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Playwright vs Puppeteer: Core Differences

By Shashank, Community Contributor -

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Everyone who is a part of the technology ecosystem must know about the rivalry between Google & Microsoft. Both of them left no stone unturned to compete with their product innovation in the market. Given this, both have their own 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 comes with a reliable auto-wait feature, intercepts network activities, and the ability to 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., as well as 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

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 support with both Firefox and Microsoft Edge. It allows programmers to interact with a web browser as an object, calling methods such as .goto() or .type(). It doesn’t bundle its own 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

How to Choose a Library?

Generally, the developer community draws a comparison between 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 isn’t too difficult. 

Choosing Between Playwright and Puppeteer

There are three key factors that help you decide:

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

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

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 very poor as compared to Playwright

Playwright vs Puppeteer: Key Differences

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:

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 helpHas a huge community

There is no doubt that 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.  

Now when it comes to long-time library support,  Playwright is still relying on the patched versions of Firefox and WebKit. So it is a big confusion about its future. On the other hand, Puppeteer keeps the pace in terms of improving its libraries. 

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

No matter what 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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