Testing Hybrid Apps Flows with emptyComposeRule

Recently, we have migrated one of our app screens to Compose - in an experiment that reduced the UI layer codebase by 60%. However, by the time we wanted to test our app we found a problem.

At work, we have a small set of critical tests that we run as pure E2E tests. Therefore, every test starts by launching the app and traverse several different screens to verify that its expectations are met. In some scenarios we do start the Activity to be tested, allowing us to skip some harder to set-up steps.

By looking at the general-purpose documentation to testing with Compose, there are some mentions to the createAndroidComposeRule() for the cases you want to test an Activity that hosts Compose content (which was our case).

In a general case, this approach is simple enough: you specify the activity you want to launch in the rule, and then you use the same rule to perform assertions on the Compose content:

val rule = createAndroidComposeRule<FeatureActivity>()

fun testExpectedBehavior() {
	rule.onNodeWithText("My text")

However, for our situation it didn’t fit our needs for two distinct reasons:

  1. Our testing infrastructure is still relying on the deprecated ActivityTestRule - while the createAndroidComposeRule works on top of ActivityScenario. To accommodate this, we would have to perform a migration and it would block the Compose initiative.

  2. For the cases where we want to launch an Activity with a specific start Intent, we weren’t able to found an API that allows us to specify the start Intent.

val rule = createAndroidComposeRule<FeatureActivity>() 

// how can I define different starting `Intent` data for each test?

The traditional ActivityScenario.launch(Intent) would cover this scenario, but the public API of the createAndroidComposeRule didn’t offer this option.


Inspecting the source code, I then found the emptyComposeRule():

A typical use case on Android is when the test needs to launch an Activity (the compose host) after one or more dependencies have been injected.

This rule suited our needs since it allows an independent launch/setup of the Activity to be launched. This way all we have to do is to declare it, define how you want to launch your Activity, and then use the rule to assert your Compose views.

A good example of usage would be:

val composeRule = createEmptyComposeRule()

fun testExpectedBehavior() {
   val targetContext = InstrumentationRegistry.getInstrumentation().targetContext
   val intent = Intent(targetContext, FeatureActivity::class.java)
       .putExtra("id", "12345")
   val scenario = ActivityScenario.launch(intent)
      .onNodeWithText("My Text")

I hope this helps you.

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