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Creating a cascading resource import structure for Robot Framework: Pt. 1/3 – Introduction to resource sharing

This is the second post in a series that will address some of the problems and questions surrounding the usage of the Robot Framework (RF), that I encounter frequently in the field. Click here to take a look at the first of these posts. As I have stated in the introduction to that post, I will sometimes use these treatments also as an opportunity to make small digressions, so as to shed some light on the internals of the RF.

This post will show you how to implement a simple and yet very efficient mechanism for resource sharing within the framework. Actually, I will use three separate posts to do so. The post you’re reading now, will be the first of these.

Robot Framework provides an out-of-the-box mechanism for sharing, i.e. re-using, various types of resources. However, depending on the size and complexity of your test automation project, this mechanism can sometimes entail quite some maintenance work in and of itself. In three posts I will describe a setup for sharing, that will virtually eliminate the involved maintenance effort. Additionally, this setup will provide you with a few, very fundamental, abstraction layers that you will have to apply in any given test project.

So, let’s first have a look at the main types of RF resources and at how these resources can be reused within the RF (first post). Then we will describe the problem surrounding this native mechanism (second post). Finally, we’ll be providing a solution to this problem (third and final post).

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Running Robot Framework’s Remote Server as Java agent

Robot Framework is a great automated testing tool that uses a keyword-driven approach. When you want to run Robot Framework tests within the context of a running system-under-test you can load Robot Framework’s RemoteServer as a java agent. This is not something that comes out of the box so we will explain how to do it here.

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The Robot Framework Remote Library Interface: using the Remote Database Library to connect to IBM DB2

In the aftermath of my Robot Framework workshop at the Xebia 2015 TestWorks Conf, I received several e-mails from people who had attended the workshop. They were asking questions and describing (smaller and larger) problems surrounding various aspects of their test automation efforts with the Robot Framework. Some of these questions and problems are identical to those that, as a consultant, I encounter in the field. Since the involved topics may thus be of interest to a broader public, I decided to dedicate a series of blog posts to them. Better (very) late than never, right?

The first of these posts will show you how to use the Java Database Library while running RF on Python and also elaborate on why you may want to do so. As an extra, we will be putting the library into actual use as well, by connecting to an IBM DB2 database and, subsequently, running some keywords.

Please note that I will use these treatments also as an opportunity to shed some extra light on various aspects of the RF that we will encounter and that I feel may be of interest to those that would like a somewhat better understanding of RF’s internals. So, for some readers this will feel like a mild and acceptable (and maybe even welcome) digression, while for the practically inclined it may constitute an inexcusable transgression. You can’t win ’em all, I guess. 🙂

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Robot Framework and the keyword-driven approach to test automation – Part 2 of 3

In part 1 of our three-part post on the keyword-driven approach, we looked at the position of this approach within the history of test automation frameworks. We elaborated on the differences, similarities and interdependencies between the various types of test automation frameworks. This provided a first impression of the nature and advantages of the keyword-driven approach to test automation.

In this post, we will zoom in on the concept of a ‘keyword’.

What are keywords? What is their purpose? And what are the advantages of utilizing keywords in your test automation projects? And are there any disadvantages or risks involved?Read more →

Robot Framework and the keyword-driven approach to test automation – Part 1 of 3

Hans Buwalda is generally credited with the introduction of the keyword-driven paradigm of functional test automation, initially calling it the ‘action word’ approach.

This approach tackled certain fundamental problems pertaining to the efficiency of the process of creating test code (mainly the lack of reuse) and the maintainability, readability and robustness of that code. Problems surrounding these aspects frequently led to failed automation efforts. The keyword-driven framework therefore was (and is) a quantum leap forward, providing a solution to these problems by facilitating the application of modularity, abstraction and other design patterns to the automation code.

Robot Framework (RF) can be regarded as the epitome of this type of automation framework. Our first post on the RF concentrated on the high-level design of the platform. In this second of our three-part series of introductory-level posts, we will take a closer look at what the keyword-driven approach to test automation is all about.

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Robot Framework – The unsung hero of test automation

The open source Robot Framework (RF) is a generic, keyword- and data-driven test automation framework for acceptance test driven development (ATDD). As such it stands alongside similar, but more well-known frameworks, like FitNesse, Cucumber, et alia. The (relative) unfamiliarity of the testing community with the RF is undeserved, since the RF facilitates powerful and yet simple test automation against a variety of interfaces and features some distinct advantages when compared to those other frameworks.

In a series of blogposts, we would like to make a case for the Robot Framework, by showing its greatness through a number of hands-on examples from my upcoming workshop. Next to demonstrating its advantages and strengths we will also expose some of its drawbacks and limitations, as well as touch upon certain risks that flow from harnessing some of its unique features.

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Future of Testing and Automation: The role of the tester in 2020

Last week, the first TestWorks Conf was held in Amsterdam. This hands-on conference featured a plethora of test automation tools and allowed the participants to gain practical experience with them. Since we feel and expect that all participants will take next steps towards improving their test automation practices, we decided to take a glance into the future and discuss the future of testing and automation together with Alan Richardson.

In a series of blogposts, we would like to share parts of our vision on testing and automation in the near future. First stop will be: the role of the tester in 2020.

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