Fixing timeouts running Android integration tests

I run Android tests on CI and after having switched to Lollipop recently the integration tests wouldn’t run. Invoking androidConnectedTest gradle target always resulted in crashing with ShellCommandUnresponsiveException. Internet says that in such a case ou just need to set ADB_INSTALL_TIMEOUT. I tried to no avail. Sourcediving it is then !

A long while after that I got to this file: [Linking to master, here’s the commit hash:1cb1a4c2976b99ae53d28d7f01d975232c85f990, as I don’t seem to be able to find how to link to that hash directly]  What do we see there ? That indeed ADB_INSTALL_TIMEOUT is being used:

static {
	String installTimeout = System.getenv("ADB_INSTALL_TIMEOUT");
	long time = 4;
	if (installTimeout != null) {
		try {
			time = Long.parseLong(installTimeout);
		} catch (NumberFormatException e) {
			// use default value

So far so good, ADB_INSTALL_TIMEOUT system variable seems to be respected when invoking package installation tools. Are the above the only methods that can install a package though ? Going further on that hunch we see that in addition to installing single packages there is a possibility of having a multi-package installation session.

public void installPackages(List<String> apkFilePaths, int timeOutInMs, boolean reinstall, String... extraArgs) throws InstallException {
if (getApiLevel() < 21) {
	Log.w("Internal error : installPackages invoked with device < 21 for %s",Joiner.on(",").join(apkFilePaths));
	if (apkFilePaths.size() == 1) {
		installPackage(apkFilePaths.get(0), reinstall, extraArgs);
	Log.e("Internal error : installPackages invoked with device < 21 for multiple APK : %s", Joiner.on(",").join(apkFilePaths));
	throw new InstallException("Internal error : installPackages invoked with device < 21 for multiple APK : " + Joiner.on(",").join(apkFilePaths));
String sessionId = createMultiInstallSession(apkFilePaths, extraArgsList, reinstall);

Aha ! Non-Lollipop check here, with a fallback to the old method - we may be onto something ! Some lines pass and we can see an invocation of createMultiInstallSession. What’s there ?

private String createMultiInstallSession(List<String> apkFileNames, @NonNull Collection<String> extraArgs, boolean reinstall) throws TimeoutException, AdbCommandRejectedException, ShellCommandUnresponsiveException, IOException {
String cmd = String.format("pm install-create %1$s -S %2$d", parameters.toString(), totalFileSize);
executeShellCommand(cmd, receiver, DdmPreferences.getTimeOut());

A different invocation of executeShellCommand, now using DdmPreferences.getTimeOut() as a timeout value source.

Summarizing - this only happens if you install multiple applications for your androidConnectedTest and you are using android device to test on that has api version that is equal or greater to 21. That is all cool that we had this little Computer Science Investigation, but how to fix that - i.e. how to have proper timeouts for your installations ? Ideally from somewhere you configure and/or invoke your builds. It turns out that gradle supports invoking just enough Java for us to use there. In your as the very first lines:

println "setting global timeout for apk installation to 10 minutes"

android {
	compileSdkVersion compileSdk
	buildToolsVersion buildTools

That’s it. Invoke your android tests with ADB_INSTALL_TIMEOUT env variable set AND have the DddPreference set in your as in the example above and you should be golden. Happy droiding !

See also