Robot Framework - Overview

Robot Framework is an open source test automation framework for acceptance testing and acceptance test-driven development. It follows different test case styles − keyword-driven, behaviour-driven and data-driven for writing test cases. Robot Framework provides support for external libraries, tools which are open source and can be used for automation. The most popular library used is Selenium Library used for web development & UI testing.

Test cases are written using keyword style in a tabular format. You can use any text editor or Robot Integrated Development Environment (RIDE) for writing test cases.

Robot framework works fine on all the Operating Systems available. The framework is built on Python and runs on Jython (JVM) and IronPython (.NET).

Robot Framework Features

In this section, we will look at the different features offered by Robot.

Tabular format for test cases

Robot framework comes with a simple tabular format where the test cases are written using keywords. It is easy for a new developer to understand and write test cases.


Robot framework comes with built-in keywords available with robot framework, keywords available from the libraries like Selenium Library (open browser, close browser, maximize browser, etc.). We can also create user-defined keywords, which are a combination of other user-defined keywords or built-in or library keywords. We can also pass arguments to those keywords, which make the user-defined keywords like functions that can be reused.


Robot framework supports variables – scalar, list and dict. Variables in robot framework are easy to use and are of great help while writing complex test cases.


Robot framework has support for a lot of external libraries like SeleniumLibrary, Database Library, FTP Library and http library. SeleniumLibrary is mostly used as it helps to interact with the browsers and helps with web application and UI testing. Robot framework also has its own built-in libraries for strings, date, numbers etc.


Robot framework also allows the import of robot files with keywords externally to be used with test cases. Resources are very easy to use and are of great help when we need to use some keywords already written for other test projects.

Data driven test cases

Robot framework supports keyword driven style test cases and data driven style. Data driven works with high-level keyword used as a template to the test suite and the test cases are used to share data with the high-level keyword defined in the template. It makes the work very easy for testing UI with different inputs.

Test Case Tagging

Robot framework allows to tag test-cases so that we can either run the tags test-cases or skip the tagged testcases. Tagging helps when we want to run only a group of test cases or skip them.

Reports and Logs

Robot framework provides all the details of test suite, test case execution in the form of report and logs. All the execution details of the test case are available in the log file. The details like whether the test case has failed or passed, time taken for execution, steps followed to run the test case are provided.


This editor available with Robot framework helps in writing and running test cases. The editor is very easy to install and use. RIDE makes life easy for writing test cases by providing framework specific code completion, syntax highlighting, etc. Creation of project, test suite, test case, keywords, variables, importing library, executing, tagging the test case is easily done in the editor. Robot framework also provides plugins for eclipse, sublime, Textmate, Pycharm that has support for robot test cases.

Robot Framework Advantages

Robot framework is open source, so anyone who wants to try out can easily do so.

  • It is very easy to install and helps in creating and executing test cases. Any new comer can easily understand and does not need any high level knowledge of testing to get started with robot framework.

  • It supports keyword-driven, behaviour-driven and data-driven style of writing test cases.

  • It is a good support for external libraries. Most used is Selenium Library, which is easy to install and use in robot framework.

Robot Framework Limitations

Robot lacks support for if-else, nested loops, which are required when the code gets complex.


Robot Framework is an open source test automation framework for acceptance testing and acceptance test-driven development. The test cases in Robot Framework are based on keywords written in tabular format, which makes it clear and readable, and conveys the right information about the intention of the test case. For example, to open browser, the keyword used is “Open Browser”.