Maximizing the Potential of Robot Framework for Automated Acceptance Testing

Maximizing the Potential of Robot Framework for Automated Acceptance Testing

5 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

When it comes to automated acceptance testing, the Robot Framework has garnered attention for its flexibility and ease of use. In this article, we’ll explore the practical experiences of using Robot Framework for testing, specifically in the context of real-time, legacy C++ code. We will delve into its strengths, weaknesses, and how it compares to other frameworks like Fitnesse and Selenium.

Real-World Applications of Robot Framework

Professionals in the field have employed Robot Framework across various companies and scenarios with notable success. Here are some insights from their experiences:

  • Integration with Java-based Web Applications: Robot Framework was used with Jython to create keywords in Java, which interacted directly with the system under test. Selenium was utilized to drive the web browser, primarily Firefox. Despite the success in QA, there was less adoption by developers who preferred JUnit for unit testing.
  • Diverse Testing Capabilities: At a commercial .NET web application company, Robot Framework was used for acceptance and regression testing on Internet Explorer, RESTful services, and even an iPad app via Appium. Specialized keywords were written for image analysis and database snapshotting, demonstrating Robot’s versatility.
  • Support for Non-Technical Testers: In a large company with a significant IT staff, Robot Framework enabled testers with limited technical skills to contribute meaningfully to the testing process, thanks to a core set of keywords and dedicated training.
  • Page Objects and High-Level Acceptance Tests: A smaller company with no dedicated testers embraced page objects with Robot Framework, resulting in a stable suite of readable high-level acceptance tests.

Strengths of Robot Framework

The Robot Framework shines with its flexibility and extensibility:

  • Flexibility and Extensibility: Robot Framework can be used to support manual testing, web UI testing, database testing, mobile app testing, and more. It can be extended with additional libraries to test nearly any aspect of a software system.
  • Text-Based Test Cases: Test cases and keywords are written in plain text, allowing for integration with various development tools and easy management with software configuration management tools.

Weaknesses of Robot Framework

However, there are areas where Robot Framework could improve:

  • Potential for Low-Quality Tests: Robot Framework allows for poor practices if discipline is not maintained. Documentation and human-readable names are possible but not enforced, which could lead to confusing tests.
  • Slow Pace of Development: The framework is robust and relatively bug-free, but feature requests can stagnate without progress for extended periods.


In summary, Robot Framework has proven to be a valuable tool for various testing duties. Its syntax allows for the creation of data-driven, BDD-style, and procedural tests. It’s particularly effective when there is a need for a wide-ranging testing strategy that can adapt to different types of software components and user interfaces. Despite some drawbacks, such as the potential for low-quality tests and a slow development pace, the overall flexibility and ease of use make Robot Framework a strong candidate for automated acceptance testing, especially when dealing with complex, legacy systems like those written in C++.

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