Keywords, Action Based Testing™

In a keyword approach, the tester creates the test cases as a series of keywords with arguments.

The automation focuses not on automating test cases, but automating the keywords. Since there are many fewer keywords than test cases, and keyword implementations tend to be shorter than test case implementations, the automation effort is more manageable. This is particularly evident when the application under test changes. In a well-designed keyword-based test suite, only a limited number of keywords has to be maintained, after which all tests run again against the new version of the application.

Apart from allowing for more manageable and maintainable automation, a keyword test - in particular one employing Action Based Testing -, is more readable and can easily be used to communicate about the test with non-technical outsiders. It is also an efficient way of describing tests, compared to a verbose format where test steps are described in natural language. This is even true if the test is ultimately executed manually (in fact it can be argued that Action Based Testing is not an automation approach, but rather a more efficient style of describing test cases).