Automating Desktop Applications with Python and WinAppDriver

If you are a developer or tester who works on desktop applications, you know how tedious it can be to perform the same manual tests over and over. Fortunately, there is a way to automate these tests using Python and WinAppDriver. In this blog post, we will show you how to use these powerful tools to automate your desktop application tests.

Before getting started, it is important to understand what WinAppDriver is. WinAppDriver is a free test automation tool for Windows desktop applications. It supports UI automation of Windows Forms, WPF, and Win32 applications, as well as Microsoft Store apps. WinAppDriver works by injecting a library into the application under test, allowing automation scripts to interact with the UI elements of the application.

To get started with WinAppDriver, you will need to download and install it from the official website. Once installed, you can use the WinAppDriver API to interact with your desktop application in Python.

Here are the basic steps to automate a desktop application using Python and WinAppDriver:

  1. Start the WinAppDriver server.
  2. Launch your desktop application.
  3. Create a WinAppDriver session for the running application.
  4. Use the session to find UI elements in the application by name, ID, class name, or XPath.
  5. Interact with the UI elements through actions like clicks, typing, or scrolling.
  6. Verify the results of your actions by checking the state of UI elements.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.

Step 1: Start the WinAppDriver server

To start the WinAppDriver server, simply run the following command in the command prompt:


You should see a message indicating that the server is running on a specific port.

Step 2: Launch your desktop application

Next, launch the desktop application that you want to automate.

Step 3: Create a WinAppDriver session

In Python, you can create a WinAppDriver session for the running application by using the RemoteWebDriver class from the Selenium package. Here is an example:

from selenium.webdriver import Remote

session = Remote(
        'app': 'C:\\path\\to\\your\\application.exe',
        'ms:experimental-webdriver': True,
        'ms:extensionPaths': ['C:\\path\\to\\your\\app\\extensions']

This code creates a WinAppDriver session for the application at the specified path. Note that you may need to modify the desired_capabilities dictionary depending on the specifics of your application.

Step 4: Find UI elements

Once you have the session, you can use it to find UI elements in the application. Here is an example:

element = session.find_element_by_name('button_name')

This code finds an element in the application by its name.

Step 5: Interact with UI elements

Once you have found the element, you can interact with it using various actions. For example, to click on a button, you can use the following code:

To type in a text field, you can use the following code:


Step 6: Verify results

Finally, you can use the session to check the state of UI elements to verify that your actions were successful. Here is an example:

result = element.get_attribute('value')
assert result == 'expected_value'

This code gets the value of an element and verifies that it matches the expected value.


That’s it! With Python and WinAppDriver, you can automate your desktop application tests and save yourself hours of manual testing. If you haven’t tried it yet, we highly recommend giving it a try. Happy automating!

See also