App Actions test tool

The App Actions test tool is an Android Studio plugin for developers creating App Actions. During development and testing, you use the App Actions test tool to create a preview of your App Actions in Assistant (for your Google account). You can then test how your App Action handles various parameters prior to submitting it for deployment.

What it does

The App Actions test tool parses your actions.xml file and creates a preview of your App Actions for a single Google account. These previews enable Google Assistant to recognize your App Actions prior to deploying the production version of your app to the Google Play Console.

For each built-in intent (BII) in your actions.xml file, the plugin renders a corresponding JSON-LD object and provides default parameter values. You can then modify those values to test your App Actions with meaningful parameter combinations and ensure they perform the correct app functions. Previews can be created, updated, and deleted in the test tool, allowing you to iterate and test your App Actions in a safe environment.

Once a preview is generated, you can trigger an App Action on your test device directly from the test tool window. For built-in intents that are available for user triggering, you can also use the invocation name directly in Assistant on your device to try out your App Action. For example, you could say, "Hey Google, start my exercise using ExampleApp" to launch an App Action that uses the actions.intent.START_EXERCISE built-in intent.

Locale support

Preview creation for specific locales in the App Actions test tool varies by built-in intent (BII). The page for each BII in the built-in intent reference provides information on what functionality is available for that built-in intent, like the locales where preview creation in the test tool is available, and whether App Actions using that BII are available for users to trigger.

Getting the tool

The App Actions test tool is available as a plugin to Android Studio. For information about installing and using Android Studio, see the Android Studio page.

To install the App Actions test tool in Android Studio, do the following:

  1. Go to File > Settings (Android Studio > Preferences on MacOS).
  2. In the Plugins section, go to Marketplace and search for App Actions Test Tool.
  3. Install the tool and restart Android Studio.

You can also download the plugin directly from the Jetbrains public repository.

Setup requirements

Using the App Actions test tool requires a number of configuration steps to allow your Action to be successfully tested. In particular, you must use the same user account in Android Studio, on your test device, and for Google Play console access.

Prepare your development environment with the following configurations:

  • Sign in to Android Studio (version 3.4 or higher).
  • With the same account, sign in to the Google app on your Android test device.
  • With the same account, get Play Console access to the uploaded app package to be tested.
  • Open the Google app on your Android test device and finish the initial Assistant setup process.
  • Enable device data syncing on your test device.

Limitations

The App Actions test tool has the following limitations:

  • App Action previews are only accessible on physical devices. Attempts to trigger an App Action preview on a virtual device are likely to result in the message "Sorry, I couldn't find that".
  • App Actions that incorporate web inventory cannot be tested directly in the test tool or by Android debug bridge (adb) commands. To test those App Actions, first create a preview using the test tool. Then, trigger those App Actions by interacting with Google Assistant on your physical device.
  • Inline inventory for the actions.intent.OPEN_APP_FEATURE built-in intent can only be tested for a period of 6 hours after a preview is created or updated. Update the test tool preview or create a new preview to reset the 6 hour time period.

Add additional testers

You can invite additional users to your project so they can test your App Actions integration. This is useful when you want to share the project with other members of your development team so they can all test, or when sharing your project with quality assurance (QA) testers in preparation for production launch. Testers must be added as license testers on the Google Play Store and granted read-only access to Google Play Console.

To add additional testers, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Play Console.
  2. Follow the instructions under 'Set up application licensing' in this this Play Console Help topic.

    Add a license tester via the Google Play Console.
    Figure 1. Adding a license tester.
  1. Grant the license tester’s Gmail account as a Google Play Console read-only user.
    1. Select User & permissions > Invite new user > Add an app.
    2. Select View app information and unselect the flag for Global.

For each tester that you want to enable for preview testing, you must log in separately to Android Studio with that user's Gmail account. Once logged in, use the App Actions test tool to create a preview for the test user.

Using the tool

Access the App Actions test tool in Android Studio by going to Tools > App Actions > App Actions Test Tool or by selecting App Actions Test Tool in the right-click context menu. When you open the tool, the view changes based on if you have an active test tool preview.

