Scrolling in integration tests

Many apps feature lists of content, from email clients to music apps and beyond. In order to verify that lists contain the content we expect using integration tests, we need a way to scroll through lists to search for particular items.

In order to scroll through lists via integration tests, we can use the methods provided by the FlutterDriver class, which is included in the flutter_driver package:

In this recipe, we’ll learn how to scroll through a list of items in order to verify a specific Widget is being displayed, and discuss the pros on cons of different approaches. If you’re just getting started with integration testing, please read through the Introduction to integration testing recipe.

Directions

  1. Create an app with a list of items
  2. Instrument the app
  3. Write a test that scrolls through the list
  4. Run the test

1. Create an app with a list of items

In this recipe, we’ll build an app that shows a long list of items. In order to keep this recipe focused on testing, we’ll use the app we created in the Working with long lists recipe. If you’re unsure of how to work with lists of content, please see that recipe for an introduction.

As we did in the Introduction to integration testing recipe, we’ll also add keys to the widgets we want to interact with inside our integration tests.

import 'package:flutter/foundation.dart';
import 'package:flutter/material.dart';

void main() {
  runApp(MyApp(
    items: List<String>.generate(10000, (i) => "Item $i"),
  ));
}

class MyApp extends StatelessWidget {
  final List<String> items;

  MyApp({Key key, @required this.items}) : super(key: key);

  @override
  Widget build(BuildContext context) {
    final title = 'Long List';

    return MaterialApp(
      title: title,
      home: Scaffold(
        appBar: AppBar(
          title: Text(title),
        ),
        body: ListView.builder(
          // Add a key to the ListView. This allows us to find the list and
          // scroll through it in our tests
          key: Key('long_list'),
          itemCount: items.length,
          itemBuilder: (context, index) {
            return ListTile(
              title: Text(
                '${items[index]}',
                // Add a key to the Text Widget for each item. This allows
                // us to look for a particular item in the list and verify the
                // text is correct
                key: Key('item_${index}_text'),
              ),
            );
          },
        ),
      ),
    );
  }
}

2. Instrument the app

Next, we’ll need to create an instrumented version of our app. This code lives in a file called test_driver/app.dart.

import 'package:flutter_driver/driver_extension.dart';
import 'package:scrollable_app/main.dart' as app;

void main() {
  // This line enables the extension
  enableFlutterDriverExtension();

  // Call the `main()` function of your app or call `runApp` with any widget you
  // are interested in testing.
  app.main();
}

3. Write a test that scrolls through the list

Now, we can write our test! In this example, we need to scroll through the list of items and verify that a particular item exists in the list. The FlutterDriver class provides three methods for scrolling through lists:

  • The scroll method allows us to scroll through a specific list by a given amount.
  • The scrollIntoView method finds a specific Widget that’s already been rendered, and will scroll it completely into view. Some Widgets, such as ListView.builder, render items on-demand.
  • The scrollUntilVisible method scrolls through a list until a specific Widget is visible.

While all three methods work for specific use-cases, scrollUntilVisible is oftentimes the most robust option. Why?

  1. If we use the scroll method alone, we might incorrectly assume the height of each item in the list. This could lead to scrolling too much or too little.
  2. If we use the scrollIntoView method, we assume the Widget has been instantiated and rendered. In order to verify our apps work on a broad range of devices, we might run our integration tests against devices with different screen sizes. Since ListView.builder will render items on-demand, whether or not a particular Widget has been rendered can depend on the size of the screen.

Therefore, rather than assuming we know the height of all the items in a list, or that a particular Widget will be rendered on all devices, we can use the scrollUntilVisible method to repeatedly scroll through a list of items until we find what we’re looking for!

Let’s see how we can use the scrollUntilVisible method to look through the list for a particular item! This code lives in a file called test_driver/app_test.dart.

// Imports the Flutter Driver API
import 'package:flutter_driver/flutter_driver.dart';
import 'package:test/test.dart';

void main() {
  group('Scrollable App', () {
    FlutterDriver driver;

    // Connect to the Flutter driver before running any tests
    setUpAll(() async {
      driver = await FlutterDriver.connect();
    });

    // Close the connection to the driver after the tests have completed
    tearDownAll(() async {
      if (driver != null) {
        await driver.close();
      }
    });

    test('verifies the list contains a specific item', () async {
      // Create two SerializableFinders. We will use these to locate specific
      // Widgets displayed by the app. The names provided to the byValueKey
      // method correspond to the Keys we provided to our Widgets in step 1.
      final listFinder = find.byValueKey('long_list');
      final itemFinder = find.byValueKey('item_50_text');

      await driver.scrollUntilVisible(
        // Scroll through this list
        listFinder,
        // Until we find this item
        itemFinder,
        // In order to scroll down the list, we need to provide a negative
        // value to dyScroll. Ensure this value is a small enough increment to
        // scroll the item into view without potentially scrolling past it.
        //
        // If you need to scroll through horizontal lists, provide a dxScroll
        // argument instead
        dyScroll: -300.0,
      );

      // Verify the item contains the correct text
      expect(
        await driver.getText(itemFinder),
        'Item 50',
      );
    });
  });
}

4. Run the test

Finally, we can run the test using the following command from the root of the project:

flutter drive --target=test_driver/app.dart