Timeouts & Waiting

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last updated: 2016-10

It may be necessary for a test to pause execution to allow the user interface to update or for a long running action to complete. For example, a test needs to pause until some task, which it displaying a progress bar, is finished (and therefore dismissing the progress bar).

It is also a good practice for a test to check that a view exists before trying to interact with it. Many of the Calabash API's will fail if a view is animating or not visible.

Calabash provides the wait_for function which will help developers write tests that gracefully pause for some condition to be met. The condition is expressed in the form of a code block that will return true. The code block will be given a number of seconds to return true before a WaitError will be thrown. wait_for has the following signature:

- (nil) wait_for(options_or_timeout = DEFAULT_OPTS, &block)

The following snippet is an example of how to use wait_for to detect the presence of a button on the screen:

wait_for(timeout: 60, timeout_message: "Could not find 'Sign in' button") do
    element_exists("button marked:'Sign in'")
end

wait_for takes a hash of options that allow developers some control over how wait_for works.

OptionDescription
:timeoutThe maximum number of seconds to wait before throwing a `WaitError`. Defaults to 30 seconds.
:retry_frequencyThe number of seconds to wait between retries. Defaults to 0.3 seconds.
:post_timeoutThe number of seconds to wait after the condition is satisified. Defaults to 0.
:timeout_messageThe error message to display if the condition is not satisified.
:screenshot_on_errorIf set to true, then generate a screenshot on error.

Helper Methods

wait_for is intended to be a low level function that forms the basis for a number of WaitHelper methods available that are based on this method. As an example of one of these helpers, the wait_for_element_exists wait until a view, identified by a Calabash query, appears on the screen. This snippet demonstrates how to use the helper:

wait_for_element_exists("button marked:'foo'")

If no view appears on the screen within 30 seconds, then a WaitError will be thrown.

There are differences between the WaitHelpers for Android and the WaitHelpers for iOS. You are strong encouraged to read the API document for each platform

Calabash-iOS and wait_tap

A very common practice is to use wait_for_element_exists to verify that a view has appear (or has stopped animating), and then touch it. For example:

wait_for_element_exists("button marked:'foo'")
tap_mark("foo")

Calabash iOS provides the wait_tap method reduces this boilerplate code. It will wait for a view to appear/stop animating before tapping it:

wait_tap("button marked:'foo'")

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