Running Appium from Source

So you want to run Appium from source and help fix bugs and add features? Great! Just fork the project, make a change, and send a pull request! Please have a look at our Style Guide before getting to work. Please make sure the unit and functional tests pass before sending a pull request; for more information on how to run tests, keep reading!


Appium is written in JavaScript, and run with the Node.js engine. Currently version 6+ is supported. While Node.js can be installed globally on the system, a version manager is highly recommended. NVM - N -

Your Node.js installation will include the NPM package manager, which Appium will need in order to manage dependencies. Appiums supports NPM version 3+.

Setting up Appium from Source

An Appium setup involves the Appium server, which sends messages back and forth between your test code and devices/emulators, and a test script, written in whatever language binding exists that is compatible with Appium. Run an instance of an Appium server, and then run your test.

The quick way to get started:

git clone
cd appium
npm install
npm run build
node .

Hacking on Appium

Install the appium-doctor tool, and run it to verify all of the dependencies are set up correctly (since dependencies for building Appium are different from those for simply running it):

npm install -g appium-doctor
appium-doctor --dev

Install the Node.js dependencies:

npm install

When pulling new code from GitHub, if there are changes to package.json it is necessary to remove the old dependencies and re-run npm install:

rm -rf node_modules && rm -rf package-lock.json && npm install

At this point, you will be able to start the Appium server:

node .

See the server documentation for a full list of command line arguments that can be used.

Hacking with Appium for iOS

To avoid a security dialog that may appear when launching your iOS apps you'll have to modify your /etc/authorization file in one of two ways:

  1. Manually modify the element following <allow-root> under <key>system.privilege.taskport</key> in your /etc/authorization file to <true/>.

  2. Run the following command which automatically modifies your /etc/authorization file for you:

    npm install -g authorize-ios sudo authorize-ios

At this point, run:

rm -rf node_modules && rm -rf package-lock.json && npm install

Now your Appium instance is ready to go. Run node . to kick up the Appium server.

Hacking with Appium for Android

To work on Android, make sure you have ant, maven, and adb installed and added to system PATH environment variable. Also you would need the android-16 sdk (for Selendroid) and android-19+ sdk installed. From your local repo's command prompt, install/run the following:

Set up Appium by running:

rm -rf node_modules && rm -rf package-lock.json && npm install

Make sure you have one and only one Android emulator or device running, e.g., by running this command in another process (assuming the emulator command is on your path):

emulator -avd <MyAvdName>

Now you are ready to run the Appium server via node ..

Making sure you're up to date

Since Appium uses dev versions of some packages, it often becomes necessary to install new npm packages or update various things. Running npm install will update everything necessary. You will also need to do this when Appium bumps its version up. Prior to running npm install it is recommended to remove all the old dependencies in the node_modules directory:

rm -rf node_modules && rm -rf package-lock.json && npm install

Different packages

Appium is made up of a number of different packages. While it is often possible to work in a single package, it is also often the case that work, whether fixing a bug or adding a new feature, requires working on multiple packages simultaneously.

Unfortunately the dependencies installed when running npm install are those that have already been published, so some work is needed to link together local development versions of the packages that are being worked on.

In the case where one package, A, depends on another package, B, the following steps are necessary to link the two: 1. In one terminal, enter into package B cd B 2. Use NPM link to create symbolic link to this package npm link 3. In another terminal, enter into package A cd A 4. Use NPM link to link the dependent package B to the development version npm link B

Now the version of B that A uses will be your local version. Remember, however, that changes made to the JavaScript will only be available when they have been transpiled, so when you are going to test from package A, run npm run build in the directory for package B.

Running Tests

First, check out our documentation on running tests in general Make sure your system is set up properly for the platforms you desire to test on.

Once your system is set up and your code is up to date, you can run unit tests with:

npm run test

You can run functional tests for all supported platforms (after ensuring that Appium is running in another window with node .) with:

npm run e2e-test

Debugging Node

This project has multiple launch configurations for running NodeJS code from within VSCode

Committing code

Each Appium package installs a pre-commit hook which will run the linter and the unit tests before the commit is made. Any error in either of these will stop the commit from occurring.

Once code is committed and a pull request is made to the correct Appium respository on GitHub, Appium build system will run all of the functional tests.