Today when it comes to automated web testing, Puppeteer and Selenium are the two names that come up. One of the main reasons why they are well-known is their ability to execute headless browsers.
In basic terms, headless browsers are browsers that can be used for testing usability of web pages and executing browser interactions just like you would with your regular browser. The only difference here is that there is no Graphical User Interface (GUI) and they are usually executed from the terminal.
- help reduce resource usage greatly
- they are faster
- they are ideal for web scraping purposes
- they can be used to monitor network application performance
now talk about these libraries :-
- Selenium is a powerful web testing framework, that has the capability of automating web applications for testing purposes. Selenium is also known for its ability to automate web based administration tasks. Puppeteer is a Node library from Google that provides a simple API to control headless Chrome. Through Puppeteer, common tasks such as typing in inputs, clicking on buttons, testing usability of web pages and even web scraping can be carried out easily.
A talk about features would not be completed without acknowledging the ability of Puppeteer to be used for web scraping purposes. Learning to use Puppeteer as a web scraper is quite easy, take a look at the API documentation, while Selenium is used for testing web applications, it also scales well as a web scraper. Selenium can be used to scrape AJAX websites and the most difficult websites to scrape, provided you can understand the HTML structure. You can check out this tutorial on using Selenium for web scraping with Python.
This is one very important Selenium feature. With its multiple language support, more developers can get to use the tool for their web automation testing tasks. While one may think its multi-language support would make it slow, Selenium still runs at a good speed as starting up a server in Web Driver is not required, while puppeteer is only supports the java script language which create some boundations.
The same way Selenium is not restricted by language barriers, it is also not restricted by platform barrier. It is no news that web application behave differently on multiple platforms. Selenium gives testers the ability to test across major web browsers to provide a smooth user experience for users across different browsers. Asides browsers, Selenium can also be used to test on mobile such as Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry apps.
Selenium has ability to work with headless browsers has made it unarguably the most popular web automation tool, but there are other features that make it powerful, While Puppeteer’s ability to launch a headless browser is one feature that has gained it some fame, that is not the only feature that makes it awesome. Puppeteer also has a couple of other features that makes it useful, let’s take a quick look at some of them.
- Works fine for visual testing.
- Great for end to end testing.
- Fast when compared to Selenium.
- Can take screenshots of webpages.
- More control over tests through Chrome.
- Can test offline mode.
- Multi-platform support.
- Multi-language support.
- Ability to record tests.
- Can take screenshots too.
- Huge community of users.
- Supports only Chrome
- Slow when compared to Puppeteer.
- Limited control over tests when compared to Puppeteer.
Any tool you choose at the end of the day should be fine, just enjoy writing your automation scripts.