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September 19, 2022

Playwright vs. Cypress: Which Cross-Browser Testing Solution Is Right for You?

Mobile Application Testing

With multiple cross-browser testing solutions available to you, it can be challenging to determine which platform is the right one for your product. While Selenium has been the de facto platform for years, Cypress and Playwright are prominent alternatives that are taking hold of the automated testing sphere and enabling dev teams to successfully test according to their specific needs.

If you are debating between Playwright vs. Cypress, Playwright vs. Selenium, or even Playwright vs. Cypress vs. Selenium, read on to learn more about each platform along with some insightful tips to help you discover the best cross-browser testing solution to lead your application to success.

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Playwright vs. Cypress: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between Playwright vs. Cypress is that Playwright mimics mobile factors to test web apps on mobile screens while Cypress is primarily a web test automation solution. Cypress supports JavaScript and Playwright supports multiple languages.  

Below we will take a deeper dive into the specifics of each testing platform, as well as a closer look at Selenium, the de facto automated testing tool for developers and engineering teams.

Related Reading: Get Your Guide to Comprehensive Web App Testing >>

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What Is Playwright?

Microsoft Playwright, developed by the same team that brought you Puppeteer, is one of the growing trends in cross-browser testing solutions. While Playwright is comparable to Puppeteer in many respects, Playwright surpasses Puppeteer in its support capabilities for Chrome, WebKit, and Firefox browsers.

The Playwright framework supports Windows, MacOS, and Linux, as well as Jest, Mocha, Jasmine, and other prominent testing frameworks that can be used in the CI pipeline, utilizing a single API. Playwright also features cross-language capabilities, including TypeScript, JavaScript, Python, and Java.

Additional capabilities of Playwright include:

  • Native mobile emulation of Google Chrome for Android with Mobile Safari.
  • Mobile rendering engine for desktop and cloud.
  • Auto-wait, web-first assertions, and tracing.
  • Interception of network activity for stubbing and mocking of network requests.
  • Native input for mouse and keyboard.
  • Ability to upload and download files.

Playwright includes many features that make it a great choice for developers and testers seeking a flexible JavaScript-based framework for mobile and web applications.

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What Is Cypress?

Cypress is a growing web test automation solution that serves as a strong complement to Selenium, the de facto web automation framework. Cypress is an end-to-end framework that supports testing from the creation phase through to execution and is highly valued for its ability to enable test automation engineers and front-end developers to write automated web tests in JavaScript.

With the recent launch of Cypress 10, additional features such as component testing, a migration assistant, and an updated UX and UI experience improve upon the already widely used testing solution.

Additional capabilities of Cypress include:

  • Time travel (or real-time debugging of applications).
  • Network control and API testing.
  • Innovative component testing, mocking, and stubbing.
  • AXE accessibility and other plugins.
  • Additional features released with the Cypress 10 update.

With the latest update, Cypress cements itself as a reliable JavaScript-based web test solution for dev teams, engineers, and testers alike.

Related Reading:Learn more about Cypress testing. >>

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What Is Selenium?

Selenium is the leading open-source web app testing framework that comprises Selenium WebDriver, Selenium IDE, and Selenium Grid. With this comprehensive set of testing tools, testers and developers can experience robust browser-based regression automation tests with language-specific support, the ability to scale and distribute scripts across environments, recording and playback of browser interactions on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, and automated exploratory testing and bug recreation scripts, among other features.

This powerful platform remains the standard for many developers and testing teams due to its array of offerings, but platforms like Playwright and Cypress are taking hold of the testing sphere as complementary tools to Selenium – sometimes even replacing Selenium, depending on the testing requirements of an application.

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Playwright vs. Cypress vs. Selenium

So, which cross-browser platform is right for you?

Now that we have delved into the specifics of each automated testing platform, let us compare Playwright vs. Cypress vs. Selenium to gain a deeper understanding of which tool is the best solution for your situation.

Playwright vs. Cypress

While these two end-to-end testing platforms serve a similar end goal, Cypress and Playwright go about the testing process in different ways. Cypress is considered more of a “package offering” when compared to Playwright, as it generates a folder system with example files which can assist testing teams, though testers must work within the confines of the existing test runner framework.

Playwright on the other hand does not create files and enables you to choose your test runner framework. Playwright allows for greater flexibility than Cypress in this regard and supports multiple browsers.

Another key difference lies in the code of each testing solution. Cypress is known for its ability to automate testing in JavaScript, while Playwright supports multiple languages, including JavaScript, Java, Python, .NET, and C#. Playwright also has test runner frameworks that function on Mocha, Jest, and Jasmine, while Cypress runs on Mocha.

When it comes to Playwright vs. Cypress testing, the right choice for you will be determined by the specific needs of your application and the level of flexibility vs. structure you require to run your automated tests.

Playwright vs. Selenium

Playwright and Selenium are both capable web testing solutions that perform similar functions with some differences in their feature offerings and architecture. Because Selenium has been around longer, it offers broad support for browsers and languages, and a plethora of support features. As a newcomer to the web testing scene, Playwright offers newer features that Selenium lacks and is specifically designed for modern web usage, running at high speeds even for more complex testing cases.

Selenium uses the WebDriver API to communicate between many different web browsers and drivers and operates by translating tests into JSON and sending them back to the browsers, which then send back an HTTP response.

In contrast, Playwright uses WebSocket rather than HTTP and WebDriver. WebSocket remains open for the duration of a test, keeping all interactions within one connection and thus increasing the speed of execution.

Due to its longevity, Selenium outperforms Playwright in its browser and languages support, though Playwright is quickly gaining traction in those arenas. Though Selenium is constantly in development to build new features, Playwright already offers capabilities that outshine Selenium in terms of speed, efficiency, and adaptability to the modern testing sphere.

Cypress vs. Selenium

Cypress can be said to be the more developer-focused framework when compared to Selenium, though Selenium still holds its status as the longest-running testing framework for good reason. Both testing tools excel in their operations and end results, while approaching testing in different ways.

Cypress testing offers a more limited scope of integrations, but developers will not have to worry about configuring complex environments during setup.

Selenium offers robust browser support and hosts the greatest number of languages, including Java, JavaScript, Python, and C#, while Cypress remains a solely JavaScript-based testing platform.

While Selenium and Cypress provide a different angle on testing, both are excellent tools for achieving high-quality results.

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Bottom Line

Ultimately, deciding which cross-platform testing solution to utilize comes down to which features are the most important to your specific application and which testing approach best serves your product.

In comparing Playwright vs. Cypress vs. Selenium, the advantages of each platform depend on what you value in your testing experience. Playwright, though a newer offering, provides speedy and seamless testing aligned with the modern web. Cypress, a JavaScript-based platform, excels at offering developer-focused testing while serving as a strong complement to Selenium. Selenium is the reliable, go-to testing platform that supports multiple browsers and languages.

Regardless of whether you choose Playwright vs. Cypress vs. Selenium, Perfecto pairs perfectly with each of these cross-browser testing platforms, offering continuous end-to-end testing and support.

When paired with Perfecto, testers and developers can release high-quality apps with ease while experiencing the following benefits:

  • Boosted test coverage.
  • Parallel testing for faster test executions.
  • Stable and scalable test automation.

Learn more about our platform by signing up for a free trial today.

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