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A parallel executor for Robot Framework tests. With Pabot you can split one execution into multiple and save test execution time.

Pabot presentation at 2018


From PyPi:

 pip install -U robotframework-pabot

OR clone this repository and run:  install

Basic use

Split execution to suite files.

 pabot [path to tests]

Split execution on test level.

 pabot --testlevelsplit [path to tests]

Run same tests with two different configurations.

 pabot --argumentfile1 first.args --argumentfile2 second.args [path to tests]

For more complex cases please read onward.


Join Pabot Slack channel in Robot Framework slack. Get invite to Robot Framework slack.

Contributing to the project

There are several ways you can help in improving this tool:

  • Report an issue or an improvement idea to the issue tracker
  • Contribute by programming and making a pull request (easiest way is to work on an issue from the issue tracker)

Command-line options

pabot [--verbose|--testlevelsplit|--command .. --end-command|
       --processes num|--pabotlib|--pabotlibhost host|--pabotlibport port|
       --processtimeout num|
       --shard i/n|
       --artifacts extensions|--artifactsinsubfolders|
       --resourcefile file|--argumentfile[num] file|--suitesfrom file] 
      [robot options] [path ...]

Supports all Robot Framework command line options and also following options (these must be before RF options):

more output from the parallel execution

Split execution on test level instead of default suite level. If .pabotsuitenames contains both tests and suites then this will only affect new suites and split only them. Leaving this flag out when both suites and tests in .pabotsuitenames file will also only affect new suites and add them as suite files.

RF script for situations where robot is not used directly

How many parallel executors to use (default max of 2 and cpu count). Special option "all" will use as many processes as there are executable suites or tests.

Start PabotLib remote server. This enables locking and resource distribution between parallel test executions.

--pabotlibhost [HOSTNAME]
Host name of the PabotLib remote server (default is If used with --pabotlib option, will change the host listen address of the created remote server (see If used without the --pabotlib option, will connect to already running instance of the PabotLib remote server in the given host. The remote server can be also started and executed separately from pabot instances:

  python -m pabot.pabotlib <path_to_resourcefile> <host> <port>
  python -m pabot.pabotlib resource.txt 8271

This enables sharing a resource with multiple Robot Framework instances.

--pabotlibport [PORT]
Port number of the PabotLib remote server (default is 8270) See --pabotlibhost for more information

--processtimeout [TIMEOUT]
Maximum time in seconds to wait for a process before killing it. If not set, there's no timeout.

--resourcefile [FILEPATH]
Indicator for a file that can contain shared variables for distributing resources. This needs to be used together with pabotlib option. Resource file syntax is same as Windows ini files. Where a section is a shared set of variables.

--artifacts [FILE EXTENSIONS]
List of file extensions (comma separated).
Defines which files (screenshots, videos etc.) from separate reporting directories would be copied and included in a final report.
Possible links to copied files in RF log would be updated (only relative paths supported).
The default value is png.

 --artifacts png,mp4,txt

Copy artifacts located not only directly in the RF output dir, but also in it's sub-folders.

--argumentfile[INTEGER] [FILEPATH]
Run same suites with multiple argumentfile options. For example:

 --argumentfile1 arg1.txt --argumentfile2 arg2.txt

Optionally read suites from output.xml file. Failed suites will run first and longer running ones will be executed before shorter ones.

--shard [INDEX]/[TOTAL] Optionally split execution into smaller pieces. This can be used for distributing testing to multiple machines.

--chunk Optionally chunk tests to PROCESSES number of robot runs. This can save time because all the suites will share the same setups and teardowns.

Example usages:

 pabot test_directory
 pabot --exclude FOO directory_to_tests
 pabot --command java -jar robotframework.jar --end-command --include SMOKE tests
 pabot --processes 10 tests     
 pabot --pabotlibhost --pabotlibport 8271 --processes 10 tests
 pabot --pabotlib --pabotlibhost --pabotlibport 8272 --processes 10 tests
 pabot --artifacts png,mp4,txt --artifactsinsubfolders directory_to_tests


pabot.PabotLib provides keywords that will help communication and data sharing between the executor processes. These can be helpful when you must ensure that only one of the processes uses some piece of data or operates on some part of the system under test at a time.

