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Keyword Driven Testing in Software Testing


In the realms of software testing and test automation, Keyword Driven Testing (KDT) arises as an extremely effective method providing both flexibility and thoroughness in verifying whether or not a given application works. This methodology was developed in order to improve the precision of test automation so testers and automation engineers may create tests using a keyword-based system. This article dives into the basics of Keyword Driven Testing. We discuss its underlying principles, advantages and what it takes to make one.
Test automation frameworks such as Keyword Driven testing separate test script creation from the actual running of tests. Instead of only using traditional scripting languages or code, KDT adopts a layer-by-layer concept built around the use of keywords. These keywords denote high-level actions or operations that are related to various functions of the application under test.

Components of Keyword Driven Testing

At the core of Keyword Driven Testing is a robust framework, categorized into four distinct components:

  1. Test Steps: The framework systematically organizes test cases into sequential steps, ensuring a coherent and logical flow during the testing process.
  2. Objects: Objects represent entities upon which actions are performed. These can range from buttons and forms to more complex elements within an application.
  3. Actions: Specific functions or methods associated with keywords fall under the category of actions. These actions encapsulate the behaviour that the testing framework needs to emulate.
  4. Data Sets: Data sets constitute the inputs and test data combinations essential for executing the test cases effectively. Managing and utilizing data sets appropriately is crucial for comprehensive testing.

Phases of Development in Keyword Driven Testing

  • Design and Development Phase: Design and Development is where the journey of Keyword Driven Testing begins. During this stage, a rigorous plan of actions is drawn up--a keyword describes each action. At this point, each action is assigned a special keyword. This lends the workflow sequential and orderly continuance.
  • Implementation Phase: The Implementation Phase, as its name suggests is where the actual execution takes place. This stage can be accomplished through either a complete manual execution, an entirely automated approach to executing test cases or a combination of both. The commands are performed precisely in the order they were determined to be executed when executing functions that begin normally.
  • Utilization of Keyword Driven Testing: In both manual and automated testing scenarios, Keyword Driven Testing can be found. Although the latter is more frequently used.

Automated Testing in Keyword Driven Testing Framework:

In the Keyword Driven Testing (KDT) framework, automated testing plays a crucial role with specific objectives aimed at optimizing testing processes. Here's a brief overview of the primary goals:

  • Cost Reduction: Automated testing in KDT seeks to reduce costs associated with repetitive manual testing. By automating repetitive tasks, it frees up human testers to focus on more complex aspects of testing, enhancing efficiency and minimizing resource utilization.
  • Specification Elimination: KDT eliminates duplicated specifications often associated with manual testing. By abstracting test scripts into reusable keywords, the framework streamlines testing processes, reducing documentation overhead, and minimizing inconsistencies in specifications.
  • Function Scripting Reusability: The framework encourages the reuse of function scripts through the use of keywords. By encapsulating specific functionalities into keywords, KDT ensures script reusability across multiple test scenarios, accelerating the test creation process and promoting consistency.
  • Enhanced Testing Support and Portability: Automated testing within KDT provides enhanced testing support and portability. The abstraction of automation complexities through keywords ensures adaptability to various testing environments and compatibility with different platforms. The framework offers rich support for executing a wide range of testing scenarios.

Implementation Steps in Keyword Driven Testing

To effectively implement Keyword Driven Testing, one needs to follow a systematic approach:

  • Identify Keywords: Distinguishing between low and high-level keywords is the foundational step in creating a robust Keyword Driven Testing framework. Identifying keywords is a process of mapping each testing action to a corresponding keyword.
  • Implementation: Once keywords are identified, the next step involves implementing them in a systematic and running manner. This phase may require collaboration with development teams to ensure seamless integration with the application under test.
  • Test Case Creation: With the keywords in place, the next step is the creation of test cases. Each test case is constructed based on the designed framework, incorporating the identified keywords to form a coherent and comprehensive set of test scenarios.
  • Driver Scripts: The creation of driver scripts is a critical component of the implementation process. These scripts serve as the orchestrators, executing the defined test cases by invoking the corresponding keywords and ensuring the seamless flow of the testing process.
  • Execution: The final step involves the execution of the automation scripts. This phase tests the application based on the predefined test cases, leveraging the keyword-driven framework to simulate real-world scenarios and identify potential issues or bugs.

Advantages of Keyword Driven Testing

Keyword Driven Testing presents several notable advantages that contribute to its popularity in the software testing domain:

  1. Early Test Automation Planning: One of the major advantages is the ability for functional testers to plan test automation even before the application is fully ready. This early planning ensures a proactive approach to testing.
  2. No Programming Knowledge Required: Test cases can be developed without intricate programming knowledge. This lowers the barrier for entry, enabling a broader pool of testers to contribute effectively.
  3. Language and Tool Independence: Keyword Driven Testing is not tied to any specific programming language or tool. This independence allows for flexibility and adaptability across different environments and technologies.
  4. Compatibility with Automation Tools: Most automation tools available in the market are compatible with Keyword Driven Testing. This compatibility ensures seamless integration with existing testing ecosystems.

Disadvantages of Keyword Driven Testing

While Keyword Driven Testing offers numerous advantages, it is essential to acknowledge potential drawbacks:

  1. Time-Consuming Development: The process of developing keywords and testing functionalities can be time-consuming. This aspect may pose challenges, particularly in fast-paced development environments.
  2. Technical Tester Dependency: Keyword Driven Testing may introduce a level of dependency on technical testers. The predefined keywords may limit the application of their technological expertise and years of experience during the testing process.


In conclusion, Keyword Driven Testing stands as a powerful and structured methodology in the domain of software testing. Its unique approach of using keywords to drive the testing process offers advantages such as early planning, reduced reliance on programming knowledge, and compatibility with various automation tools. However, it is crucial to weigh these benefits against potential drawbacks, such as the time-intensive development process and the need for careful consideration of technical tester involvement.

Keyword Driven Testing, when implemented thoughtfully, provides a systematic and efficient way to conduct functional automation testing, ensuring the reliability and robustness of software applications in today's dynamic and competitive technological landscape.

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