Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Playwright For Automated Testing

Testing frameworks are increasing as the shift of testing to the left of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) is becoming more and more prevalent. One of these is Playwright. Programmers use it since it allows them to quickly and reliably create and execute end-to-end tests for various languages, mobile web applications, and platforms.

We all know how crucial it is to test your websites. It is significant to note that testing is imperative not just when you launch an application or any software but as you make adjustments down the road. Remember, testing takes time, and it can be frustrating if you have to test certain features repeatedly or go through specific workflows. Is it okay if testing could be automated so you can always be sure of your work before and after you go live?

Fortunately, there are some solutions for this. Playwright is the automated testing tool that ensures your site runs properly. Visual comparisons are many people’s favorite aspect of Playwright. It allows you to instantly compare how a page or component looked before and after the change.

Playwright can test any digital product, including mobile apps, so automated testing is not just for websites. You can integrate it into your current development process, which is compatible with all popular development tools.

Before we jump into the advantages and disadvantages of Playwright, let’s look at its history first!

Playwright’s History

Automating browsers is not a newer technology. Selenium has been around since 2004. It is mainly used to create test suites for websites. Nevertheless, programmers have used it to take screenshots and automate processes when websites do not have APIs.

However, over a while, Selenium earned a reputation for being untrustworthy. Selenium-based tests are often unreliable and fail sporadically for non-obvious reasons that are difficult to reproduce. Because Selenium consumes a lot of resources when rendering entire websites, programmers have switched to headless browsers instead. These browsers work similarly to regular browsers but do not display any information. PhantomJS was one of the most popular of these.

While headless browsers are beneficial for testing simple websites, they can not test everything websites can do. To test all the features of a full browser, headless browsers need to be as similar to full browsers as possible. Because current browsers are so complex, this can be quite a challenge.

The browser automation environment has changed dramatically since 2017. PhantomJS, a popular framework for headless testing, was killed off. This change was triggered by the announcement of Google’s Headless Chrome, which was introduced with Chrome 59. Developers also saw the introduction of a headless mode in Firefox. These advances led to more efficient tests and scripts, so Playwright was developed.

Playwright: What Is It?

Microsoft created and maintained Playwright. It is an open-source test automation framework that is built on JavaScript. With a single, high-level API, the Playwright library, available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, offers cross-browser automation for testing Chromium (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge), Mozilla Firefox, and WebKit (Apple Safari).

Since Playwright tests Python, C#.NET, Node.js, Java, and other computer languages in addition to JavaScript, it is helpful for developers who need to deal with numerous programming languages. So, if you are someone like this, Playwright is for you! Playwright supports all of the main browsers. It can handle testing on both desktops as well as mobile devices.

Playwright Automation: Why Choose It?

Playwright is a relatively new product in the market. It supports several different languages, and the best part is that there are not many restrictions to list. The rapid migration from Selenium to Playwright is made possible by Playwright’s support for C#, Java, and Python. Languages used in programming are not a barrier. In January 2020, Playwright had its debut, and since then, it has been quite well-known.

Here are some reasons why Playwright is becoming more popular than ever:

  • Instead of depending on an intermediate translation layer, Playwright can look into and control the browser, enabling the simulation of more insightful and relevant user situations.
  • Playwright uses the DevTools protocol to provide robust, dependable automated tests.
  • Consider strategies to make your next project automation-friendly from the start to save time. You may cut down on the time and labor needed by Playwright in the future by including features that are simple to automate
  • Instead of utilizing general class selections that target several components at once, think about using CSS ID selectors that target particular elements that you will be testing. Similarly, consider utilizing CSS to handle items that need to be tested in conjunction, like a menu. This will make it simpler to write automated tests focusing on certain sections of your website.
  • Consider employing an application framework if you are developing software since it makes it simple to add new features without having to start from scratch with the code. You may save a ton of time and effort by taking the time to prepare for automation.

Benefits of Playwright Automation

Every month, Playwright contributors are quite busy delivering new features, which are detailed below:

  • Simple Setup and Configuration: Since it is a Test Automation Framework, it just requires setup and does not need much time to install. The installation procedure may differ according to the language we use with Playwright.
  • Support testing: Playwright supports functional, end-to-end, and API testing. The Playwright can be connected to Accessibility Testing via a third-party plugin.
  • Support for several browsers: The Chromium family of browsers, i.e., Chrome, Edge, Webkit (Safari), and Firefox, are all supported.
  • Multilingual support: Playwright is a popular option as it supports Java, C#, Python, and Javascript/Typescript. Most current open-source test automation frameworks lack this functionality.
  • Parallel browser testing: Playwright also enables concurrent testing (also known as parallel testing) through browser context and can run parallel tests with different browsers. This speeds up testing and is useful when numerous web pages need to be evaluated simultaneously.
  • Support for debugging tools: Playwright tests have various debugging features that make them developer-friendly. Playwright Inspector, VSCode Debugger, Browser Development Tools, and Trace Viewers Console Logs are some debugging alternatives.
  • Built-in reporters: the Playwright framework includes numerous useful reporters by default, including List, Dot, Line, JSON, JUnit, and HTML reporters. The fascinating thing is that Playwright allows you to create unique reports. The third-party reporter, Allure Report, is also supported by Playwright.
  • Multiple tabs/browser window support: Playwright supports multiple tabs and browser windows. Some test cases require launching a new window and returning to the parent window to validate the situation. Playwright provides a wide range of test scenarios.
  • Typescript support is included by default: Typescript language support requires no setup as it recognizes your Typescript and Javascript code.
  • CI/CD integration support: Playwright supports CI/CD integration. Docker images are even provided for specific language bindings.

Playwright Testing Drawbacks

Playwright testing disadvantages include the following:

  • Screenshots, videos, and error traces are all recorded by a single test() method. In other words, if you have multiple tests inside a test.describe() method, and you get videos and traces for each one but only for part of the root test function.
  • Instead of real mobile devices, Playwright simulates them with desktop browsers.
  • Playwright supports API testing, but redirects cannot be disabled with the APIRequest feature.
  • Playwright does not support legacy Microsoft Edge or IE11.
  • TeamCity Reporter is not supported. You must write your reporter for CI/CD builds.

Playwright Testing: How To Do It?

The Playwright framework provides several capabilities that you may use. However, only a cloud-based testing platform like LambdaTest can reveal its real potential. You can automate Playwright tests on an online browser farm of over 3000+ browsers and OS combinations. This includes Chrome, Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Chromium, and Webkit, using LambdaTest test automation cloud.

In addition, you may also run many Playwright test scripts simultaneously to reduce the number of times each test is executed. Here are some other salient features of LambdaTest that make Playwright testing simple.

  • Using HyperExecute, an end-to-end test orchestration cloud, the test execution process may be completed 70% quicker.
  • You can quickly reduce test flakiness, speed up project completion, and get faster feedback on code changes using Test At Scale.
  • You can also instantly access 3000+ actual desktop and mobile environments 
  • 120+ third-party connectors with your preferred tool for CI/CD, Project Management, Codeless Automation, and more are available here
  • Using a geolocation testing option, you can test across many regions.

Playwright Works With You, Not For You

There are a few things to consider when choosing which website features to test automatically.

  • The feature’s significance – If it is essential to your site’s operation, you must extensively test it. For instance, if you manage an online store, you must thoroughly verify the checkout process to ensure it is operating as intended.

Regardless of whether the feature has been fully integrated into your website, you should only automate a feature that has finished development to prevent future modifications to your automation script. Otherwise, maintaining the script will take up more time than is necessary. As a result, testing may be delayed, and the person in charge of the scripts may have to do a lot of work over again.

  • Make sure the feature is designed to allow automation – The feature you want to automate should be constructed in a manner that can enable automation. This implies that before website construction begins, you should have a strategy for automating it.

When determining which website functionalities to automate testing for, there is ultimately no one correct solution. The choice is based on the particular conditions of each website. It’s also critical to realize that Playwright may be a useful component of your quality assurance procedure when used in concert with other tools to provide a more thorough and reliable QA outcome.

  • The feature’s usage frequency – If the feature is frequently used, it’s critical to have thorough test coverage to identify any possible flaws. On the other side, it may not be optional to have as much test coverage if the functionality is only utilized occasionally.

How Do Playwright Tests Run In Parallel?

When we discuss parallelization, browser context is crucial. A browser instance is used for automating a web application. You will have the ability to open and shut down these browser instances. The execution mechanism is fundamentally based on a notion called browser contexts, which Playwright presents. As a result, several concurrent, separated browser contexts may be created using a single browser instance.

You can quickly and cheaply generate hundreds of browser contexts and shut them down as necessary. A single browser context may host several websites.

For instance, if you are using a single WebKit instance and on top of that, you create a browser context and execute your scripts there. You can run parallel tests with a single example of WebKit across several contexts since these browser contexts are separate and concurrent.

Wrapping Up!

As discussed above, Playwright might be a valuable addition to your QA process for automated testing solutions. Playwright may help you save time and money while delivering high-quality output because of its robust and simple-to-use features. Also, Playwright is very flexible and straightforward to customize to your unique requirements.

So, including Playwright in your QA mix would be an excellent place to start if you’re seeking a more mature QA process internally. We’re sure you will be awed by what it can do for your project.