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How do you test an Android application across multiple Activities?

Posted by: admin November 29, 2017 Leave a comment


We are building a complex Android application consisting of many screens and workflows spread across many Activities. Our workflows are similar to what you might see on a Bank’s ATM machine, for example, there is an Activity to login in that transitions to a main menu Activity which can transition to other activities based on the user’s choices.

Since we have so many workflows we need to create automated tests that span multiple activities so we can test a workflow from end to end. For example, using the ATM example, we would want to enter a valid PIN, verify that sends us to the main menu, choose withdraw cash, verify that we are on the withdraw cash screen, etc., etc., and eventually find ourselves back on the main menu or “logged” out.

We’ve toyed with the test APIs that come with Android (e.g. ActivityInstrumentationTestCase2) and also with Positron, but neither seem capable of testing beyond the bounds of a single Activity, and while we can find some utility in these tools for some unit testing, they won’t meet our needs for testing scenarios that cut across multiple Activities.

We are open to an xUnit framework, scripting, GUI recorders/playbacks, etc. and would appreciate any advice.


I feel a bit awkward about answering my own bounty question, but here it is…

I’ve searched high and low on this and can’t believe there is no answer published anywhere. I have come very close. I can definitely run tests that span activities now, but my implementation seems to have some timing issues where the tests don’t always pass reliably. This is the only example that I know of that tests across multiple activities successfully. Hopefully my extraction and anonymizing of it did not introduce errors. This is a simplistic test where I type a username and password into a login activity, and then observe a proper welcome message is shown on a different “welcome” activity:

package com.mycompany;

import android.app.*;
import android.content.*;
import android.test.*;
import android.test.suitebuilder.annotation.*;
import android.util.*;
import android.view.*;
import android.widget.*;

import static org.hamcrest.core.Is.*;
import static org.hamcrest.core.IsNull.*;
import static org.hamcrest.core.IsInstanceOf.instanceOf;
import static org.junit.Assert.*;
import static com.mycompany.R.id.*;

public class LoginTests extends InstrumentationTestCase {

   public void testAValidUserCanLogIn() {

      Instrumentation instrumentation = getInstrumentation();

      // Register we are interested in the authentication activiry...
      Instrumentation.ActivityMonitor monitor = instrumentation.addMonitor(AuthenticateActivity.class.getName(), null, false);

      // Start the authentication activity as the first activity...
      Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_MAIN);
      intent.setClassName(instrumentation.getTargetContext(), AuthenticateActivity.class.getName());

      // Wait for it to start...
      Activity currentActivity = getInstrumentation().waitForMonitorWithTimeout(monitor, 5);
      assertThat(currentActivity, is(notNullValue()));

      // Type into the username field...
      View currentView = currentActivity.findViewById(username_field);
      assertThat(currentView, is(notNullValue()));
      assertThat(currentView, instanceOf(EditText.class));
      TouchUtils.clickView(this, currentView);

      // Type into the password field...
      currentView = currentActivity.findViewById(password_field);
      assertThat(currentView, is(notNullValue()));
      assertThat(currentView, instanceOf(EditText.class));
      TouchUtils.clickView(this, currentView);

      // Register we are interested in the welcome activity...
      // this has to be done before we do something that will send us to that
      // activity...
      monitor = instrumentation.addMonitor(WelcomeActivity.class.getName(), null, false);

      // Click the login button...
      currentView = currentActivity.findViewById(login_button;
      assertThat(currentView, is(notNullValue()));
      assertThat(currentView, instanceOf(Button.class));
      TouchUtils.clickView(this, currentView);

      // Wait for the welcome page to start...
      currentActivity = getInstrumentation().waitForMonitorWithTimeout(monitor, 5);
      assertThat(currentActivity, is(notNullValue()));

      // Make sure we are logged in...
      currentView = currentActivity.findViewById(welcome_message);
      assertThat(currentView, is(notNullValue()));
      assertThat(currentView, instanceOf(TextView.class));
      assertThat(((TextView)currentView).getText().toString(), is("Welcome, MyUsername!"));

This code is obviously not very readable. I have actually extracted it into a simple library with an English-like API so I can just say things like this:


I’ve tested to a depth of about 4 activities and am satisfied that the approach works though as I said, there appears to be an occasional timing issue I have not completely figured out. I am still interested in hearing of any other ways of testing across activities.


Take a look at Robotium
‘a open-source test framework created to make automatic black-box testing of Android applications significantly faster and easier than what is possible with Android instrumentation tests out-of-the-box.’


Please note that the Robotium project is maintained by the company I work for


You could always use Robotium. It supports blackbox testing just like Selenium but for Android. You will find it at Robotium.org


I’m surprised no one has mentioned some of the leading automated functional testing tools. Compared with Robotium, these don’t require writing Java code.