PabotLib Docs are located at

PabotLib example:


  *** Settings ***
  Library    pabot.PabotLib
  *** Test Case ***
  Testing PabotLib
    Acquire Lock   MyLock
    Log   This part is critical section
    Release Lock   MyLock
    ${valuesetname}=    Acquire Value Set  admin-server
    ${host}=   Get Value From Set   host
    ${username}=     Get Value From Set   username
    ${password}=     Get Value From Set   password
    Log   Do something with the values (for example access host with username and password)
    Release Value Set
    Log   After value set release others can obtain the variable values




pabot call using resources from valueset.dat

  pabot --pabotlib --resourcefile valueset.dat test.robot

Controlling execution order and level of parallelism

.pabotsuitenames file contains the list of suites that will be executed. File is created during pabot execution if not already there. The file is a cache that pabot uses when re-executing same tests to speed up processing. This file can be partially manually edited but easier option is to use --ordering FILENAME. First 4 rows contain information that should not be edited - pabot will edit these when something changes. After this come the suite names.

With --ordering FILENAME you can have a list that controls order also. The syntax is same as .pabotsuitenames file syntax but does not contain 4 hash rows that are present in .pabotsuitenames.

There different possibilities to influence the execution:

  • The order of suites can be changed.
  • If a directory (or a directory structure) should be executed sequentially, add the directory suite name to a row as a --suite option.
  • If the base suite name is changing with robot option --name / -N you can also give partial suite name without the base suite.
  • You can add a line with text #WAIT to force executor to wait until all previous suites have been executed.
  • You can group suites and tests together to same executor process by adding line { before the group and }after.
  • You can introduce dependencies using the word #DEPENDS after a test declaration. Please take care that in case of circular dependencies an exception will be thrown. An example could be.
--test robotTest.1 Scalar.Test With Environment Variables #DEPENDS robotTest.1 Scalar.Test with BuiltIn Variables of Robot Framework
--test robotTest.1 Scalar.Test with BuiltIn Variables of Robot Framework
--test robotTest.2 Lists.Test with Keywords and a list
--test robotTest.2 Lists.Test with a Keyword that accepts multiple arguments
--test robotTest.2 Lists.Test with some Collections keywords
--test robotTest.2 Lists.Test to access list entries
--test robotTest.3 Dictionary.Test that accesses Dictionaries
--test robotTest.3 Dictionary.Dictionaries for named arguments #DEPENDS robotTest.3 Dictionary.Test that accesses Dictionaries
--test robotTest.1 Scalar.Test Case With Variables #DEPENDS robotTest.3 Dictionary.Test that accesses Dictionaries
--test robotTest.1 Scalar.Test with Numbers #DEPENDS robotTest.1 Scalar.Test With Arguments and Return Values
--test robotTest.1 Scalar.Test Case with Return Values #DEPENDS robotTest.1 Scalar.Test with Numbers
--test robotTest.1 Scalar.Test With Arguments and Return Values
--test robotTest.3 Dictionary.Test with Dictionaries as Arguments
--test robotTest.3 Dictionary.Test with FOR loops and Dictionaries #DEPENDS robotTest.1 Scalar.Test Case with Return Values

Programmatic use

Library offers an endpoint main_program that will not call sys.exit. This can help in developing your own python program around pabot.

import sys
from pabot.pabot import main_program

def amazing_new_program():
    print("Before calling pabot")
    exit_code = main_program(['tests'])
    print(f"After calling pabot (return code {exit_code})")

Global variables

Pabot will insert following global variables to Robot Framework namespace. These are here to enable PabotLib functionality and for custom listeners etc. to get some information on the overall execution of pabot.

  PABOTQUEUEINDEX - this contains a unique index number for the execution. Indexes start from 0.
  PABOTLIBURI - this contains the URI for the running PabotLib server
  PABOTEXECUTIONPOOLID - this contains the pool id (an integer) for the current Robot Framework executor. This is helpful for example when visualizing the execution flow from your own listener.
  PABOTNUMBEROFPROCESSES - max number of concurrent processes that pabot may use in execution.
  CALLER_ID - a universally unique identifier for this execution.