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Playwright vs Puppeteer: Which to choose in 2023?

By Shashank, Community Contributor -

Everyone who is a part of the technology ecosystem must know about the rivalry between Google & Microsoft. They left no stone unturned to compete with their product innovation in the market and recently with comparisons being drawn between Edge vs Chrome. Given this, both have their next-generation browser automation initiatives; Google’s Puppeteer & Microsoft Playwright. 

To be more precise, Playwright and Puppeteer are both Node.js libraries for browser automation. And the ongoing battle of Playwright vs Puppeteer will end not end soon.

What is Playwright Framework?

Playwright is an open-source Node.js library started by Microsoft that came into existence in 2020. It was developed to automate browsers based on Chromium, Firefox, and WebKit through a single API. Its first public version was released on 31st January to improve automated UI testing. Playwright’s reliable auto-wait feature intercepts network activities and can run multi-page scenarios.

Playwright comes with a set of APIs used to automate major browsers like Firefox, Chromium, and WebKit. With the help of these APIs, one can write code to create new browser pages, interact with on-page elements and navigate to different pages. It allows you to perform end-to-end testing through these APIs, which allows controlling headless browsers.

Playwright is compatible with almost all operating systems, like Linux, Windows, and macOS. It can also be integrated with major CI/CD tools such as Jenkins, Azure, CircleCI, TravisCI, etc., and testing frameworks like Jasmine, Jest, JavaScript, and Mocha. Playwright supports programming languages like Java, Python, and .NET.

Playwright is extremely useful in performing cross browser testing on complex applications. It is extremely accurate and offers wide coverage with high speed.

Advantages of Playwright

Listed below are some of the benefits of Playwright:

  • It is easy to set up
  • It has a stable set of features
  • Test on browsers like Firefox, Chromium, and WebKit.
  • The APIs are used in programming languages like Python, JavaScript, Java, and C#
  • Auto-wait for elements
  • Network interception for mocking and stubbing
  • Integrates with Jest

Disadvantages of Playwright

  • Doesn’t support Native Mobile Apps
  • Fairly new, and the support from the community is limited.
  • Since Playwright is new to the market, their user base is still growing.

What is Puppeteer Framework?

On the other hand, Puppeteer is also a browser-driven framework and a Node.js library maintained by the Chrome DevTools team and has limited Firefox and Microsoft Edge support. It allows programmers to interact with a web browser as an object, calling methods such as .goto() or .type(). It doesn’t bundle its testing framework and works with JavaScript test frameworks. It came into existence in 2017.

Prominent features of Puppeteer include screenshot testing, performance testing, web scraping, and automation.

Also Read: How to start with Puppeteer Debugging

Advantages of the Puppeteer Framework

Listed below are some of the advantages of Puppeteer:

  • Easy to configure
  • Faster Executions
  • Integrates with Mocha, Jest, and Jasmine
  • Supports Firefox and Chrome
  • Has vast community support

Disadvantages of Puppeteer

  • It only supports Chrome and Chromium, with limited Firefox and Microsoft Edge support.
  • Programming Language support is limited to Javascript

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How to Choose a Library?

Generally, the developer community compares Playwright vs Selenium and Puppeteer vs Selenium. In this article, we are discussing Playwright and Puppeteer.  

Now the selection depends upon the goals.

  • If someone is looking for more flexibility and support from third-party services, then Playwright is the choice one can make. 
  • On the other hand, for organizations that work in JavaScript and use Chrome, then Puppeteer is the choice.

Because Playwright and Puppeteer were primarily developed by the same team and have similar APIs, migrating from Puppeteer to Playwright aren’t too difficult.

Playwright vs Puppeteer: Feature Breakdown

Playwright is available for various operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Mac. Its API is also available in multiple programming languages like Java, Python, Typescript, JavaScript, and C#. On the other hand, Puppeteer is a Node library and works only for JavaScript developers. But when in terms of shorter scripts, Puppeteer has a significant advantage over Playwright in terms of shorter scripts. 

Have a glance to get the fundamental differences and similarities between Playwright & Puppeteer:

CriteriaPlaywrightPuppeteer
LanguageSupports multiple languages such as JavaScript, Java, Python, and .NET C#JavaScript
Ease of InstallationEasy to InstallEasy to install
Test Runner Frameworks SupportedMocha, Jest, JasmineMocha, Jest, and Jasmine
PrerequisitesNodeJS should be installedIs a Node.js library
ArchitectureHeadless Browser with event-driven architectureBrowser Driven architecture
Browsers SupportedChromium, Firefox, and WebKitSupports Chrome, Chromium, and limited support to Firefox and Microsoft Edge
SupportLimited community helpIt has a huge community

Playwright vs Puppeteer: Which to Choose?

Undoubtedly, both Playwright & Puppeteer are next-gen libraries for automation. And with the backing of players like Google & Microsoft, they will eventually become more progressive and reliable. 

Eventually, the choice someone makes solely depends on its use case. In the case of automating the website or taking screenshots, one might need cross-browser support, for that matter. So, the question begs – Is Playwright better than Puppeteer?

Three key factors help you decide:

  • Browser Support
  • Long-term Library Support
  • The particular use case for browser automation 

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Playwright comes with first-class support for Chromium, Firefox, and WebKit browsers

  • It maintains a set of browser patches and shipping custom binaries 
  • It works with a unified wire protocol for the internal translation to CDP, Juggler, WDP
  • Regarding long-time library support,  Playwright still relies on the patched versions of Firefox and WebKit. So it is significant confusion about its future.

On the other hand, Puppeteer was mainly focused on Chromium but added Firefox support later to their core.

  • They don’t work with patches like Playwright and work with browser vendors. It paves the way to improve their CDP functionality. 
  • Their Firefox support is inferior as compared to Playwright
  • On the other hand, Puppeteer keeps pace in improving its libraries.

Choosing between Playwright and Puppeteer in 2023 solely depends on the use case to make a choice.  Playwright, the most recent browser automation tool, and Puppeteer are simple. One can notice similarities between both as some of the top contributors to Puppeteer moved to work on the Playwright project. 

Whether you choose – Playwright or Puppeteer, cross browser testing is essential. It ensures a consistent website experience irrespective of the device or browser it is accessed from.

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