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Robot Framework API

What is the Robot Framework API?

The Robot Framework API allows us to do two main things.

  • Run commands like robot and rebot from Python scripts
  • Access and modify all kinds of Robot Framework objects , e.g.
    • Execution Results
    • Test Suites
    • Parsers
    • Logger
    • Result Writer
    • ...

Check out the Public API and Entry Points for more information.

You can use the API to build your own tools or integrate Robot Framework with other tools.
Examples are

  • Integrating Robot Framework with (Test Management) Tools like Jira or TestRail
  • Building your own Test Runner in Python
  • Create tools for analyzing and refactoring Robot Framework Tests (like robotidy or robocop)
  • Create UIs for Robot Framework
  • Create Tools to distribute Robot Framework Tests
  • Create Web Services for Robot Framework
  • ...

Use your imagination 🦄

Run Robot Framework from Python

Usually, we run Robot Framework from the command line.

robot tests.robot

We often pass some arguments to the command, like --variable or --outputdir.

robot --variable BROWSER:chrome --outputdir results tests.robot

But we can also run Robot Framework from Python scripts.

from robot import run

run('tests.robot', variable=['BROWSER:chrome'], outputdir='results')

The run function takes the same arguments as the robot command.

Check out the command-line options in the Robot Framework User Guide for more information.

The only difference when using the run function is

  • we don't need to prefix the arguments with --
    • e.g. --variable becomes variable
  • boolean arguments like --dryrun or --exitonfailure need to be set to True(or False)
    • e.g. --dryrun becomes dryrun=True
  • options which can be specified multiple times (like --variable) need to be passed as a list
    • e.g. --variable BROWSER:chrome --variable URL: becomes variable=['BROWSER:chrome', 'URL:']

If you prefer the command line syntax, you can use the robot.run_cli function.

from robot import run_cli

rc = run_cli(['--variable', 'BROWSER:chrome', '--outputdir', 'results', 'tests.robot'])

Access and Modify Robot Framework Objects

Execution Results

Access Execution Results after a Test Run

After a test run, we can access the execution results with the ExecutionResult object.

The ExecutionResult object is returned by the run function or can be created from an output.xml file.

The example below shows how to print the number of passed and failed tests.

from robot.api import ExecutionResult
result = ExecutionResult('output.xml')
stats = result.statistics
print(f"Number of Failed Tests: {stats.failed}")
print(f"Total number of Tests: {stats.passed}")
Write the test name and status to a markdown file

You can combine the ExecutionResult object with the ResultVisitor class to access the results in a structured way.

The ResultVisitor class will allow you to "walk" through the results and react to certain events (similar to the Listener)

The example below will visit all tests and write the test name and status to a markdown file.
from robot.api import ExecutionResult, ResultVisitor
import sys

class MyResultVisitor(ResultVisitor):
def __init__(self, markdown_file=''):
self.failed_tests = []
self.passed_tests = []
self.markdown_file = markdown_file

def visit_test(self, test):
if test.status == 'FAIL':
elif test.status == 'PASS':

def end_result(self, result):
# Create a new markdown file
with open(self.markdown_file, "w") as f:
f.write("# Robot Framework Report\n")
for test in self.passed_tests:
for test in self.failed_tests:

if __name__ == '__main__':
output_file = sys.argv[1]
except IndexError:
output_file = "output.xml"
markdown_file = sys.argv[2]
except IndexError:
markdown_file = ""
result = ExecutionResult(output_file)
python output.xml

That's how the result will look like:

Robot Framework Report
My First Test CasePASS
My Second Test Case As KeywordPASS
Some Other Test CasePASS
A Failed Test CaseFAIL

Access Execution Results returned by the run function

The run function returns an ExecutionResult object.

from robot import run

result = run('tests.robot', variable=['BROWSER:chrome'], outputdir='results')

stats = result.statistics
print(f"Number of Failed Tests: {stats.failed}")
print(f"Total number of Tests: {stats.passed}")