Silk Test: Keyword-driven testing

Keyword driven testing is a methodology used to separate the test design, test development and test execution stages into manageable components. It contrasts the traditional automated testing approach of implementing coded test scripts as standalone test executions, or as part of a larger automated framework, by extrapolating an additional layer. This enables individual tests to be compartmentalized and referenced by an associated keyword.

Keyword-driven testing

The new Silk Test ‘keyword-driven testing’ feature unlocks the door to low maintenance testing. It does this by providing the ability to introduce testing earlier in the build cycle, to ensure your application does what it’s supposed to do and fits your business needs.

With development and testing trends becoming more agile and applications being released more frequently, keyword-driven testing complements this trend by providing the ability to create tests early, even without the application under test being available.

What is keyword-driven testing?

Keyword driven testing is a methodology used to separate the test design, test development and test execution stages into manageable components. It contrasts the traditional automated testing approach of implementing coded test scripts as standalone test executions, or as part of a larger automated framework, by extrapolating an additional layer. This enables individual tests to be compartmentalized and referenced by an associated keyword.

Keyword-driven testing makes maintenance easier when changes are applied in the application under test (AUT). For example, imagine that the ‘login screen’ layout changes in an application Graphical User Interface (GUI). Using a traditional automated testing approach would require changing all test scripts in order to include any recent changes to the AUT GUI.

However, with keyword-driven testing, changes only need to be made to the keyword associated with the ‘login screen’. No matter how many times the keyword is used in multiple test cases, this is the only change which needs to be made.

How does keyword-driven testing work in Silk Test?

The basic concept behind the Silk Test’s keyword-driven testing is to separate the test automation from the test case design. This is achieved by providing an additional layer of abstraction where tests can be defined by business-focused stakeholders such as business analysts. A keyword in Silk Test is defined as a set of actions performing a specific operation such as ‘Login’ or ‘Search’. This approach enables tests to be developed earlier in the QA process and means that tests are easier to maintain.

Additionally, skills can be divided easier based on different levels of technical expertise. For example, QA or development team members can deal with the automation (keyword implementation), and business analysts can focus on the test case design (keyword creation). This makes sense because business analysts have a clearer, more defined understanding of the business needs of the application under test.

Understanding keyword-driven testing

With keyword-driven testing, a mixture of technical and business people can work together seamlessly to provide a single test solution. Current market trends show that most customers now have a requirement to test early and often due to rapid release cycles. Therefore, if an automated testing solution only suits the most technical teams, testing early and often becomes almost impossible.

The number of browsers and devices that applications can run from adds to the complexity. Silk Test’s new keyword-driven testing functionality combats these problems by lowering the burden of testing maintenance and bringing more stakeholders into the testing environment.

The separation of ‘test design’ from ‘test implementation’ is defined by the following two phases:

1. Designing the test
Adding keywords to the keyword-driven test: the flexible keyword editor provides the ability to add, insert, remove, modify, drag and drop, as well as combine multiple keywords to make a single keyword.

2. Implementing the keywords
Keyword test code can be implemented directly from any added keyword via the ‘implement’ button, using the flexible Silk Test recorder, or by manually coding.

The screen shot below provides a high level overview of keyword-driven testing in Silk Test, highlighting how the design and implementation process are now clearly defined and separated according to the end user’s role.

 

 

The next screen shot drills down further, providing a low level look at the test implementation process. It demonstrates how keywords can be implemented in any of the existing Silk Test Integrated Development Environments (IDEs). This functionality provides enhanced flexibility which enables QA engineers and developers to implement keywords using a technology framework which best suits their expertise.

 

Why choose Silk Test’s keyword-driven testing?

  • Keyword-driven testing gives you the ability to create a maintainable, reliable and stable test-set. Keywords become silos, where changes can be made to keywords without impacting other keywords or tests
  • It creates clear separation between test design and test implementation
  • You can create tests early, even without the availability of the application under test. Keywords can be added and implemented at a later date
  • Keyword-driven testing enhances the readability of tests. Anyone can read a keyword-driven test and clearly understand what it’s designed to do
  • It provides the ability to create complete testing frameworks through Silk Test guided workflows
  • It enables you to capture workflows through the application
  • It ensures a structured communication of business needs. Business analysts can clearly define the testing requirements to QA and development teams
  • New test cases can reuse existing keywords, which makes it easier to achieve a greater test coverage
  • The internal complexity of the keyword implementation is invisible to a user who needs to create or execute a keyword-driven test
  • It gives you the ability to pass parameters to and from keywords in order to perform data driven testing
  • It enables the creation of a ‘start application’ keyword to ensure that the application under test is in the correct state before executing the keyword-driven test.

Integration of Silk Test with Silk Central

Silk Test’s keyword-driven testing is tightly integrated with Borland’s test management tool, Silk Central. This integration provides many mutual benefits for testing your applications, including:

  • The ability to convert existing manual tests into keyword-driven tests in Silk Central. Once the manual test steps have been converted into keywords, you can easily implement the keywords into test code using Silk Test
  • The ability to create keywords in Silk Central and then view, edit and use them from within Silk Test, as long as a valid connection between both applications exists
  • The ability to upload keywords created in Silk Test to Silk Central, then add them to an existing or new keyword-driven test in Silk Central. It can later be executed independently from Silk Test
  • A high level overview of all keyword-driven tests via web interface, ensuring requirements are met, testing coverage is complete, and results are readily available in a graphical format.

To find out more about Keyword driven testing don’t hesitate to contact usor try out any of the Products mentioned for free.

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