Difference between Data-Driven Testing and Keyword-Driven Testing

data-driven testing


Organizations work endlessly in today’s data-driven testing environment to develop, adapt, and become competitive. Organizations need to automate their end-to-end testing procedures to keep up with all technology sector developments. That’s when modern software testing like keyword and data-driven testing comes in handy. These contemporary approaches have transformed the technology sector during the last ten years. Traditional testing techniques have changed as a result of the growing need for Agile and DevOps, enabling teams to avoid the bother of lengthy software release cycles and boost overall product release velocity.

A test framework is a collection of instructions that helps a tester develop test cases and associated procedures. These instructions include coding conventions, storing and retrieving test data and results, communicating with outside resources, and various other topics. A test framework often includes reusable code modules and internal libraries that serve as the building blocks for test automation systems that may be used to test various applications.

So, now, let’s deeply look at the key differences between keyword and data-driven testing.

What Is Keyword-driven Testing?

Keyword-driven testing is a kind of automated functional testing that separates test case design from test creation. It is sometimes referred to as table-driven or even action word-based testing. It lists keywords you may repeatedly use throughout the same tests. Simply put, a keyword is the culmination of a user’s activity on a test object. Comprehending, automating, and managing test cases when test procedures are described using keywords is simpler. Keyword-driven testing applies to both automated and manual processes.

Keywords are used to represent user activities in keyword-driven testing. This includes mouse clicks, object selection, keystrokes, etc. Consequently, depending on the application, a keyword-driven test may be created by using a preset term that designates a particular activity or by just documenting the action.

Benefits of Keyword-Driven Testing

Test engineers may more effectively divide their time between implementing keywords and writing test cases because keyword-driven testing draws a thin line between test automation and creation. The following are the benefits of employing the keyword-driven testing methodology:

  • Tests may be created early without access to the program being tested, and the keywords can be added subsequently.
  • It is possible to create tests without any programming experience.
  • Over time, keyword-driven tests need less updates and maintenance. All keyword-driven tests using these keywords are updated automatically, but you must maintain the keywords.
  • Existing keywords may be reused in new test cases, which makes it simpler to attain a higher test coverage.
  • The test cases are brief.
  • A non-technical audience can read and comprehend test cases more easily.
  • Changes to test cases are simple.
  • A user who has to develop or run a keyword-driven test cannot see the internal intricacy of the keyword implementation.

The Need for a Keyword-Driven Test Automation Framework


Writing and maintaining the test script in a keyword-driven framework is now mostly the responsibility of the team’s QA automation expertise. However, the team’s automation specialists, who understand the product considerably better, are excluded. It causes a productivity bottleneck for the testing team since the members who write the test script are always under pressure to write more scripts, so the test automation system may be built more rapidly.

On the other hand, members of the team who are not responsible for creating the test scripts tend to rely more on manual testing since they believe that they have a better understanding of the product than those who are. The keyword-driven framework aids in the elimination of these bottlenecks. It creates a balance between team members proficient in programming languages and those not, allowing both groups to continue contributing to developing the product’s test automation system. In a keyword-driven architecture, test scripts are a collection of keywords linked to the functions that specify specific behavior.

What is Data-Driven Testing?

A software testing technique, “data-driven testing,” stores test data in table or spreadsheet form. Testers may enter a single test script to run tests for all test data from a table and anticipate the test result in the same table when using data-driven testing.

Data-driven Framework reads input values from data files and stores them in variables in test scripts. Testers may include both positive and negative test scenarios into a single test thanks to this. Databases, .xml, .xls, and.csv files, and any single or multiple data sources may be used as input data in a data-driven framework.

Benefits Of Data-Driven Testing

Following are some of the benefits of data-driven testing:

  • Once the test scripts are prepared, they may be used with any test inputs stored in the files as test data. Since the script will just read the test data from the file and run the test case, no modifications are necessary. In contrast, if the test data is hardcoded in the test scripts, the number of lines of code dramatically increases and the program’s ability to be reused is compromised.
  • The automated test run may be scheduled to run every night while no one is at work. Verifying the findings in the morning allows for significant time savings in the testing procedures. Additionally, data-driven automation testing is quicker than manual testing since it incorporates all the advantages of automation testing.
  • Unlike manual testing, which reads it from the files, the test data is not manually put into the program. When a lot of data is input, human error is inevitable. A high-quality product is produced due to data-driven automated testing, which significantly decreases the possibility of human mistakes.
  • The development and maintenance are clear since the test scripts and test data are stored in separate files or places. Without consulting the testing scripts, any necessary modifications to the test data may be made quickly.
  • Manually inputting the test data is a repetitive, monotonous, and time-consuming job. When data-driven automated testing is in place, human talents, such as exploratory testing, may be put to greater use.
  • The defect-related and management choices might be reached sooner because to the quicker pace of automation and speedy execution of a larger data collection. Shorter development cycles in the Agile and DevOps context need fast choices and rapid problem resolution. The complexities of Agile and DevOps are greatly aided by data-driven automated testing.