MonkeyTalk: an open-source tool backed by the company Gorilla Logic. Pros: provides recording as well as a higher-level scripting language easier for non-technical users, and is cross-platform (includes iOS). Given those benefits as requirements, we’ve found this to be the best solution. It also allows customization beyond what can be done in their scripting language using Javascript.

Calabash-Android: an open-source tool for Cucumber-style features. Pros: write features in the Gherkin language which is Business Readable, Domain Specific Language that lets you describe software’s behavior without detailing how that behavior is implemented. Similar but not exact support is available for iOS in cucumber-ios. Recording capabilities are not as good, as they produce a binary output.

A couple of other references:

  • Here are some additional comparisons between Robotium,
    Monkeytalk and Calabash. It mentions TestDroid as another
  • This blog mentions the above plus NativeDriver and Bot-bot.

I created a record-and-playback tool for Android and made it available on GitHub. It’s easy to configure and use, requires no programming, runs against real devices (which do not have to be rooted) and automatically saves screenshots as it plays tests.


First of all, use ‘ActivityInstrumentationTestCase2’, not ‘InstrumentationTestCase’, as your base class. I use Robotium and routinely test across multiple Activities. I found that I have to specify the login activity as the generic type (and class argument to the constructor).

The ‘ActivityInstrumentationTestCase2’ constructor ignores the package argument and does not require it. The constructor that takes the package is deprecated.

From the Javadocs:
“ActivityInstrumentationTestCase2(String pkg, Class activityClass)
This constructor is deprecated. use ActivityInstrumentationTestCase2(Class) instead”

Using the recommended base class allows the framework to handle certain boilerplate, like starting your activity. That’s done by the call to ‘getActivity()’, if necessary.


Found this useful with a couple of modifications.
Firstly getInstrumentation().waitForIdleSync() will cure the flakiness SingleShot speaks of
and also InstrumentationTestCase has a lauchActivity function that can replace the start activity lines.


you can do it like this to avoid the flake waiting times out of sync :

final Button btnLogin = (Button) getActivity().findViewById(R.id.button);
Instrumentation instrumentation = getInstrumentation();

// Register we are interested in the authentication activity...
Instrumentation.ActivityMonitor aMonitor = 
        instrumentation.addMonitor(mynextActivity.class.getName(), null, false);

getInstrumentation().runOnMainSync(new Runnable() {
         public void run() {


//check if we got at least one hit on the new activity
assertTrue(getInstrumentation().checkMonitorHit(aMonitor, 1)); 


I’m working on pretty much the same thing, and I’ll probably go with a variation on the accepted answer to this question, but I did come across Calculuon (gitHub) during my searches for a solution.


I haven’t personally used it, but ApplicationTestCase looks like it might be what you’re looking for.


Will accepted approach work with different Activities from different Applications, signed by different certificates? If not, Robotium the best way to test activities within same application.


There is another way to do the multiple activity using ActivityInstrumentation Class..
Its a normal automation scenario…
First get the focus of what ever object you want and then send a key
Simple as that
sample code


Only thing is understanding the every API calls will help us.


This answer is based on the accepted answer but modified to solve the timing issue which for me became consistent after adding about a half dozen tests. @pajato1 gets the credit for solving the timing issue, as cited in the accepted answer comments.

 * Creates a test Activity for a given fully qualified test class name.
 * @param fullyQualifiedClassName The fully qualified name of test activity class.
 * @return The test activity object or null if it could not be located.
protected AbstractTestActivity getTestActivity(final String fullyQualifiedClassName) {
    AbstractTestActivity result = null;

    // Register our interest in the given activity and start it.
    Log.d(TAG, String.format("Running test (%s) with main class: %s.", getName(), fullyQualifiedClassName));
    instrumentation = getInstrumentation();

    Intent intent = new Intent(Intent.ACTION_MAIN);
    intent.setClassName(instrumentation.getTargetContext(), fullyQualifiedClassName);
    // Wait for the activity to finish starting
    Activity activity = instrumentation.startActivitySync(intent);

    // Perform basic sanity checks.
    assertTrue("The activity is null!  Aborting.", activity != null);
    String format = "The test activity is of the wrong type (%s).";
    assertTrue(String.format(format, activity.getClass().getName()), activity.getClass().getName().equals(fullyQualifiedClassName));
    result = (AbstractTestActivity) activity;

    return result;


Try the Monkey tool testing

Step 1:

open the android studio terminal(Tools-> open terminal)

Step 2:

In order to use monkey , open up a command prompt and just naviagte to the following directory.

 export PATH=$PATH:/home/adt-bundle-linux-x86-20140702/sdk/platform-tools

Step 3:

add this monkey command into terminal and press enter..

see the magic in your emulator.

adb shell monkey -p com.example.yourpackage -v 500

500- it is the frequency count or the number of events to be sent for testing.

you can change this count..

More reference,