The Test-Infected Programmer’s Android Apothecary

Earlier this week I gave a lightning talk about testing at an Android meetup in New York. Because, on the surface, testing is not the most exciting topic in the world, I tried to spice it up with a snazzy title and a slightly gimmicky structure. The jury is out whether it worked or not (it didn’t draw many laughs), but decide for yourself based on the slides.

Since the slides are not that useful without the accompanying stage show, here’s a very quick summary. The premise is that test infrastructure provided by the Android SDK out of the box has quite a lot of shortfalls and for someone serious about unit testing there are a bunch of 3rd-party libraries that help ease the pain.

These are the libraries I presented:


  • Fixes the problem of having to run tests on an Android emulator, which can significantly improve test execution speed and plays nicer with most Continuous Integration environments
  • Works by replacing some Android core classes with “shadows” which are hand-written fakes, so some caution is warranted because behavior can be subtly different from the real implementations in the Android VM

FEST Android

  • Simplifies assertions about Android objects such as views
  • Based on FEST fluent assertions, a way to make assertions more readable, type-safe and intuitive


  • The self-promotion part of the talk: This is a library I wrote myself, based on concepts from assert_select in Rails and Android’s own UiSelector
  • Makes assertions about complex Android UIs easier by selecting views with CSS-style selectors
  • Alpha-quality software, in the sense that the API is not completely stable (I’ll have a more in-depth blog post once I’m happy with the API)

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