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Keyword-driven testing, also known as table-driven testing or action word based testing, is a software testing methodology suitable for both manual and automated testing. This method separates the documentation of test cases -including the data to use- from the prescription of the way the test cases are executed. As a result it separates the test creation process into two distinct stages: a design and development stage, and an execution stage.

Keyword driven testing

Keyword-driven testing uses keywords (or action words) to symbolize a functionality to be tested, such as Enter Client. The keyword Enter Client is defined as the set of actions that must be executed to enter a new client in the database. Its keyword documentation would contain:

  • the starting state of the system under test (SUT)
  • the window or menu to start from
  • the keys or mouse clicks to get to the correct data entry window
  • the names of the fields to find and which arguments to enter
  • the actions to perform in case additional dialogs pop up (like confirmations)
  • the button to click to submit
  • an assertion about what the state of the SUT should be after completion of the actions