Continuous integration is an essential part of modern software development, allowing developers to frequently test code changes to ensure a stable and reliable product. One of the most popular tools for continuous integration is Jenkins, an open-source automation server that helps automate the building, testing, and deployment of software. In this article, we will explore how to integrate Robot Framework, a widely-used test automation framework, with Jenkins for a seamless and efficient continuous integration process.
Continuous integration has become an integral part of software development in recent years, as it allows developers to detect and address issues in code quickly and efficiently. One of the most popular tools for continuous integration is Jenkins, an open-source automation server that allows developers to automate various tasks, including building, testing, and deployment. Robot Framework is another popular tool used for test automation, with a user-friendly syntax and extensible architecture. In this article, we will explore how to integrate Robot Framework with Jenkins for continuous integration, streamlining the testing process and ensuring the stability of your software.
Creating a Jenkins Job
This provides readers with information on how to set up Jenkins on their machine, which is the first step in integrating Robot Framework with Jenkins. The section briefly describes the process of downloading the Jenkins installer from the Jenkins website and following the installation instructions. It also informs readers that they can access Jenkins through a web browser and create new jobs and configure Jenkins to their liking.
Overall, the section provides a concise and clear overview of what readers need to do to get started with Jenkins. However, the section could benefit from more details and instructions on the specific steps needed to install and configure Jenkins, as well as potential issues that readers may encounter during the setup process. Additionally, some readers may already have Jenkins installed on their machine, so it would be helpful to include a brief section on checking whether Jenkins is already installed and what version of Jenkins is required for integrating Robot Framework.
Installing the Robot Framework Plugin
To integrate Robot Framework with Jenkins, we will need to install the Robot Framework plugin. We can do this by navigating to the Jenkins dashboard and clicking on the “Manage Jenkins” button. From there, we can select “Manage Plugins” and search for the Robot Framework plugin. Once we have found the plugin, we can install it and restart Jenkins to ensure the plugin is loaded.
Robot Framework is implemented using Python, and a precondition to install it is having Python or its alternative implementation PyPy installed. Another recommended precondition is having the pip package manager available.
Robot Framework requires Python 3.6 or newer. If you need to use Python 2, Jython or IronPython, you can use Robot Framework 4.1.3.
Installing Python on Linux
On Linux you should have suitable Python installation with pip available by default. If not, you need to consult your distributions documentation to learn how to install them. This is also true if you want to use some other Python version than the one provided by your distribution by default.
To check what Python version you have installed, you can run python –version command in a terminal:
$ python –version
Notice that if your distribution provides also older Python 2, running python may use that. To use Python 3, you can use python3 command or even more version specific command like python3.8. You need to use these version specific variants also if you have multiple Python 3 versions installed and need to pinpoint which one to use:
$ python3.9 –version
$ python3.10 –version
Installing Robot Framework directly under the system provided Python has a risk that possible problems can affect the whole Python installation used also by the operating system itself. Nowadays Linux distributions typically use user installs by default to avoid such problems, but users can also themselves decide to use virtual environments.
Configuring the Jenkins Job
This makes readers through the steps required to configure a Jenkins job for running Robot Framework tests. The section provides a detailed set of instructions on how to create a new Jenkins job, configure the job to execute Robot Framework tests, and specify the location of the test files and the test results output. It also notes that readers can use the Jenkins user interface to configure advanced settings such as build triggers, test reports, and email notifications.
Overall, the section provides a comprehensive and detailed set of instructions on how to configure a Jenkins job for running Robot Framework tests. However, it could benefit from more information on best practices for configuring Jenkins jobs, such as how to organize test files and results, how to manage test data and test environment configuration, and how to optimize test performance and execution time. Additionally, readers may want to know more about the different types of Jenkins jobs and their specific use cases, such as freestyle projects, pipeline projects, and multibranch pipeline projects.
Running the Jenkins Job
The freestyle build job is a highly flexible and easy-to-use option. You can use it for any type of project; it is easy to set up, and many of its options appear in other build jobs. Below is a step by step process to create job in Jenkin.
Step 1) Login to JenkinsTo create a Jenkins freestyle job, log on to your Jenkins dashboard by visiting your Jenkins installation path. Usually, it will be hosted on localhost at
http://localhost:8080 If you have installed Jenkins in another path, use the appropriate URL to access your dashboard as shown in the below Jenkins job creation example.
Step 2) Create New Item
Click on “New Item” at the top left-hand side of your dashboard.
Step 3) Enter Item details
In the next screen,
- Enter the name of the item you want to create. We shall use the “Hello world” for this demo.
- Select Freestyle project
- Click Okay
Step 4) Enter Project details
Enter the details of the project you want to test.
Step 5) Enter repository URL
Under Source Code Management, Enter your repository URL. We have a test repository located at https://github.com/kriru/firstJava.git
It is also possible for you to use a local repository.
If your GitHub repository is private, Jenkins will first validate your login credentials with GitHub and only then pull the source code from your GitHub repository.
Step 6) Tweak the settings
Now that you have provided all the details, it’s time to build the code. Tweak the settings under the build section to build the code at the time you want. You can even schedule the build to happen periodically, at set times.
1. Click on “Add build step”
2. Click on “Execute Windows batch command” and add the commands you want to execute during the build process.
Integrating Robot Framework with Jenkins is a powerful way to streamline your testing process and ensure the stability and reliability of your software. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can quickly and easily set up Jenkins and configure it to run your Robot Framework tests, all while automating the build, test, and deployment process. Whether you are a seasoned developer or just getting started with software development, integrating Robot Framework with Jenkins is an essential step towards building better software.