Robot Framework is easy enough to set up. When you have Python installed on your system, it can be as easy as running pip install robotframework && pip install robotframework-appiumlibrary. This is not how I want to do it. For this intro, I want to run the Robot Framework in a Docker image.


Robot Framework is a generic open source automation framework. It can be used for robotic process automation (RPA), and also for acceptance level testing and acceptance test-driven development (ATDD). In this blog I want to focus on the first steps to start working with it.


As stated in the intro, I don’t want Robot Framework running directly on my machine, but instead have it installed on a Docker image. This makes it portable, and you are able to use it anywhere you want. So let us make our Dockerfile:


Build the image with: docker build -f ./Dockerfile -t robot . Do not forget the dot at the end of the line! The dot means that Docker uses the Dockerfile in the local (current) folder.

Listing 1. Dockerfile
# To manually start your image:
# Make sure you create the folders suites, scrips and reports
# docker run --rm -ti --network=host -v "$PWD/output:/output" -v "$PWD/suites:/suites" -v "$PWD/scripts:/scripts" -v "$PWD/reports:/reports"  robot  bash
# Or using docer-compose (see listing below):
# docker-compose up
# docker-compose down

FROM python:3.10.0a6-buster

LABEL name="Docker build demo Robot Framework"


RUN apt-get update \
    && apt-get install -y xvfb wget ca-certificates fonts-liberation libasound2 libatk-bridge2.0-0 libatk1.0-0 \
       libatspi2.0-0 libcups2 libdbus-1-3 libgbm1 libgtk-3-0 libnspr4 libnss3 \
       libxcomposite1 libxkbcommon0 libxrandr2 xdg-utils ntpdate openssl

RUN python3 -m pip install robotframework && pip install robotframework-requests &&  pip install robotframework-selenium2library \
    && pip install xvfbwrapper && pip install robotframework-xvfb && pip install certifi && pip install asn1crypto \
    && pip install bcrypt && pip install robotframework-sshlibrary && pip install cryptography && pip install pyOpenSSL \
    && pip install idna && pip install requests[security]

# install chrome and chromedriver in one run command to clear build caches for new versions (both version need to match)
RUN wget -q \
    && dpkg -i google-chrome*.deb \
    && rm google-chrome*.deb \
    && wget -q \
    && unzip \
    && rm \
    && mv chromedriver /usr/local/bin \
    && chmod +x /usr/local/bin/chromedriver

CMD ["/scripts/"]

And don’t forget to add the 'docker-compose.yml' file:

Listing 2. docker-compose.yml
version: '3.3'
        network_mode: host
        image: robot
        shm_size: "256M"
            USERNAME: Justus
        volumes: [


We need to create three folders where the following content is stored:

  1. suites : The Robot Framework test scripts

  2. scripts: Contains the script that runs the Robot Framework test scripts on starting up the image

  3. reports: Contains the reports (test results) after running the test-scripts

Since these folders are on your local (host) machine, you don’t have to connect to a shell on the docker image to read the results. Also, it’s easy to manage your test-scripts, while the Robot Framework is running on the Docker image.

In the folder 'scripts' generate an executable (chmod +x file called

Listing 3. scripts/
#!/usr/bin/env bash
set -e

# Run an individual test suite if the TEST_SUITE environmental variable is set.
if [ -z "$TEST_SUITE" ]; then

CMD="robot --console verbose --outputdir /reports /suites/$TEST_SUITE"

echo ${CMD}


Test suite

Assuming you know how to create your test-sctips, let’s add a simple script as a reference in the suites folder.

Listing 4. suites/website_jdriven.robot
*** Settings ***
Library  Collections
Library  RequestsLibrary

Suite Teardown  Delete All Sessions

*** Test Cases ***
Get Request TestWebsite
    Create Session  getwebsite    verify=false
    ${resp}=        GET On Session  getwebsite  /       expected_status=200
    Should Be Equal As Strings      ${resp.status_code}     200

When you run docker-compose up, the test should just run. Open the reports/report.html using your browser to dive into your test results: