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Selenium Vs. Playwright: Which Framework is Best for Your Automation Testing Needs?

by Martha Simmonds
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Manual testing is challenging and laborious, especially when the timelines are short. However, manual testing takes longer than automated testing but we know that manual testing speeds up development and deployment. The best solution for this issue is to use automation testing methods.

Automation testing allows for testing numerous times without additional human input. Even though developing test cases for automatic testing takes a lot of time, this testing method is less expensive in the long run. There are many different test automation tools available on the market. Selenium had the upper hand for a very long period.

Despite this, automation tools have become increasingly common due to recent advancements in web and app development. The Playwright is one of these programs that directly compete with Selenium.

Let’s start with knowing about Selenium and Playwright, followed by their comparison:

Selenium

Selenium is an open-source browser automation tool that has been around for a while and can be downloaded without paying any price. The Selenium WebDriver interface was a formal W3C Recommendation in 2018, and Selenium now has a big user base.

Because of its capability to automate, control, and interact with UI components and web browsers, this framework is presently the most popular in the sector. The following are some of the tools found in the Selenium suite:

  • A collection of adaptable, open-source application programming interfaces (APIs) called Selenium WebDriver can be used to test web apps quickly.
  • Selenium IDE is a record-and-playback tool that enables technical and non-technical users to create tests quickly.
  • Selenium Grid can distribute and run tests on numerous machines using the Grid.

The Selenium project is actively developed right now, and the Selenium 4.0 version just received a major upgrade. Both programming languages and a lot of popular browsers are compatible with them. The open-source Selenium initiative is still revolutionary software and has great community support in browser automation.

Key advantages of using Selenium:

  • Easier to use.
  • It can automate a lot of browsers, including mobile browsers and mobile apps.
  • Operates well on Linux, Windows, and macOS.
  • It supports many programming languages like Ruby, JavaScript, C#, Java, Python, and Perl.

Playwright

In 2020, Microsoft released the initial version of Playwright, an open-source browser automation application, which is relatively young compared to Selenium. The group that created Puppeteer was in charge of creating this headless testing system for Chrome/Chromium. Puppeteer’s functionality is increased by Playwright in many ways, including support for a wide range of browsers.

Playwright was created especially for comprehensive automated testing of web apps. It has features like auto-wait and is compatible with various browsers, operating systems, and languages. It runs quickly for modern testing programs, even for complicated ones.

Even though Playwright is a much newer game than Selenium, it has a growing fan base and is rising in popularity. As a recent creation, it supports fewer platforms and languages than Selenium. However, it has more modern characteristics and abilities that are more appropriate for the modern web. Microsoft keeps expanding its functionality.

Advantages of using Playwright:

  • Playwright supports all modern rendering engines like Firefox, Chromium, and Webkit.
  • It supports Python, Java,.Net, JavaScript, and TypeScript.
  • Playwright is used on CI, macOS, Linux, or Windows.
  • Its speed is much faster as compared with Selenium.
  • Playwright supports parallel execution and can block many unnecessary resource requests.

Selenium Vs. Playwright: A Detailed Comparison

Browser Assistance

Although Selenium supports a wide variety of browsers, to use the framework, the user had to download it and install the correct WebDrivers for every browser. On the other hand, Playwright comes with a built-in driver, making the execution process a lot easier.

However, you should know that it only functions with Firefox, Chromium, and WebKit. It would help if you first thought about the web platforms you’ll need to finish your project before deciding between Selenium and Playwright.

It is critical to note that Selenium recently launched Selenium Manager to troubleshoot the WebDriver management issue. It’s still in the beta testing stage, so using it might still cause issues with the current processes.

Programming Languages

Selenium is a more established tool than Playwright, so it supports a much more comprehensive range of computer languages. It most frequently supports C#, Java, Ruby, Python, and JavaScript. In addition, you can use Go, PHP, Haskell, R, Perl, and Dart, thanks to the client language interfaces bundled with Selenium.

The programming languages supported by Playwright are TypeScript, JavaScript, Python,.NET, and Java. Even though Playwright offers fewer features than Selenium, it is easier to implement, making it a superior choice if you’re working in one of the many programming languages it supports.

