Antoine Merle

Android Developer

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Introduction to the Monkey Runner tool


Hi everyone welcome and in my blog for this post dedicated to Monkey Runner (Introduction by Google here). This post could be the extension of the first, which one was about Monkey (link here).

This post won’t be a course but an introduction, because the aim is to discover by yourself how much this tool can be powerful. Monkey Runner is a tool which let the developer create programs which control the connected device/emulator.These programs will be developed in Python, and can install, launch and manipulate apps, and take screenshots. This is what we need to complete a Ant script which could build and sign the app for example. Indeed, if you have many applications, automate builds/tests, etc. becomes very interesting in order to gain time… and also because letting the computer to do all the job is pretty exciting!

Stop talking, and let’s go. The API is contained in three modules which are:

  • MonkeyRunner : Class which provides methods for connecting a device/emulator.
  • MonkeyDevice : Class which provides methods for installing/uninstalling packages, sending events to an application (gestures, keyboard events, etc.)
  • MonkeyImage : Class which provides methods for capturing screenshots.

Let’s create our monkeyrunner file, call it for example (.py because I need my syntax coloring on vim :p)

from import MonkeyRunner, MonkeyDevice
import commands
import sys
# starting script
print "start"
# connection to the current device, and return a MonkeyDevice object
device = MonkeyRunner.waitForConnection()
apk_path ='pm path com.myapp')
if apk_path.startswith('package:'):
    print "myapp already installed."
    print "myapp not installed, installing APKs..."
print "launching myapp..."
result = device.takeSnapshot()
print "screen 1 taken"
#sending an event which simulate a click on the menu button'KEYCODE_MENU', MonkeyDevice.DOWN_AND_UP)
print "end of script"

To launch this script you only have to execute this command:


Note 1The monkeyrunner command is situated in [android-sdk-path]/tools/

Note 2: If you are developing on windows, you may have to put the absolute paths (C:/etc.).

Note 3: You can of course run your Unit tests !

And voilà! You have now the most basic script in the world of the universe, which connect monkeyrunner to a device, install and launch an application, take and save a screenshot, and clic on the menu button, you can now imagine all the things you can do.

Please if you have any criticism/notes/suggestions, do not hesitate to write a comment, and if you liked this post, do not hesitate to share it!