iOS Automated Testing in the BDD with Cucumber, Appium and SauceLabs


The mobile  automation is becoming trending topic these days. There are new tools introducing in the market in order to make the iOS and Android automation hassle free and Appium is one of them.

In this tutorial, we will see how to setup Mac OSX for iOS automation using BDD tool [Cucumber], cloud testing service Saucelabs and Appium server.


Appium is a open source, cross platform test automation tool for the hybrid and native iOS, Andriod and FirefoxOS apps. In the simple term, appium is a server running in the background like Selenium server. The key benefit of the Appium

  • It’s very easy to setup and on different platform.
  • Can write tests in the language of your choice (Ruby, Python, Java, PHP, Node)
  • Can still use Selenium Wbdriver JSON wire protocol 
  • Don’t need to re-compile Mobile app on different platform

You can read more about Appium on Appium-Github page.

Setting up Mac OSX for iOS Automation

Now that, we need to set up our Mac OSX for iOS automation with Cucumber and Appium. There are few tools we need to install in advance before we go ahead with the iOS automation, make sure you have met following requirements

  • OS X 10.8.4 or later
  • Xcode 4.6.3 or later
  • Node and npm (brew install node) (Node must be >= v0.8)

Setting up Cucumber-Ruby environment

There is a nice blog post to setup Mac OXS with Ruby-ish tools [ Moncef’s blog.] Basically, you need to install following tools and services.

  • Xcode with Command line Tools
  • Various versions iOS Simulators. [ It comes with Xcode]
  • Homebrew [Package Management ]
  • Git
  • RVM and Ruby gems
  • Cucumber

Please follow the steps in the @monfresh ‘s blog and you will have the above tools installed in your Mac OSX. On top of that you need to install few other tools.

Install NPM

Install npm using HomeBrew

This will install  node.js package management system.

Install some node pakages

  • Install Grunt

  • Install appium 

  • Install wd

You can follow steps in appium-ruby-console-osx to get everything setup for you.

Setting up Appium

You can install Appium with the following options:

Option 1 : Appium OSX App

If you are on Mac OSX, I would strongly recommend to download Appium dmg.

You can then run app in your Mac and launch server by setting up port and providing suitable app path. Once you click on ‘Launch’ button, Appium will start like this
















Option 2 : Run Appium using node

In order to use Appium with node, run  following commands in your terminal

OR you can clone appium repo










Setting up Mobile App for Appium Tests

There are plenty of open-source mobile iPhone apps available here. I am using PlainNote App for this tutorial.  Let’s create a project and setup our mobile app for Appium tests

Now, you need to compile your app by running

This creates a “build/Release-iphonesimulator” directory in your Xcode project that contains the “” package that you’ll need to communicate with the Appium server.

We need to setup this app with our Appium app. You can see the image above which shows that we have setup PlainNote  app with Appium

Using Appium Inspector

Appium App on OSX is very handy to record and playback tests for your iOS app. You can launch ‘Appium Inspector’ by clicking on ‘i’ icon. Appium Inspector can find elements and perform actions on it. You can record and playback tests using Ruby, Python, Java, node etc etc.

Watch this video Demo 


Setting up Cucumber and Appium

Let’s create Cucumber project to run our iOS automated tests using Appium. We have already created ‘cucumber-appium’ directory above, we will set up cucumber project there. We need to make sure that, we are using ruby 1.9.3

  • Create Gemfile

We need Gemfile in order to specify all our dependencies

Now insert following dependencies into the Gemfile

Now we need to install bundle to download all dependencies

This will create ‘Gemfile.lock’ file.

  •  Create Feature File 

Now, we will write a feature file using Given When Then format. The feature file is written using Gherkin Domain Specific Language.

Let’s create ‘features/plain_note.feature‘ file.

PlainNote app feature will look something like this

This feature is self explanatory, we are going to add new note and make sure it displayed on Home page.

  • Setup Cucumber Environment  

Let’s create ‘features/support/env.rb‘ where we can put our support code.

Insert following code in the file.

Now that, we have specified APP_PATH and defined server url where our Appium server is running. We have also created ‘selenium’ driver with all required desired capabilities. We will using ‘selenium’ object in our step_definition

  •  Write Step definitions using Selenium-Webdriver  JSON Wire Protocol

At this point if you run ‘bundle exec cucumber’ command it will tell you steps that are not implemented yet. We need to implement these step definitions using Selenium-Webdriver JSON Wire Protocol for Appium. Now , we will create step definition file and implement it

Now add these step definitions to the file.


Now We are done with all steps now start appium server and run

You will see that application is launched with Xcode performing all the actions on Mobile app





You will see all the steps passed.

Setting up Cucumber, Appium and SauceLabs

Saucelabs is a cloud testing framework which allow us to setup cross-browser, cross-platform and cross-device tests in the cloud. Saucelabs [@saucelabs] recently announced appium support which makes it easier to test Mobile apps in the cloud. You need to have saucelabs account in order to use it if not you can sign up for free account.

Note: I have used my Saucelabs details for this tutorial, you can try with your own.

App Setup for Sauce

In order to test PlainNote App on Saucelabs, we need to do some initial setup.

  • Compile App for Sauce 

In order to compile PlainNote App with sauce, we need to checkout an app to the different location.

Now we need to compile PlainNote App with sauce. [ Note Additional parameter TARGET_DEVICE_FAMILY]

In Sauce, TARGETED_DEVICE_FAMILY parameter had different values e.g 1 is for iPhone, 2 is for iPad and 1,2 is for universal apps.

Now, once build is successful, it will create “” at ‘/build/Release-iphonesimulator‘.

  •  Zip the PlainNote App & Upload to SauceLabs 

Now you will see ‘‘ file in that directory

Now, we need to upload this file to Sauce Labs temporary stoarage using Sauce REST API

It will show you response

It will be now uploaded to ““. This will look like :



Note: I have committed “” file to GitHub , so that you can use it directly to upload it to SauceLabs.

Now, our App is ready to use it on SauceLabs

Cucumber- SauceLabs-Appium Setup

In Order to setup mobile APP on the Sauce Labs,  we need to define ‘profile’ in the ‘featues/support/env.rb‘ file

  • Add Sauce Capabilities and Sauce Url

We need to add sauce_capabilities mentioned in the saucelabs appium tutorial. We also need to specify sauce-url where the tests will be running. It would be saucelabs  url ‘’

  •  Add Driver for Sauce

You can see in the source code that, we have new feature file ‘features/plain_note_sauce.feature’ implemented in the same way but using sauce driver object in the ‘feature/step_definitions/plain_note_sauce.rb’ 

Now you can run sauce feature file

and you will see Tests running on the SauceLabs. Once everything done.


You can watch video and screenshots of what happened on SauceLabs over  here 


The source-code of the demo is available on GitHub Cucumber-Appium. You can try it yourself.

To run with local profile, start Appium and

To run against Sauce, you need to upload App  to sauce using your sauce details also change usename and api key in the ‘features/support/env.rb‘ with you details

Then you can run sauce feature with Appium.


Mobile testing framework Appium can be used for iOS automation with BDD tool like Cucumber and cloud testing services SauceLabs. Happy BDD !


Watch Cucumber-Appium

Watch Cucumber-Appium-SauceLabs