Working with Devices in TF

Trade Federation uses an abstraction called ITestDevice to run tests. This abstraction objectifies the lowest-common-denominator Android device:

  • It has a serial number
  • It has a state: Online, Available, Recovery, or Not Available
  • It has some notion of reliability. For instance, if we run a command, we can differentiate between the case where the command hasn't finished yet, the case where the device doesn't support running commands, and the case where the device has become unresponsive while running the command.

Device classes

The three primary implementations of ITestDevice represent three common usecases.

Physical device

This is an actual piece of hardware, connected to the TF host machine either by USB, or by using adb's TCP feature. The TestDevice class sits atop the ddmlib library, which is a Java interface to adb. So any physical device listed in adb devices can be instantiated and used as a TestDevice.


Emulators are handled specially by TF because they live in another process. To interact with an Emulator, specify the --emulator argument for the command. See LocalSdkBuildProvider and SdkAvdPreparer for more info.

No device

Suppose you have a test that doesn't interact with a device at all. For instance, it might just download a file from some service and verify that the file itself is valid. The NullDevice is an ITestDevice that is just a stub. It has a serial number like null-device-N, and most attempted operations either no-op silently or throw.