Playwright vs. Puppeteer in 2024: A Comprehensive Analysis
Playwright and Puppeteer are two powerful browser automation and testing frameworks that can assist developers in automating web testing and web scraping tasks.1As web technologies evolve, web scraping tools will likely need to adapt and improve to keep up with changes. For example, the increasing use of client-side rendering (CSR) may necessitate the use of headless browsers such as Puppeteer and Playwright to scrape websites.
Both frameworks provide APIs for interacting with web pages and sending HTTP requests to target web servers. Yet, there are some significant differences between the two that may affect their suitability for specific use cases.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into Playwright vs. Puppeteer, comparing the two frameworks on factors such as browser support, API design, web scraping capabilities and community support. These factors can help you decide which tool is best for your web scraping and automation needs.
Playwright is an open-source Node.js library that enables web testing and browser automation. Some key features of Playwright include:
- Capable of scraping dynamic web pages.
- Provide an auto-waiting function. In end-to-end automated testing, it is hard to know when elements on a website or web app are actionable. To interact with a disappearing element, you must wait for it to reappear manually, which prolongs the testing process. An automatic waiting mechanism monitors the elements and waits for disabled elements to be actionable.
- Run browsers in headfull and headless (i.e. without a user interface) mode.
- Capture screenshots and generate PDFs. It is important to note that PDF generation is only available in headless Chromium.
- Support CSS and XPath selectors. CSS and XPath selectors enable users to locate elements on a document, which is necessary for data extraction.
- Record videos for tests. The video is only accessible after the page or browser context has been closed.
- Support the use of proxies.
Playwright installation: It requires Python 3.7 or newer. You can install Playwright either using:
- npm or yarn: run “npm init playwright@latest” or “yarn create playwright”
- VS Code Extension: Install the VS Code extension from the marketplace first. Run the “Install Playwright” command after it has been installed.
- Can test multiple browsers in parallel.
- Has cross-language and cross-browser support. It supports browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari.
While Playwright has many advantages, there are some potential disadvantages to consider, including:
- Chrome’s headless mode does not support Chrome extensions in Playwright.
- It does not support data parsing.
- Playwright is incompatible with particular Microsoft Edge / Google Chrome policy configurations.
Puppeteer is an open-source Node.js library for automating web browsers. It was developed by Google and is commonly used for automating end-to-end testing and web scraping. Some key features of Puppeteer include:
- Allow developers to control a headless Chrome or Chromium web browser instance.
- Can be used in a server environment without requiring a graphical user interface, so there is no need to wait for visual elements to load. This makes it possible to scrape a significant amount of data in a short period.
- Generate screenshots of web pages.
- Run Chrome or Chromium in headless mode.
- Provide built-in selectors such as XPath, text selectors, and custom selectors to locate elements within a document.
- Support Chrome extension testing. However, it does not support extension testing in headless mode. This is not a limitation of Puppeteer. Chrome and Chromium extensions are designed to work with a graphical user interface and therefore do not function in headless mode.
- Provides several debugging methods that make troubleshooting easier.
- Strong integration with Chrome and Chromium.
- There is no setup required. If you already have Node.js installed on your computer, you can install Puppeteer by running the following command (Figure 1). After installing Puppeteer, you can begin using it in your Node.js projects.
Figure 1: Show how to install Puppeteer using Python’s script
Some potential limitations of Puppeteer include:
- Do not support cross-browser. It relies solely on Chrome and Chromium, which can make it less useful for web applications that do not support those browsers.
Playwright vs Puppeteer: which one to choose for web scraping?
- Playwright: Cross-browser support is one of the Playwright’s major advantages for web scraping. Playwright may be a better option if you need to extract a significant amount of web data.
Both Playwright and Puppeteer are capable of scraping dynamic web pages. However, if the scrapped website employs anti-scraping technologies such as CAPTCHAs and IP bans, you will need to use a proxy service with Playwright or Puppeteer to overcome anti-scraping challenges. Proxies enable web scrapers to circumvent location restrictions and handle anti-scraping techniques.
Figure 2: How Web Unlocker optimizes users request’s processes
Check out Top 10 Proxy Service Providers for Web Scraping, to select the most effective proxy service provider for your specific use case.
Playwright vs Puppeteer: the main differences
Playwright and Puppeteer are both browser automation and testing frameworks/libraries, and they share many similarities. However, there are some significant differences between the two frameworks that should be noted. The table below outlines the key differences between Playwright and Puppeteer.
Figure 3: The main differences between Playwright and Puppeteer
Playwright or Puppeteer: which is better for you?
Playwright and Puppeteer libraries each have their strengths and weaknesses. The best option for your specific use case will depend on factors such as:
- The complexity of the website you’re scraping
- The level of interaction required
- The amount of data you need to extract.
When choosing between Puppeteer and Playwright, there are several factors to take into account. Here are some of the most important factors to consider:
- Browser support: Puppeteer lacks cross-browser support. Playwright supports multiple browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.
- Performance: Playwright is capable of running multiple tests in parallel. It is a better choice for large-scale web testing tasks.
- Community support: Playwright has over 48K stars and 375 contributors.
- In-Depth Guide to Puppeteer vs Selenium
- Cheerio vs Puppeteer for Web Scraping: In-Depth Guide
- Top 7 Python Web Scraping Libraries & Tools
Next to Read
Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.