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  • Christian Bromann

    Christian Bromann - Appium for Couch Potatoes: An HbbTV Driver

    Christian Bromann
    Christian Bromann
    Software Engineer
    Sauce Labs
    schedule 2 years ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins

    Almost 13 years ago we started with Selenium to automate websites. With Appium we generalised that concept on mobile and just recently entered the Windows and Mac space by adding a Windows and Mac OS driver to the Appium family. Let’s continue our StarDriver quest and enter a (not quite) new sphere: the television. Within the last years, a new standard called Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) evolved with which the latest generation of Smart TVs has been equipped. This standard allows broadcasters to build web apps for their broadcast channels to provide additional context information to the TV stream or videos on demand.

    The number of HbbTV apps being developed is increasing more and more as the standard gets rolled out to the whole world. By now almost all TV manufacturers support the standard and due to the high number of TVs in the market the fragmentation is extreme. Different TVs run different proprietary rendering engines with a different level of JavaScript support. Until today the only way to test an HbbTV app is by taking the remote control and manually walking through the app, this has to change.

    This talk will introduce a new driver to Appium that allows the running of automated tests based on the Webdriver protocol for HbbTV apps on Smart TVs. It will explain not only how the driver works but also how in general other drivers do their job in the Selenium and Appium world. We will look into the challenges that automating an app for a TV device brings and will talk about how anyone can build a driver for anything.

1. What got you started/interested in Testing?

When I was in college our professor demanded to test our web application in an automated fashion. Back then our app was build using Backbone which is a JavaScript frontend framework that creates single page applications (SPA). So in order to test the app we had to create a script that would allow us to open a browser and simulate a click. This was the only way to actually check if the application would do what it was suppose to do. After some research I stumbled upon WebdriverIO and used it to build a test suite for testing that app. It was super interesting to see that one is able to automate the browser to test user flows so I decided to contribute to the project which I continued to do until this day.

2. What has been your best moment/highlight working with Appium?

I was at some point trying to implement a way to collect network data from the Chrome browser running on a mobile device. After some dabbling I started to understand how to modify the ADB connection to the device to get to this data. At some point I was seeing the data I wanted to see which was a great moment.

3. What do you think is the biggest challenge faced by Mobile Testers today?

I am not that much familiar with mobile testing but I think the device fragmentation is a huge challenge. Until today it is still impossible to ensure that an application can run on a mobile device everywhere in the world.

4. What is your advice to testers, who are new to automation?

I would say they should start with a framework that has a lot of abstraction to the underlying automation details. I can see people getting frustrated quickly because they aren't successful in automating the device the way they want. Using frameworks like WebdriverIO can help as a lot of things are simplified from setting up the project up to installing necessary plugins.

5. Tell us about the session/s you will be presenting at the conference and why did you choose those topics?

I gonna present a talk about my journey how I build an automation driver for HbbTV that allows to run tests on SmartTVs. I really like this topic because it taught me a lot how automation works and how everything is connected with each other.

6. What are some of the key takeaways from your session/s?

Everyone attending the session will learn how browsers are being automated today and how a Selenium or WebDriver test works from e2e. They will see how applying this knowledge will allow them to build an automation driver for Appium for literally any device that has a web platform.

7. Which are your favourite sessions at Appium Conf? (Sessions that you are looking forward to attend)

I am really looking forward to attend the "Fix a bug become a committer" because I know how much it can help to understand more about automation when contributing to tools like Appium or Selenium.

8. Any personal message/remarks you want to share with the Testing community in India?

I think test automation is an important procedure that should become the standard everywhere where isn't already. It saves a lot of time and money as well as provide so much more confidence when it comes to deploying any kind of application.