Write Once, Run Everywhere Tests on Android

Jonathan Gerrish
Android Developers
Published in
3 min readNov 1, 2018


At Google I/O this year, we launched AndroidX Test, part of Jetpack. Today we’re happy to announce the release of v1.0.0 Final alongside Robolectric v4.0. As part of the 1.0.0 release, all of AndroidX Test is now open source.

AndroidX Test provides common test APIs across test environments including instrumentation and Robolectric tests. It includes the existing Android JUnit 4 support, the Espresso view interaction library, and several new key testing APIs. These APIs are available for instrumentation tests on real and virtual devices. As of Robolectric 4.0, they are available for local JVM tests, too.

Consider the following use case where we launch the login screen, enter a valid username and password, and make sure we’re taken to the home screen.

class LoginActivityTest {
@Test fun successfulLogin() {
val scenario =

Lets step through the test:

  1. We use the new ActivityScenario API to launch the LoginActivity. This creates the activity and brings it to the resumed state, where it is visible to the user and ready for input. ActivityScenario handles all the synchronization with the system and provides support for common scenarios you should be testing such as how your app handles being destroyed and recreated by the system.
  2. We use the Espresso view interaction library to enter text into two text fields and click a button in the UI. Similar to ActivityScenario, Espresso handles multi-threading and synchronization for you and surfaces a readable and fluent API to author tests with.
  3. We use the new Intents.getIntents() Espresso API that returns a list of captured intents. We then verify the captured intents using IntentSubject.assertThat(), part of the new Android Truth extensions. The Android Truth extension provides an expressive and readable API to validate states of fundamental Android framework objects.

This test can run on a local JVM using Robolectric or any physical or virtual device.

To run it on an Android device, place it in your “androidTest” source root along with the following dependencies:


Running on a physical or virtual device gives you confidence that your code interacts with the Android system correctly. As you scale up the number of test cases, however, you start to sacrifice test execution time. You may decide to only run a few larger tests on a real device while running a large number of smaller unit tests on a simulator, such as Robolectric, which can run tests more quickly on a local JVM.

To run the tests on a local JVM using the Robolectric simulator place the test in the “test” source root, adding the following lines to your gradle.build:

testImplementation (“org.robolectric:robolectric:4.0”)
android {
testOptions.unitTests.includeAndroidResources = true

The unification of testing apis between simulators and instrumentation opens up a lot of exciting possibilities! Project Nitrogen, which we also announced at Google I/O, will allow you to seamlessly move tests between runtime environments. This means that you will be able to take tests written against the new AndroidX Test APIs and run them on a local JVM, real or virtual device, or even a cloud based testing platform such as Firebase Test Lab. We are very excited by the opportunities this will provide developers to get fast, accurate, and actionable feedback on the quality of their applications.

Finally, we are happy to announce that all AndroidX components are fully open sourced and we look forward to welcoming your contributions.

Read more

Documentation: https://developer.android.com/testing

Release notes:

Robolectric: https://github.com/robolectric/robolectric

AndroidX Test: https://github.com/android/android-test