What is Robotium Mobile Test Framework and How is it used?

Android mobiles and applications have revolutionised the mobile industry all over the globe. It is the world’s most popular mobile platform that has become an unconventional method of creating a business centric application and gaining extended leads in the form of new clients and customers. The advantages provided by Android and Android applications are numerous and people are rapidly switching to Android because of its user friendly applications and efficient services. Currently, the number of Android applications on Google Play and Play Store are more than 1.3 billion, which is increasing promptly every single day.

However, to maintain this popularity among the world’s population, it is extremely necessary for Android applications to go under extensive testing. A great Android application is the one that provides exceptional user experience and is free from bugs. As there are innumerable options of devices and applications in the mobile industry, it is important for developers of Android mobiles and applications to develop and test their product effectively and to ensure that it is free of defects and errors. Robotium is a technique used by Android developers, which helps them in developing quality products. It is an open-source test framework used by developers to write powerful and robust automatic test cases for Android applications. It is an extremely effective way of testing Android devices, which makes it popular among software developers and testers. Other important qualities and features of Robotium framework are discussed below

Defining Robotium:

An extension of the Android test framework, Robotium was created to make the process of writing user interface tests for Android applications easy and convenient. It is an open source test framework, which is used for writing grey-box test cases for Android applications. By using Robotium, test case developers can write functions, system and acceptance test scenarios, spanning multiple Android activities. Furthermore, Robotium fully supports native as well as hybrid applications and provides great assistance to developers and programmers in the process of application development.

Most importantly, Robotium is the most commonly used Android testing tool and its test cases can be executed in Android emulator as well as the Android real device. Robotium officially supports Android 1.6 and up and it is extensively used by mobile application developers to test Android devices. Moreover, Robotium has full support for activities, dialogues, toasts, menus and context menu. It can be used both for testing applications where the source code is available and applications where only the APK file is available. In short, Robotium provides simple API to write User Interface (UI) automation scripts for Android applications.

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Benefits of Robotium:

As stated above, Robotium is the most popularly used Android testing tool, as it provides its users great advantages and benefits that cannot be found in other testing frameworks. Robotium allows the users to write powerful test cases quickly with zero or minimal knowledge of the application under test. Moreover, it offers APIs to directly interact with UI controls within the application. The biggest advantage of using Robotium framework is that it does not modify the Android platform and ensures that its quality and functionality is maintained. Other benefits of using Robotium framework for testing Android devices and application are mentioned below:

  • It is easy to write and has shorter codes.
  • It requires minimal time to write solid test cases.
  • One can develop powerful test cases, with minimal knowledge of the application under test.
  • The framework handles multiple Android activities automatically.
  • The readability of test cases is greatly improved, compared to standard instrumentation tests.
  • Test execution is fast.
  • Test cases are more robust due to the run time binding to GUI components.
  • Integrates smoothly with Maven and Ant.
  • Automatically follows current activity.
  • Can capture screenshots.

Limitations of Robotium:

The process of developing a device or an application is a complicated one. It is an amalgamation of several activities that at times are beneficial for the application and at time not. Moreover, performing any type of testing has its limitations and disadvantages, which can be prevented and taken care of by proper planning and management. Similarly, Robotium framework also has few limitations that a tester should know before initiating Android application testing. These limitations can harm the quality as well as the functionality of the application and therefore should be considered before the process of testing is initiated. Hence, the limitations of Robotium framework are:

  • Robotium is unable to handle Flash or Web components.
  • It handles only one application at a time.
  • It cannot simulate clicking on soft keyboard using Robotium (need to use ‘enterText()’ to enter text into an EditText field).
  • Robotium cannot interact with Status Bar Notifications − that is, pull down the Notification area and click on a specified Notification.
  • Can be a bit slow, especially running on older devices.

Prerequisites of Robotium Framework:

Before initiating any procedure of testing it is important to check its basic requirements and conditions, which can help the testers as well as the developers in getting the best and appropriate results. Likewise, before performing tests on Android applications through Robotium framework, it is essential to crosscheck all of its prerequisites. By doing so, developers as well as testers can save quality time and ensure that the process is completed without any difficulty or issue. Therefore, here are two very significant prerequisites of Robotium framework, which should be taken care of before the process of testing applications and other devices begins.

  1. Download and Install JAVA:
    • Java is essential for using Robotium.
    • Add Java libraries to the PATH and set JAVA_HOME to the root of Java installation directory in the environment.
  2. Download ADT Bundle:
    • First the tester should download ADT Bundle.
    • Then extract ADT Bundle zip and put it in a folder.
    • Set ANDROID_HOME to the root of ADT bundle folder in the given environment.


The importance of Robotium is extremely high in Android, as it is one of the most useful and efficient way of testing an Android application. Robotium fully supports native as well as hybrid applications and provides great assistance to developers and programmers in the process of application development. Moreover, one can use command prompt to execute the Robotium test, which not only simplifies the process of testing but also makes it quicker. Furthermore, Robotium can be added to the project’s build automation process and it can be integrated smoothly with Maven or Ant. This extension of Android test framework is an open source test automation framework, which makes it easy to write powerful and robust automatic grey-box UI test for Android applications. By testing an Android application with Robotium framework a tester can ensure that it is developed as per the requirements of the client and that it has exceptional functionality, performance, effectiveness and more. By guaranteeing all these features of the application, one can enjoy immense popularity of the application as well as gain exceptional profits. Therefore, if one wants to increase the popularity of their Android application on Google store, they should opt for Robotium framework.

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