An efficient testing process is the most determining factor for the successful performance of an application. Any bug that escapes the test will reduce the application’s quality of service. To get around this, the only possible way is to have the most appropriate automated test tool. Lots of web Automated Test Tools Available makes your job easy and saves you time.
It allows QA teams to adopt low-code or no-script test automation, by eliminating the need to rely on written code. It also facilitates faster and lighter versions of applications. Depending on your need, you can find free tools or paid automation tools.
In this article, we will discuss the most popular automation tools: selenium and playwright. Both are well known and well known for their open source testing frameworks. They are comprehensive solutions and a good choice for automated testing. But in detail, there are a lot of differences between them. This is what we will discuss here. We’ll see how the playwright improves on selenium in some areas, and how selenium is much better than the playwright in many areas.
Now you must be wondering how to choose between Selenium and Playwright. Therefore, we will discuss each of them in detail so that you get a better idea of their similarities as well as the differences in many aspects. So, let’s first start with selenium and then we’ll move on to Playwright. We will also compare their features to help you decide which one you should choose based on your testing requirements.
Selenium is the most popular and most preferred open source tool and de-facto standard that has been ruling for more than a decade for programmatic browser automation. It’s the easiest library to use and gets the job done perfectly. It is an indispensable tool in your tool belt if you are a professional automation tester.
Selenium is a group of tools consisting of three components. They are:
It also supports multiple operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc., and browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, Android, iOS, and many more.
Selenium IDE (Integrated Development Environment) – This is a Firefox plug-in that is used to record and run scripts. It also allows the development of rapid tests for engineers as well as non-technical users.
selenium network – The network is used to distribute and run tests in parallel on multiple devices against different browsers and operating systems.
Selenium is a widely used tool for browser automation, and it has a huge community of users. It automates browsers, interacts with user interface elements, and imitates user actions to test the expected functionality of web applications. It is the most reliable and popular framework that supports cross-browser testing at scale and ensures smooth and consistent user experiences across multiple browsers and device families.
Selenium is actively developing and releasing its latest updates constantly and the latest major updated version is Selenium 4. It supports a wide range of browsers and all major programming languages, giving testers the flexibility to write test scripts in any programming language they are comfortable with.
Playwright is a simple, fast and reliable tool on the market for browser automation. This new open source framework was first released by Microsoft and developed by the same team that created Puppeteer Browsers (a headless test framework for Chrome and Chromium browsers) only. However, Playwright goes beyond Puppeteer and provides broader coverage and support for multiple browsers like Chrome, Firefox, WebKit, etc. It also supports multiple programming languages like Python, Java, .NET C#, providing more QA options for writing test scripts.
The playwright provides wide coverage, accuracy, and speed, and is specifically designed for cross-browser testing and cross-platform testing on complex applications, through a high-level API, allowing testers to control headless browsers. In other frameworks, testers need to write code to wait explicitly, but Playwright includes a useful auto-wait feature that enables testers to easily write concise test scripts. This automatic waiting feature performs all important checks for an item, such as whether the items are performing as expected and the test results are more accurate.
This open source tool is not built on selenium, it is a completely standalone solution. Screenshots, videos, and implementation traces are some of the supported features. It is intended for comprehensive automated testing of web applications, designed specifically for the modern web, and generally works very quickly, even for complex testing projects. And to extend the scope of testing, it also allows simultaneous testing to be executed. This is useful when you need to test multiple web pages simultaneously.
The playwright is much newer than selenium, but is quickly picking up competition and actively growing. Being a newcomer, it supports fewer browsers/languages than Selenium, but the newer feature it includes is the newest and most compatible with the modern web.
Above we have already discussed two open source tools, Playwright, the latest addition to the Automation Framework. And selenium has been our favorite tool for over a decade now.
Now to make your concept clear, let’s make a detailed comparison of the features they offer.
Comparison of Selenium and Playwright Features
With languages, Selenium took the lead in terms of older browser support. But the playwright retains the most common of them. Selenium supported browsers are Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge Chromium (Selenium 4), Safari, and Opera. In contrast, Playwright is limited to Chromium, Chrome, Firefox, Webkit, and Edge.
