WinAppDriver – Test any app with Appium's Selenium-like tests on Windows

Dev Tips

I’ve found blog posts on my site where I’m using the Selenium Web Testing Framework as far back as 2007! Today there’s Selenium Drivers for every web browser including Microsoft Edge. You can write Selenium tests in nearly any language these days including Ruby, Python, Java, and C#.

I’m a big Selenium fan. I like using it with systems like BrowserStack to automate across many different browser on many operating systems.

“Appium” is a great Selenium-like testing framework that implements the “WebDriver” protocol – formerly JsonWireProtocol.

WebDriver is a remote control interface that enables introspection and control of user agents. It provides a platform- and language-neutral wire protocol as a way for out-of-process programs to remotely instruct the behavior of web browsers.

From the Appium website, “Appium is ‘cross-platform’: it allows you to write tests against multiple platforms (iOS, Android, Windows), using the same API. This enables code reuse between iOS, Android, and Windows testsuites”

Appium is a webserver that exposes a REST API. The WinAppDriver enables Appium by using new APIs that were added in Windows 10 Anniversary Edition that allow you to test any Windows app. That means ANY Windows App. Win32, VB6, WPF, UWP, anything. Not only can you put any app in the Windows Store, you can do full and complete UI testing of those apps with a tool that is already familiar to Web Developers like myself.

Your preferred language, your preferred test runner, the Appium Server, and your app

You can write tests in C# and run them from Visual Studio’s Test Runner. You can press any button and basically totally control your apps.

// Launch the calculator app
DesiredCapabilities appCapabilities = new DesiredCapabilities();
appCapabilities.SetCapability("app", "Microsoft.WindowsCalculator_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App");
CalculatorSession = new RemoteWebDriver(new Uri(WindowsApplicationDriverUrl), appCapabilities);
// Make sure we're in standard mode
CalculatorSession.FindElementByXPath("//Button[starts-with(@Name, "Menu")]").Click();
OriginalCalculatorMode = CalculatorSession.FindElementByXPath("//List[@AutomationId="FlyoutNav"]//ListItem[@IsSelected="True"]").Text;
CalculatorSession.FindElementByXPath("//ListItem[@Name="Standard Calculator"]").Click();

It’s surprisingly easy once you get started.

public void Addition()
Assert.AreEqual("Display is 8 ", CalculatorResult.Text);

You can automate any part of Windows, even the Start Menu or Cortana.

var searchBox = CortanaSession.FindElementByAccessibilityId("SearchTextBox");
searchBox.SendKeys("What is eight times eleven");

var bingPane = CortanaSession.FindElementByName("Bing");

var bingResult = bingPane.FindElementByName("88");

If you use “AccessibiltyIds” and refer to native controls in a non-locale specific way you can even reuse test code across platforms. For example, you could write sign in code for Windows, iOS, your web app, and even a VB6 Win32 app. 😉

Testing a VB6 app with WinAppDriver

Appium and WebAppDriver a nice alternative to “CodedUI Tests.” CodedUI tests are great but just for Windows apps. If you’re a web developer or you are writing cross platform or mobile apps you should check it out.

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