The Need for a Data-Driven Test Automation Framework

In a non-data-driven testing framework, changing the test data at any moment is challenging because data is embedded in test scripts. It becomes a persistent issue when test data has to be updated several times for various factors over the product life cycle.

In data-driven testing frameworks, test scripts and test data are separated, making it simpler to maintain and update the test data at any time without changing the test scripts. As a result, testers may alter the test scripts at any time without changing the test data.

Difference Between Keyword-Driven and Data-Driven Testing ‘

Now, let’s look at the key differences between these two contemporary forms of testing.

  • The team needs members with experience in programming

The keyword-driven framework may benefit from the team’s non-programming knowledge since both frameworks demand programming expertise, such as manual testers that are fully trained in programming and are knowledgeable about the product. It enables every team member to participate in creating the product’s test automation system.

A data-driven framework, however, forbids such flexibility. We want programming expertise on the team who can create test scripts in a programming language to design a test automation system employing a data-driven framework. There are few possibilities for non-programming product specialists to create the test automation system for a product/software they are working on. Learn about Word of Mouth Marketing.

  • Following that, the need to create test scripts.

Creating test scripts utilizing the keyword-driven framework is simpler when product development is still in progress. Real product development is not dependent on the use of keywords. On the other side, the real product is necessary when creating test scripts using a data-driven framework.

  • The behavior of the product must alter.

A keyword-driven framework may be a better option if you know that certain components of the product may need to act differently than intended since you would only need to change the results of a small number of functions in one location rather than changing several test scripts. With a hybrid framework, you may integrate data-driven and keyword-driven testing to benefit from both, depending on your preferences.

  • Organizing And Planning

A keyword-driven framework needs more thorough preparation as compared to a  data-driven framework. With a data-driven architecture, we need the plan for what test data and test scripts are required. When it comes to the keyword-driven framework, we must prepare test data and scripts, as well as plan for keywords and their applications.

  • Management

If test cases are not correctly designed, test automation systems utilizing a keyword-driven framework would be significantly more difficult to manage than a data-driven framework.

  • Maintenance

Since test scripts, test data, keywords, and their implementation are separated by well-defined levels of abstraction, a well-planned keyword-driven test automation system is easier to maintain. Additionally, the sole abstraction in a data-driven test automation system is between test scripts and test data.

  • Testing results are anticipated to vary often.

Retaining test data ingrained in your test scripts makes no sense if you know it will be altered. You must use a data-driven approach in this situation.

  • The testing team’s use of programming techniques

You may use a non-keyword-driven framework if all the testing team members are equally adept programmers. You can also use a keyword-driven framework so that everyone can contribute to creating the product’s automation if your testing team includes persons who are not great programmers but have an in-depth understanding of the product to be tested. Learn about the difference between SEO Or PPC

  • The same behavior must be investigated using different test data sets.

A data-driven framework might be a decent choice if your product needs to evaluate the same behavior using diverse test data sets.

Testers may use cloud-based continuous testing platforms like LambdaTest to execute automated tests on real browsers, devices, and OS combinations. You can run your Selenium test scripts on a test automation cloud with over 3000 different desktop and mobile environments, significantly increasing your browser coverage and enabling you to execute automated testing on a lightning-fast online Selenium Grid. LambdaTest provides many alternative test automation frameworks for automated cross-browser testing, including Playwright, Cypress, and Puppeteer.


With parameterization, we may run our tests in data-driven testing on several sets of data in various combinations. The data, in this case, is handled as input to the logic of the test script. Every collection of data may be thought of as a different test case.

The produced keywords in keyword-driven testing are actions. A test case is a kept set of keywords in order. A keyword may be generated once and used in several test scripts. The data (kept in csv, excel, or any other file) is the center of the data-driven architecture and is updated for each test case without significantly altering the logic of the test script. In keyword-driven testing, the whole team, including human and automated testers, may participate in the product’s testing. Since we continue to do the operations in Excel, this framework resembles the data-driven framework slightly. Here, we may modify our test case to meet the requirements by listing the keywords or activities in the external file in a certain order.

For certain teams and products, several testing framework types may be appropriate. It is very crucial to analyze what you need from a framework and what your team’s skills are. This will help you to work with it before choosing a framework to construct your test automation system for the product or the software.

Emma Garcia is an expert researcher and writer with a passion for exploring new technologies and their potential to improve people's lifestyles. With a degree in computer science and a gift for making complex ideas accessible, she provides her readers with valuable information and practical tips for incorporating technology into their daily lives. She is committed to providing unbiased information and is a trusted source for anyone looking to make informed decisions about the technology they use. Ultimately, Emma Garcia aims to empower her readers to make the most of the technology available to them and improve their lives in the process.