Creating, updating, and deleting previews

You can use a draft version of the app for testing. For more information, see Prepare and release rollout. We highly encourage you to test your app in draft mode before submitting it for review.

The test tool creates previews based on your Google account and app package name (application ID), so you can test multiple apps with the same Google account. As long as your application ID is different for each app, you can continue to use the same Google account for preview creation and testing. Multiple Google accounts with access to the same app package can each use the test tool to create separate previews for that app.

To create a preview, do the following in Android Studio:

  1. Open the App Actions test tool.
  2. Optionally enter an invocation name and locale for testing. The default invocation name and locale are test app action and en-US.
  3. Click Create Preview. Once your preview is created, the test tool window updates to display information about BIIs found in your actions.xml file.

The invocation name is used by the test tool to construct and simulate Assistant queries for your App Actions. Deployed App Actions use your Play Store app name for invocation, but you can use any invocation name in the test tool. We recommend using the name of your app as your invocation name in the test tool.

The locale you provide must match the language of Google Assistant on your test device, and you can only create a preview in one locale at a time. For example, if your Assistant language is English (US), you can enter en-US but not en-**, en-GB, or en-US, en-GB.

To change the invocation name or selected locale for an existing preview, click the Delete Preview button in the test tool. Then, enter the desired invocation name and locale before creating a new preview.

To update an existing preview to match your actions.xml file, click the Update Preview button in the test tool. Information about your current preview is in the Test App Action section of the test tool window.

Configuring a built-in intent

Once you've created a preview for your app, you can test various parameter values for built-in intents in the plugin. For each BII in your actions.xml file, the plugin renders a corresponding JSON-LD object and provides default parameter values. You can modify those default values to test your App Actions with meaningful parameter combinations and ensure they perform the correct app functions.

Parameters and their values typically follow the schema.org or schema.googleapis.com structure for properties and descriptions. You can find information about any given built-in intent parameter by accessing the schema type descriptions of a parameter and its higher level parameters as labeled.

For example, the actions.intent.CREATE_MONEY_TRANSFER built-in intent supports the intent parameter moneyTransfer.transferMode. The schema.googleapis.com page for MoneyTransfer lists transferMode as a property. The transferMode property is a mode of transfer, and it expects values (like SendMoney) of the enumerated FinancialTransferMode type. In the test tool, you can provide either of the enumerations as the value of transferMode:

  • http://schema.googleapis.com/SendMoney
  • http://schema.googleapis.com/ReceiveMoney

Triggering App Actions

After creating a preview and configuring a built-in intent, you can trigger an App Action on your test device directly from the test tool window.

To trigger an App Action with the test tool, do the following:

  1. Connect your test device.
  2. In the Select Target Device section, choose the device where you want to trigger your App Action.
  3. In the Test App Action section, click the Run button.

App Actions triggered in the test tool use the displayed Android Debug Bridge (adb) command. The generated adb shell command includes all the metadata required by the Google app to execute a built-in intent. This approach mimics the behavior of your App Action after Assistant extracts key pieces of information from a query.

Android Studio logging

Logs specific to the test tool are available in the Android Studio log files, not as Logcat output. Android Studio logs are generated by processes running directly on your workstation, and you can use them to troubleshoot test tool operations like creating, updating, or deleting a preview.

To access your Android Studio log files, go to Help > Show log in explorer (Help > Show log in finder on MacOS).

Logs related to App Actions for your app are available in Logcat. Logcat captures logs from virtual or physical devices connected to Android Studio.

To get App Actions logs for your device, follow these steps:

  1. Access your Logcat log messages by clicking Logcat in the Android Studio tool window bar.
  2. Search for logs that include ActivityTaskManager.

Get support and additional resources

The App Actions test tool assistant provides links to documentation, codelab, and other resources for learning and getting help using the test tool.

You can open the assistant in Android Studio by choosing Tools > App Actions > Help.

App Actions test tool assistant