The following is the first few sections of a chapter from The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, plus headings for the remaining major sections, to give you an idea about the content of the chapter.

Testing with JUnit4

Presumably, you will want to test your code, beyond just playing around with it yourself by hand. Android offers several means of testing your app, covered in this next series of chapters.

The first Android SDK testing solution we will examine is the JUnit test framework. This is a standard Java unit testing framework. Originally, Android itself “baked in” a copy of JUnit3. This has since been deprecated, and modern Android testing is done with a separate copy of JUnit4, in the form of a AndroidJUnitRunner class.

In this chapter, we will review how to apply the AndroidJUnitRunner to run JUnit4 tests for our Android apps.


Understanding this chapter requires that you have read the chapter on Gradle dependencies.

This chapter also assumes you have some familiarity with JUnit, though you certainly do not need to be an expert. You can learn more about JUnit at the JUnit site.

Instrumentation Tests and Unit Tests

There are two places in Android app development where we use JUnit4: instrumentation tests and unit tests. Both serve the same objective: confirm that our code runs as expected. What differs in where the code lives (androidTest versus test sourcesets) and where the code runs (inside of Android or on your development machine directly).

The following sections outline the differences between the two, though there is a separate chapter dedicated to unit testing, with the bulk of this chapter focused on instrumentation testing.

Where Your Test Code Lives

One common problem with testing is determining where the test code should reside, relative to the production code being tested. Ideally, these are not intermingled, as that would increase the odds that you might accidentally ship the testing code as part of your production app — at best, this increases your APK size; at worst, it could open up security flaws.

With Gradle-based projects, including those created for Android Studio, we have a dedicated sourceset for our instrumentation tests, named androidTest, where the code for those tests would reside.

As with any sourceset, androidTest can have Java code, resources, etc. It does not need an AndroidManifest.xml file, though, as that will be auto-generated.

Unit tests, by contrast, will go in a test sourceset.

Where Your Test Code Runs

Ordinarily, each code base (e.g., project) is packaged in its own APK and is executed in its own process.

In the case of instrumentation tests, your test code and your production code are combined into a single process in a single copy of the virtual machine.

This will allow your JUnit test methods to access objects from your production code, such as your activities and their widgets.

However, this does limit instrumentation testing to be run from a developer’s computer. You cannot package JUnit tests to be initiated from the device itself, except perhaps on rooted devices.

Unit tests, on the other hand, bypass Android and run straight on your development machine. As a result, they cannot use much of the Android SDK, and so these tests are limited in terms of what they can test. However, they will run much more quickly, and so it may be worthwhile to set up a subset of your tests as unit tests.

Writing JUnit4 Test Cases

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Configuring Gradle

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Running Your Instrumentation Tests

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Testing Android Library Projects

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