Here there is not much to distinguish between the two. The Page Object Model design pattern can be implemented using Playwright in addition to Selenium.
The way dialogues are handled is something where the difference is huge. From my point of view, the difference in this aspect is that selenium runs dialogues naturally. Displays alerts during script execution making interaction easy. In the case of Playwright, alerts are automatically ignored by default.
Playwright comes with its own runner solution, while selenium requires an external runner to use.
In this category, the playwright offers the easiest way. It provides simple functionality with specification of drag selector and drop zone selector. Selenium is not that easy to use. It defines the drag element programmatically, the source of the drop, and then creates a custom action to move and drop the element to its destination.
Parallel tests speed up test execution, and the two tools can meet this requirement. With Playwright, you can run tests in parallel. Selenium can also do this using third-party solutions such as TestNG.
Video recording and screenshots
Test execution logging and screen capture help with better documentation and reduced instability in explaining test failures. Comparing the two in this category is quite appropriate. The playwright brings tremendous flexibility and comes with these capabilities out of the box. And for selenium, there are extensions available.
In this feature, Playwright does not support real devices; It can only handle emulators. While Selenium supports real hardware clouds and mobile testing with Appium is also available.
In this aspect both tests are supported with multiple tabs. Hence, both selenium and playwright are a good fit.
In this category, Selenium and Playwright are better choices because they both have APIs for multiple languages.
So whichever you should use selenium or playwright to automate testing
Now that you know that both Selenium and Playwright act as web automation tools, they have their own strengths and weaknesses. This means that the choice between them is subjective to the need for which they will be used. You should check your test requirements and research your options before deciding on a winner.
It is also important to understand if you need a wider range of browser/language support. Or is a long track record of active support and development required? Is test execution speed vital?
Evaluate all these requirements and then decide accordingly which is the most suitable. Because, depending on your needs, either of them can serve you better.
Almost everyone sitting in an interview knows selenium, but there’s no harm in learning a newer technology like Playwright. Both have a number of aspects related to them. As a newcomer, Playwright lacks support at various levels such as community, browsers, real devices, language options, and integrations while Selenium serves you all.
Selenium is an excellent tool that has been with us for many years and has remained unchallenged in test automation tools. Although it has faced new competitors, selenium is still the preferred. Playwright offers a quick test in complex web applications but has limited coverage. Selenium provides strong community support along with broader testing coverage, scalability, and flexibility.
Thus, depending on the task requirements and priorities, you can choose one of these two frameworks for testing. When the architecture is too complex and has limited coverage, Playwright is the choice for testing. In a scenario that requires more extensive coverage, selenium is your best bet.
Run Selenium Tests with Lambda Test
No matter which test automation framework you choose, cross-browser testing is mandatory. It is the only way to ensure the website performs smoothly with a consistent user experience regardless of the device and browser used to access it.
Emulators and emulators simply cannot provide the real user environment in which the application must be tested. Hence consider testing websites and apps on a real device cloud, preferably having the latest hardware, browsers and OS versions available. This applies to both manual testing and automation testing.
Lambda Test is one such platform that provides the cloud for more than 3000 real devices, browsers and operating systems with their suites for on-demand real-time testing at scale. With Lambda Test, you can run automated tests with frameworks like Selenium, Playwright, Puppeteer, Cypress and more.
It is a scalable, secure and reliable cross-browser compatibility testing platform that provides a cloud for automated testing of selenium and playwright automation, which can be quickly traced through trouble-free parallel testing. The cloud can also be integrated with popular CI/CD tools like Jira, Jenkins, Team City, and many more. In addition, the built-in debug feature allows testers to detect and fix errors immediately.
Selenium has been around for a very long time, and it is a very powerful and popular tool for automation testing. It also has a huge community of experts who help a lot in solving any kind of problem. Although the playwright is relatively the youngest among the evaluated test automation tools. It has been able to overcome challenges as other tools struggle to provide easy solutions. It is loaded with new features that can meet your testing requirements.
Therefore, in conclusion, it can be said that this article has provided a fair comparison between the two mentioned tools, including all relevant aspects that can help in choosing one or the other.