Speed

Selenium is regarded as having a slower pace than Playwright when compared to it. Because an increase in computing capacity will greatly slow down the process, Selenium is preferable for use in scraping small to moderate-scale projects. Look up some comparisons and evaluations of the two choices to make an informed decision.

Local community support

Playwright lacks the online tools that Selenium has because it was created later than Selenium. The Selenium features a sizable community that is highly active, in addition to in-depth documentation. As a result, whenever you encounter an issue, you will probably be able to find assistance online, as opposed to Playwright, where it will be much more challenging.

Architecture

Playwright and Selenium were constructed on different architectural foundations. Installing a Selenium client driver (binding) for a particular language enables you to build scripts to communicate with the WebDriver.

Additionally, this will be achieved by sending and receiving JSON messages over HTTP. In other words, every single line of Selenium code will require the JSON Wire Protocol to be sent, which can cause delays.

On the other hand, the event-driven architecture used by Playwright is made up of decoupled systems that can respond to many scenarios. This shows that each part can work separately from the others and interacts with them by exchanging events.

Prerequisites

A client language binding or standalone Selenium server and browser drivers are required for Selenium to operate correctly.

The only thing that Playwright needs is NodeJS installed. You can then get going by getting Playwright using the yarn or npm. In the future, Playwright will help in downloading the required browsers.

Test Runner

Playwright comes with a powerful built-in test runner of its own. Additionally, third-party programs are accessible, including AVA, Jest-Playwright, Mocha, etc.

On using Selenium, you can construct tests with the Selenium IDE and then run them using either the Selenium SIDE program or the Selenium Command Line program.

Parallel Test

Playwright and Selenium are two tools that make it possible to perform tests concurrently. When using Playwright, it comes pre-installed; however, when using Selenium, it can be done by relying on third-party programs. Selenium Grid enables you to carry out parallel testing that is more complex and extensible.

In Playwright, you can design test cases that span numerous tabs, sources, and users. Additionally, you can create scenarios with different contexts for various people and execute them against your server as a single test.

Wait

Selenium’s WebDriver is in charge of executing tests; however, it does not keep track of the DOM’s live, real-time state. We will need to use a variety of waits, such as explicit waits and implicit waits, to get rid of this issue.

Playwright has an automatic auto-wait function. The elements are put through several actionability checks before it takes any action to ensure that they will behave as expected. The action is not performed until all necessary tests have been completed, which is done automatically by the system.

If the prerequisite procedures fail within the allotted time, the action will fail and display the TimeoutError message. This results in less flakiness for the Playwright.

Screenshots and Test Recordings

Especially when the tests are being performed in headless mode in a CI system, debugging test failures is made simpler with recordings and screenshots. While Selenium requires third-party extensions or extra scripting to achieve the same thing, Playwright comes pre-loaded with these features. Playwright allows us to take a screenshot of the complete screen or just a specific component.

Test Reporting

Playwright Test has several useful built-in reporters that can be used for a variety of tasks, and it also can create customized reporters. Every one of the built-in reporters shows a ton of information in the case of a failure, but they mostly vary in how much information they show for successful trials.

Assertions

Assertions can be used to determine whether or not a web application’s current state is as expected. When dealing with assertions in Selenium, you can use the built-in assert keyword or an external assertion framework.

In contrast, Playwright uses the expect library and Jest for its test assertions. You can access many matches in this collection, including toContain, toEqual, toMatch, toMatchSnapshot, etc.

API Automation

Selenium doesn’t come with any built-in tools for testing APIs. The use of external libraries and REST-related classes are required. Playwright’s main features include support for APIs. Installing different frameworks from the environment is unnecessary because Playwright can be used to reach the REST API of your application.

LambdaTest is a cloud-based digital experience testing platform that allows developers and testers to test their websites or web apps with Selenium or Playwright tests over more than 3000+ browsers and OS combinations. It also allows you to test your applications parallelly on multiple environments reducing the test execution time by 15 times.

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Conclusion

The most popular application, Selenium, enjoys a sizable quantity of community support. On the other hand, it lacks a lot of features. The Playwright has several modern features, even though there isn’t much community support.

The test automation tool selection should be carefully based on the needs of the company and the project. It relies on many factors, including the features needed, how long it takes to create, the kinds of web apps used, and the development frameworks used.

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