Skip to content
ChrisLMerrill edited this page Mar 1, 2020 · 53 revisions

Muse Automation Framework

Muse executes a task (workflow) assembled from individual steps, which are modeled in data rather than code. A common use case is creating automated tests for web applications by automating a browser with Selenium / WebDriver.

Muse was designed with these principles in mind:

  • tasks should be developed primarily by non-coders
  • writing code to automate tasks should be an occasional solution to sticky problems, rather than a constant necessity
  • an automation tool should be easy to extend with custom capabilities
  • re-use of task logic and reducing replication of both data and code are critical to reducing the maintenance cost of automated tasks
  • automation development tools should integrate easily into agile development practices and CI build systems
  • open data formats increase value and reduce risk

What do I get?

Downloading the distribution gives you the ability to:

  • integrate Muse automation into your build / CI server
  • convert SeleniumIDE tests into Muse tasks
  • run Muse tasks and task suites from a command-line interface

How do I get started?

Well, what you want to do?

I want to build automation

If you want to build and debug tasks in a rich, visual IDE, you should install the (free) Muse IDE, which is built on this project. Take a look at the documentation.

Also, see the Step Reference Guide and Value Source Reference Guide.

If you want to work on the command line and build tasks by hand in a text editor:

  1. download and unzip this distribution
  2. from a command-line, cd to the /examples folder and run muse like this:

../bin/muse run testsuite

I want to develop custom steps or value sources

Download either this distribution or the MuseIDE and then read the Extending Muse guide.

I want to run my tasks in our build system, test harness or CI server.

Download this distribution and read the Deploying Muse Tasks guide.

How does Muse work?

Project Goals

To better understand what follows, it is worth taking a moment to explain the goals of the project:

  • Support higher-level tooling designed to reduce the difficulty of constructing automation
  • Encourage re-use within automation assets
  • Decreasing long-term maintenance cost compared to similar tools (e.g. SeleniumIDE and TestProject)
  • Easily extended via Java (and eventually Javascript)
  • Open text formats and file layouts friendly to version control systems
  • Command-line interfaces for convenient integration with agile processes and continuous-integration build systems
  • Free and open with business-friendly Apache2 license


Tasks are modeled as a series of steps. A step may perform a trivially simple operation, such as incrementing a variable or writing a message to a log. Or it may wrap a lot of functionality, such as starting up an instance of a browser and connecting to it via WebDriver.

Each task executes a single step, which will nearly always be a compound step. This one contains three sub-steps:

"type": "steppedtask",
"step": { "type": "compound",
  "children": [
    { step 1... },
    { step 2... },
    { step 3... }

Steps can be nested as deep as necessary to accomplish the task goals.

Note: while JSON is the default format, all parsing of project resources happens in a extensible factory layer. Support for other formats is expected - for example: CSV or ODS formats for providing task parameters in a row-and-column tabular format.


As indicated above, steps may contain other steps. This allows grouping steps for readability or to create reusable functions (complete with parameter passing and isolated variable scope). It also allows for conditionals and looping.

In addition, each step has a type (required) and optional named value sources (aka parameters), to configure the behavior of the step. This example contains a type (goto-url) and a single source (URL).

    { "type": "goto-url",
      "sources": {
        "URL": { "value": "", "type": "string" } 

Note: this format is designed to be flexible, easy to parse and easy to manipulate with other tools, such as automatic task generators or a visual IDE. Human readability was a minor concern.

Value Sources

Similar to steps, value sources may be very simple, such as a constant or state variable. Or they could invoke more complex logic, such as extracting the source of a web page from WebDriver. In this example, the source for the condition parameter of a while step is a less than condition source, which contains two sub-sources - the left and right operands to the comparison.

{ "step" : { "type": "while",
  "sources": {
    "condition" : { "type": "lessthan",
      "sourceMap": {
        "left":{"type": "variable", "source":{"value": "counter", "type": "string"}},
        "right":{"value": 3, "type": "integer"}

There are many other automation assets modeled in Muse, such as macros, functions, pages, browser. Learn more about them on the More Task Assets page.