Playwright vs. Selenium: Which One is Better for Automated Testing
In the world of web development, automating tests has become an integral part of the development process. Automated testing can save you a significant amount of time and reduces human errors that could make the testing inaccurate like typos, overlooking details, and not following test cases correctly. To further increase the efficiency, it's essential to choose the right testing framework for your web application.
There are numerous options available and Playwright and Selenium are some of the most popular ones. In this article, we will compare these two frameworks to help you decide which one is the best fit for your project.
What is Playwright?
Playwright is a relatively new browser automation tool that was released by Microsoft in 2020. It allows developers to write automated tests that can interact with web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. Using a single API, you can carry out automation on multiple browsers and platforms, including their mobile versions.
Another advantage of Playwright is its ease of use. Playwright's API is designed to be simple and intuitive, with a focus on developer productivity. This makes the tests easier to write and maintain, even for developers who are new to browser automation.
What is Selenium?
Selenium is a widely-used browser automation tool that has been around since 2004. It is mature and supports a wide range of web browsers and programming languages including the non-mainstream ones like Haskell, Perl, Dart, and Pharo Smalltalk.
Selenium consists of Selenium WebDriver, Selenium IDE, and Selenium Grid. Each of them complements the other to carry out automated tests on different browsers and environments, with Selenium WebDriver being the core of the automated testing ecosystem. It is also highly extensible, with a large ecosystem of third-party plugins and frameworks that can enhance its functionality.
As Selenium is an open-source project, its growth is contributed by the support of the community. Besides efforts by individual contributors like programmers, designers, QA engineers, etc., the Selenium project is also sponsored by companies like BrowserStack, Lambdatest, Sauce Lab, and more.
Comparisons Between Playwright and Selenium
Playwright has a more modern architecture and currently supports all modern rendering engines like Chromium, WebKit, and Firefox. You can run Playwright on the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. As it also supports cross-platform testing, you can test your web applications on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Selenium has an ecosystem full of WebDrivers that are created and maintained by third parties to support different internet browsers. Currently, browsers that are supported include Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge and Opera. The release notes, change logs, and issues of these browser drivers are well-documented and available publicly on GitHub, together with their Windows, Linux, and macOS releases.
Playwright has native mobile emulation of Google Chrome for Android and Mobile Safari for iOS. This gives it a big advantage over other automation tools that require additional plugins. With Playwright, you can emulate any device by using appropriate configurations and also simulate browser behaviors like “touch” on mobile phones and tablets.
Selenium doesn't support mobile devices natively like Playwright. To test mobile browsers, you will need to use Selenium with Appium, an open-source mobile automation framework for native, hybrid, and mobile web apps. As Appium supports automation for both iOS and Android operating systems, it is highly preferred among other options.
Programming Language Support
Playwright has great community support and has a “Community” page on its website. Its GitHub repo is used by 25.1k members and contributed by more than 390 developers. Any bug report, feature request, regression, or security vulnerability can be submitted if you wish to contribute to its development. Besides that, there’s also a community Discord Server for developers using Playwright to connect and ambassadors that create content around the incredible tool to share their knowledge.
Selenium has been around for a long time. Its GitHub repo is used by 193k members and contributed by more than 670 developers. The community members of Selenium not only contribute code but also answer questions for other users in the user group, maintain and translate the website and documentation, report bugs, and request new features. With the collective effort, Selenium remains competitive and up-to-date with the latest technologies despite being an open-source project.
Playwright provides powerful debugging capabilities to help developers identify and diagnose issues in their web applications. One of them is the VS Code Extension. It helps developers debug their tests, see error messages, set breakpoints, and step through their tests right in VS Code. Besides that, there are also the Playwright Inspector that helps developers to step through their tests, edit locators live, pick locators and see actionability logs, and the Trace Viewer that lets developers explore recorded Playwright traces of their tests.
Selenium ’s debugging is done on the Selenium IDE. It is a browser extension that enables developers to develop test cases using Selenium most efficiently and you can debug them with its built-in features like setting breakpoints and pausing on exceptions. Like Playwright, it also records the users’ actions in the browser for you.
Playwright's test files run in parallel by default but the tests in the same test file run in order. However, you can configure your project to run the tests within the same test file to run in parallel too. Each test file runs in an independent worker process and you can control the maximum number of parallel worker processes via the command line or in the configuration file.
Selenium can run tests locally on any browser/OS combination in parallel using the Command-line Runner for Selenium IDE. It requires you to install the command-line runner, necessary browser drivers, and other dependencies before launching the runner from the command prompt with the options that you want. Alternatively, you can run the tests in parallel across multiple remote machines using Selenium Grid.
- Records your actions and generates test codes in any programming language
- Creates independent browser context for different tests fast
- Saves the authentication state of a browser context and reuses it in all tests while keeping each test isolated
- Waits for elements to be actionable before performing actions
- Has a rich set of introspection events
- Records multiple locators for each element it interacts with and retries other locators automatically when one fails
- Allows reuse of test cases in multiple places throughout a test suite
- Has an extensive control flow structure that allows you to add conditional logic and looping to your tests
- Nesting control flow commands
- Control flow syntax validation
Playwright and Selenium are both powerful browser automation tools that can help you automate your testing process. While Selenium has been around for much longer and supports a wider range of programming languages, Playwright offers some unique features such as native support for mobile browser testing and a user-friendly GUI for debugging. Ultimately, the choice between Playwright and Selenium will depend on your specific needs and preferences as a developer.
If you would like to explore other automation tools, try Browserbear. It helps you to automate the browser with minimum code. Read more from: