Sauce Labs Launches iOS App Testing Service in the Cloud

Sauce Labs announced the availability of Appium on Sauce, a new service for testing iOS apps in the cloud.

Sauce Labs, a maker of cloud-based Web application testing services for software developers, has announced a new offering for automating the testing of applications for iOS devices.

The new service, known as Appium on Sauce, is based on the Appium open-source project. Appium is an open-source test-automation tool for native and hybrid mobile apps. It supports iOS today, and Android support is in the works. Appium drives Apple's UIAutomation library using Selenium's WebDriver JSON wire protocol.

Appium on Sauce provides a cloud-based, automated testing platform for both native iOS apps and mobile Web hybrid apps.

In building its Appium on Sauce, Sauce Labs contributed to the open-source Appium project, based on the Node.js platform. Appium features broad support for native and mobile Web automation on iOS. The company said the Appium open-source project is taking the right approach because of the software's compatibility with multiple programming languages and testing frameworks, support for testing strategies that require direct access to back-end resources, and ability to automate unmodified, release-ready apps.

The Appium on Sauce service is available immediately for select Sauce Labs customers with new users being added by invite only. Full general availability is expected in the coming weeks as the company scales its infrastructure.

Sauce Labs offers a cloud of browsers and platforms for automated and manual testing of Web and mobile apps. The company's software-as-a-service (SaaS) application is used by some of the largest consumer and enterprise brands. The Sauce testing cloud is already used to run approximately 2 million tests each month with that number continuing to grow, the company said.

"As the world becomes more mobile and online interactions increasingly move to specialized applications, it's increasingly important that these apps perform and meet consumer demands," said Adam Christian, vice president of development at Sauce Labs, in a statement. "Testing these apps has been a slow and difficult process, often done manually by teams using physical devices. Automated testing enabled by Appium represents the future, and Appium written in Node.js represents the best course toward ensuring the code continues to evolve as needs change."

Okta, a provider of enterprise cloud identity solutions, has been an early user of the Appium on Sauce cloud.

"Appium from Sauce Labs is a major advancement in automated testing," Denali Lumma, quality engineering manager at Okta, said in a statement. "What they've provided for native iOS test automation is familiar and straightforward, based on the WebDriver APIs. This makes writing and maintaining iOS tests extremely easy."

Development of Appium in the cloud coincides with the growing industry shift into mobile software, according to Lumma. "Sauce Labs has delivered strategically and technically," said Lumma. "They enable our business to compete with the best in the world by providing the rock-solid, innovative infrastructure we use to ensure excellent quality with lighting-fast product development."

Another early adapter of automated functional testing with Appium on Sauce is Everest, an app designed to help people meet personal goals. Roderic Campbell, senior iOS engineer at Everest, said of the service: "I've watched Sauce Labs create great products for the Web for years and have been jealous that I wasn't working on products that could utilize their experience. Now they are putting their expertise into Appium, which is perfect for mobile developers. Watching your product run through Appium on Sauce for the first time is kind of unreal. This could eliminate a lot of late nights."

Sauce Labs has long been a supporter of open-source projects. Its core test cloud for testing Web applications is based on open-source Selenium. In addition, Sauce Labs officials said they are glad to see that Appium, originally written in Python, is moving forward in Node.js because of the vibrant community base, the potential for attracting new contributors from among the many developers who know JavaScript, and the special relevance of JavaScript as the existing primary language for iOS automation.