March 11, 2017

Notes from Dan Cuellar's Webinar, Appium: Prime Cuts

On Wednesday, March 8th, the creator of Appium, Dan Cuellar, gave a Webinar, Appium: Prime Cuts.

Dan Cuellar
"Dan is the creator of the open source mobile automation framework Appium, and Head of Test Engineering at FOODit in London. Previously, he headed the test organisation at Shazam in London and Zoosk in San Francisco, and worked as a software engineer on Microsoft Outlook for Mac, and other products in the Microsoft Office suite. He is an advocate of open source technologies and technical software testing. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, with a minor in Music Technology, from the world-renowned School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh". -TestCon Vilnius 2016 Bio

Description of the Webinar, Posted on YouTube:

For the Appium aficionados amongst us, Dan Cuellar, creator of Appium and Principal Development Manager at FOODIt, will cover some of the more esoteric pieces of Appium along with tips and tricks he’s assembled from around the world to help you broaden your knowledge of Appium.
Topics covered in this webinar will include:
-Windows and Mac desktop app automation support
-Preview of the new Appium GUI
-Tips & Tricks from around the World
-Deep dive into how some specific pieces of Appium work
-Q&A from the audience

Dan Cuellar's Webinar Video and Slides

Did you miss the Webinar? The video has been uploaded to and had been embedded below.

Webinar: Appium: Prime with Dan Cuellar
Sponsored by Sauce Labs
Published on Mar 8, 2017

Webinar Slides: Appium: Prime Cuts

My Notes from Appium: Prime Cuts

Dan has a great sense of humor: "I see there are 400 people attending this webinar. Let's see if there are 400 at the end of it. I will try my best!"

Webinar Agenda

  • Desktop Apps
  • New Appium GUI: Works for Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Advanced Appium

New: Appium Automates: Desktop Apps for the PC!  

Selenium is automation for websites. Appium is automation for apps. At first? "App" only meant automation for mobile apps, but now it means any type of app... now including Desktop apps!

Dan made one big announcement after another. First it was the WinAppDriver project, found in, a project from Microsoft.

Imagine that: Microsoft themselves are supporting an open-source movement! It would have been unheard of a few years ago. Now, they have come up with Selenium WebDriver support and now Appium support!

Microsoft support includes:
  • Modern Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps
  • Win 32 applications (including pre 2000)
  • Windows Presentation Format (WPF) apps
  • Windows Forms apps
  • Webviews (sometimes)
  • Office and Outlook Plugins
Coming soon from Microsoft:
  • Pen & Touch support 
  • Windows Mobile Phone support

As Dan Cuellar put it, this is remarkable for just putting in one year of work into it!


What's a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app? 

"The Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is the app platform for Windows 10. You can develop apps for UWP with just one API set, one app package, and one store to reach all Windows 10 devices – PC, tablet, phone, Xbox, HoloLens, Surface Hub and more. It’s easier to support a number of screen sizes, and also a variety of interaction models, whether it be touch, mouse and keyboard, a game controller, or a pen. At the core of UWP apps is the idea that users want their experiences to be mobile across ALL their devices, and they want to use whatever device is most convenient or productive for the task at hand. [ Read More ]"

Introducing Windows Presentation Foundation

"Summary: The primary goal of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is to help developers create attractive and effective user interfaces. Learn how the WPF unified platform helps make designers active participants in creating user interfaces, and provides a common programming model for standalone and browser applications. [ Read More ]"

The Appium: Prime Cuts video also shows a Microsoft manager testing the Windows Calculator on a Windows box by kicking off BASH, with Appium and Python.

New: Appium Automates: Desktop Apps for the Mac! 

Likewise, there is now a new project for Mac Apps!

Intuit took Dan Cuellar's open-source project and ran with it, automating QuickBook tests, made adjustments, and just checked in code back into the project a few months ago.

Stats on the Mac Version:

  • Currently run separately from Appium
  • Supports OS X 10.7 and higher
  • Supports detailed mouse actions
  • Support Native DOM
  • Does not support WebViews yet

Screen Shot On Error is now built in, along with action methods such as "get" to launch an app, "click" to click on an element, and "text" to find text from an element.

Dan gave a demo for us on Mac Calculator in Python.

You can download the source code from GitHub, and build it in XCode. In around three weeks, he was going to type up more detail to help users.

Want more? 

Dan will be giving a talk on the Selenium Conference in Austin, Texas on April 5, 2017.

What is XCode?

"The Xcode IDE [Integrated Development Environment] is at the center of the Apple development experience. Tightly integrated with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, Xcode is an incredibly productive environment for building apps for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV".

Appium has (yet another) (better) New GUI

Note: The GUI is still in beta. Dan Graham, an Appium Developer from Sauce Labs Vancouver came up with a Appium Desktop app running on Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can run it off of a server of your choosing, SauceLabs, or TestObject.

The problem is that it takes so long for the Apple Simulator to load up. In the video above, Dan goes into a solution that Facebook came up with.

How do you Speed Up Tests?

1) Avoid XPath. Xpath is slow. Avoid using it where possible in Appium. If you do use it, use it it as a sub-search on a more quickly found element. There is a known problem is how the Appium team implemented it. They modelled it on exactness, not efficiency.

2) Implicit timeouts saves code but can slow down tests. Use findElements that returns an array, and see if it is zero. Implicit checks that last 30 seconds and wait for elements.

... Those are all the notes I have!

A Message from the Webinar's Sponsor: Sauce Labs

And now, messages from this Webinar's sponsor, Sauce Labs, sent to me after the webinar, copied here for your enjoyment:

"During his presentation, Dan referred to a presentation given by Lawrence Lomax at SeConf London that discussed ways to speed up testing on iOS simulators - you can access the video here.

"Interested in Appium training? Sauce Labs now offers instructor-led online courses on Appium 101 and Appium 201. Register now and enter promo code B261-4487-8AF0 to save 20% on either course.

"For access to our past Sauce Labs webinars, visit our resources page. As always, if you have any questions, feedback or ideas, email us at

"Happy Testing!
"–Your Friends at Sauce Labs

"P.S. Join Dan as he presents at next month's Selenium Conference (Austin, April 3-5) and at SauceCon (San Francisco, June 6-8). Get your tickets for SeConf here (last call now on sale) and SauceCon here. Hope to see you at one or both events!"

... I, myself, could never afford out-of-pocket Appium's prices for classes. There are so many great classes out there... well, basically pre-recorded video... but the cost is prohibitive. That's why I subscribe to Sauce Labs' blog < > so I can know of any free webinars, and attempt to footnote the free stuff.

Happy Testing!

-T.J. Maher
Twitter | LinkedIn | GitHub

// Sr. QA Engineer, Software Engineer in Test, Software Tester since 1996.
// Contributing Writer for TechBeacon.
// "Looking to move away from manual QA? Follow Adventures in Automation on Facebook!"