to-end UI testing service for iOS and Android apps focusing on speed and usability. Using an innovative Test Creator which switches between no-code and scripted mode, Moropo suits teams where not everyone is an engineer, such as busy digital agencies and “all hands on deck” startups. Moropo has first-class support for open-source Maestro scripting so there's no vendor lock-in, unlike other commercial tools on the market.
Moropo is a relatively new tool. This does mean it takes advantage of the latest technological advances; however, there is also less maturity in the product compared with other offerings.
Moropo joins the dots effectively between commercial quality-of-life features and an open-source ethos. A focus on accessibility for non-developers and QA collaboration make it a good match for small to mid-sized teams. Enterprise users may be frustrated with the lack of product maturity.
Founded in 2018, Waldo is the oldest alternative in our comparison. Those extra years have allowed the Waldo team to hone a stable and beautiful product and add many enterprise features.
Bigger-budget enterprise teams will likely benefit from Waldo’s cloud infrastructure which supports SSO and custom service-level agreements for mission-critical apps. But with a typical plan costing $36,000 per year, Waldo is too expensive for smaller teams.
As Waldo’s scripts are closed-source, you won’t be able to add them to your in-house repositories or even view them as Waldo is completely no-code. However, they have a “branches” feature mimicking GitHub-style functionality to help organise your test flows.
Waldo was initially built for just iOS, with Android added later. The offshoot is that test flows must be recorded separately for iOS and Android. For mobile apps with feature parity across both platforms, you’ll need to record each flow twice.
Waldo is worth considering if you’re a large enterprise with lots of iOS and Android-specific functionality. Given the high price for their automation plan, Waldo makes less sense for agencies and startups.
Maestro Studio is an open-source tool from the team at mobile.dev. With a focus on developer-first support, Maestro Studio runs locally and uses your XCode Simulator or Android Studio Emulator to do the heavy lifting.
This tool works well for solo developers working on hobby projects and smaller apps where simple flow validation is all that is required. The added benefit is it’s free and open source, with community support available via their Slack group.
Maestro Studio requires a command line interface installation, so the tool is unsuitable for non-developers. If you want your UX designer or Product Manager to contribute to test flows, then it’s worth looking at Moropo or Waldo instead.
As it’s a community-focused product, there are no paid support plans for Maestro. Larger organisations or teams managing mission-critical mobile apps may want to look at other options if a dedicated issue resolution or service level agreement is required.
Maestro Studio is perfect for solo developers and hobby projects. Still, it fails to offer accessibility and results inspection for growing teams. The open-source approach is refreshing, and the community is excited to see how this library progresses over the coming months and years.
For startups and agencies, Moropo is the best replacement for Appium. Moropo combines robust end-to-end testing automation with a user-friendly UI. Other alternatives include Waldo and Maestro Studio.
Yes, absolutely. There are plenty of Appium scripts still in use across the mobile testing ecosystem. However, many teams are considering or actively pursuing a migration to more modern methods such as Moropo. If you’re working from a greenfield testing setup, investigate alternatives before adopting Appium.