Some opinions about Calabash-iOS

Posted on January 31, 2014

For what concerns iOS my colleagues and I have been using Calabash-iOS for a year now, with mixed feelings.

Here is a totally subjective opinion about Pros and Cons of Calabash-iOS


  • Conciseness of the Gherkin language
  • Capability of querying webviews with CSS selectors
  • Access to all the object property values via Ruby
  • built-in Jenkins-Ready output (xml and HTML test reports, mainly)
  • Performance (on <= iOS 6)
  • It does not uniquely rely on accessibilityIdentifiers (as KIF does)
  • Actively mantained


  • It’s not an Apple-backed project : functionalities change significantly from OS to OS
  • Test fail randomly under certain circumstances and, in particular, when dealing with repeated scrolling on a UIScrollView (due to a poor implementation of the scroll/swipe functions)
  • On iOS 7, it relies on UIAutomation, thus…
  • …terrible performance on iOS 7 (see above)
  • Once again, quite a Pain-in-the-ass to make it work on iOS 7
  • Finding the good query for your element usually requires much trial-and-error via the calabash-ios console (Frank provides a nice UI tool for that task, but it’s not merged into Calabash-iOS yet)

Truth to be told, at this stage, the performance impact of relying on UIAutomation is deal breaker for me, so, on the next project we’ll be using KIF, which appears to be also used in some Google projects.