When one thinks about automated web testing, two tools that come to mind include Puppeteer and Selenium. These frameworks are open-source web test automation tools that developers use for automation testing.
However, Puppeteer is a newer model and has quickly gained popularity because of its speed. But what makes it faster than Selenium? Below is a comprehensive Puppeteer tutorial that compares these two frameworks and reveals why Puppeteer is faster.
What is Puppeteer?
Developed by Google, a Node library offers a high-level API for controlling headless Chrome. This tool utilizes the Chrome Remote Debug Protocol and can automate almost any action.
The Puppeteer framework was developed in 2018 and is comparatively faster than previous tools like Selenium. For this reason, developers commonly use it to perform manual testing activities, test Chrome extensions, scrape websites, test the latest Chromium version, and create screenshots and PDFs of pages.
Puppeteer has unique features that allow it to offer outstanding automation testing performance. Some of its salient features include:
- Supports web scraping
- Allow headless mode, which is much faster
- Quick and easy automation
- Facilitates performance and screenshot testing
- Takes page’s PDF for UI testing
- Provides more control for Chrome
- Offers more control for tests
- Faster than Selenium
- Offers excellent end-to-end testing
- Tests offline mode
- It can take screenshots
- It can only support Chrome
What is Selenium?
Selenium is an industry leader tool in the automation industry, renowned for the automation testing of web applications. It is arguably one of the most widely supported automation tools and has been in the market for more than 16 years.
Besides automation testing of web applications, this tool is also helpful for testing major browsers. It also supports several programming platforms and languages.
Like Puppeteer, Selenium has key features that make it a functional test automation tool.
- Multi-language support
- Selenium with TestNG supports enhanced features
- Selenium with Appium supports mobile automation
- Selenium Grid provides parallelism
- Supports cross-browser automation
- Supports multiple programming languages and cross-browser
- An open-source and free tool
- Includes a large library and extensions
- Offers multi-language support
- Lacks support for built-in image comparison
- Difficult to learn for beginners
Puppeteer vs. Selenium
Here are some similarities and differences between these two frameworks.
Being a Node library, you will need an npm tool to install Puppeteer. This process is quick, and you simply need to run the npm i puppeteer command.
However, installing Selenium can be tedious, and you need to follow a certain procedure to install it successfully. Start by installing the Selenium library before downloading the browser driver for your chosen browser. If you use different browsers, ensure that you download their drivers.
As aforementioned, Puppeteer works with a single browser, which significantly contributes to easy automation. This is a useful feature that helps you quickly complete your web automation tasks. What’s more, it can be used with several unit testing libraries like Jasmine and Mocha.
With Selenium, the automation process may not be very efficient and quick like Puppeteer’s, considering it offers multi-platform and multi-language support. While this does not necessarily make it slow, it may not run at high speeds like Puppeteer.
Programming Language Support
This means that developers will have a wide range of programming languages to choose from. Besides, it will be easier to conduct web application automation testing.
Supported Browsers and Platforms
Ideally, knowing which browsers and platforms an automated testing tool supports is crucial when deciding. Puppeteer offers a high-level API that is used to automate Chrome.
This is unlike Selenium, which supports several web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, IE, and Safari. This is probably because Selenium is a web-UI testing library, while Puppeteer is Chrome’s remote control library.
Ease of Use
A user-friendly interface makes it easy for novices and those with little developer skills to use the tools without much difficulty. Puppeteer may be the most suitable automation testing tool if this factor is worth considering.
It does not compromise a lot of code, and generating one is straightforward. Also, you can quickly generate an automatic control code since you will only be dealing with one browser.
Selenium is not the most user-friendly testing library. Generally, writing tests for applications can be overwhelming, and you may need to write by hand, considering the broad range of browsers supported.
A puppeteer can be used to retrieve a huge amount of data from websites for web scraping purposes.
Similarly, Selenium can double up as a web scraper. Impressively, you can use this tool to scrape challenging websites like the AJAX website as long as you are familiar with the HTML structure.
If you are looking for a fast web automation testing tool that can test web pages usability, and perform common tasks like clicking on buttons, look no further than Puppeteer. Although limited to Chrome browser only, this tool is packed with useful features to ensure excellent end-to-end testing. Besides the fast execution time, it also has a tight integration and is suitable for anyone that wants a framework in the Chrome or Chromium ecosystem.
On the other hand, you may choose Selenium if you want a feature-rich framework with wide browser coverage and multi-programming languages. Although it is not as fast as Puppeteer, it is a good choice that can meet your automation requirements. If you require an even more in-depth Puppeteer tutorial/guide, see this article by Oxylabs.