March 31, 2022

Selenium vs. Puppeteer: What Should You Choose? 

Web automation and scraping have evolved tremendously in the past few years. Developers use several ways to access and parse web pages. For instance, browser testing libraries offer a method to simplify the process and make it more efficient.

Currently, Puppeteer and Selenium are two widely recognized open-source test automation frameworks used to automate browser testing and more.

While both serve the same purpose, a comparison will help testers and developers pick the appropriate tool for their long and short-term requirements.

We’ll explore the features, merits, and demerits of both tools below.

What Is Selenium?

Selenium was officially launched in 2004 by Jason Huggins. It is primarily utilized to automate web applications for testing purposes.

Nonetheless, its features aren’t limited to that only. It also supports several programming languages and offers testing on multiple, widely used browsers across the globe.

Features

  • Selenium supports multiple programming languages (JavaScript, Python, PHP, Perl, Ruby, and Java) on all major browsing platforms, including Chromium, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
  • It offers mobile automation with Appium.
  • Selenium supports parallel testing. Developers can use it to create extensive test cases in their preferred languages and target multiple browsers through a single platform, reducing time and expense.
  • You can integrate it with frameworks like Maven and Ant for source code compilation.
  • The Selenium 2.0 version supports Ajax and dynamic web pages.
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Pros

  • Selenium is an open-source web automation tool.
  • It offers Agile and CI integration.
  • It needs fewer sources compared to other automation testing softwares.
  • Selenium offers a seamless automation experience by supporting multiple languages across several browsers.
  • You do not require server installation for the Selenium web driver. Instead, test scripts work with the browser directly.

Cons

  • It is somewhat tricky to use for beginners.
  • It does not support Mobile Native Applications, Desktop Applications, and Mobile Hybrid Applications.
  • Selenium offers restricted image testing support.

Selenium Tutorial and Installation

Before installing the tool, you first need to download the language-specific library you’d prefer and then install the browser driver for the relevant browser.

If you’re using several browsers, you’d need to download a driver for each one of those.

You can install the Selenium library here. Once installed, all you need to do is visit the website and download Selenium browser drivers and install the official web drivers from there.

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Later, you can either point the driver directly from the automation script or add it to the system path.

You can also check out this Selenium tutorial for beginners for more info.

What Is Puppeteer?

Puppeteer was officially released in 2017. It offers a high-level API for controlling headless Chromium over the Devtools Protocol.

It is a handy tool for Chrome browser automation and pretty popular for use cases like generating PDFs, scraping, and more.

If you prefer speed and performance over portability, Puppeteer is a go-to tool for you.

Features

  • Puppeteer allows you to generate PDFs and screenshots of pages.
  • It enables users to run their tests in the newest Chrome version using the latest Javascript.
  • It offers seamless web scraping and automation.
  • You can also spot performance issues by capturing a timeline trace of your website.
  • Puppeteer allows automated user-interface testing, form submission, keyboard input, and more.

Pros

  • It offers both PDF and image support, unlike Selenium – which only provides image support.
  • Its setup is relatively easier, with just a single command.
  • It only supports Chrome, but its execution speed is a lot faster than Selenium.
  • Puppeteer measures load times and rendering through Chrome Performance Analysis software.
  • Its default headless mode is incredibly efficient.
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Cons

  • It supports a single programming language, i.e., JavaScript.
  • It only offers a web-based testing platform.
  • Supports a single browser.
  • Limited community support (Puppeteer only supports GitHub, Google Groups, and Stack Overflow).

Puppeteer Tutorial and Installation

Puppeteer and Puppeteer-core are two installation options. The former includes the recent Chromium version, and you can use the tool by simply downloading the Puppeteer library.

The latter is a lightweight Puppeteer version and doesn’t include a bundled browser. You can use it when connecting to a remote or existing browser.

Both versions can be downloaded using the yarn or npm package managers.

Selenium Vs Puppeteer: Which One Is the Best?

Selenium and Puppeteer both have their pros and cons, and which one is better depends entirely on user preferences.

For instance, if you work only with a Google browser and seek a faster execution speed, Puppeteer is your go-to tool.

On the flip side, if you have to conduct cross-browser testing using several programming languages and across multiple platforms, Selenium is the right fit for you.

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Conclusion

We covered the features of two popular testing automation frameworks. Both Selenium and Puppeteer offer distinct benefits to cater to your unique automation needs.

Although Selenium outshines Puppeteer in terms of supported browsers, platforms, and features, Puppeteer offers faster execution and seamless integration.

You can go for the one that suits your automation and testing requirements.


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selenium vs. puppeteer: what should you choose? 


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