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Selenium vs. Puppeteer – When to Choose What?

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In my previous beginner’s guide, we discussed what is Puppeteer, installed required dependencies and reviewed some of its capabilities via code examples. Now, we’ll dive even deeper into Puppeteer, and compare Selenium vs. Puppeteer. Selenium is by far the most commonly used functional test automation tool. This article will evaluate both the pros and cons of Selenium and Puppeteer so we can decide which one is better under the given circumstances.

We will be looking at the major differences between Selenium vs. Puppeteer, and how they can maximize the efficiency and reliability of our automation testing.

Table of Content

  1. Getting started with Puppeteer Guide (Previous article)
  2. What is Selenium
  3. What is Puppeteer
  4. Selenium Vs. Puppeteer in the Industry
  5. Selenium Vs. Puppeteer: A Comparison
  6. Conclusion

What is Selenium?

Selenium is the most widely supported tool in the web automation industry. Selenium has been around for more than 16 years now and consequently, it is the industry leader for web automation.

Some of the salient features offered by Selenium are:

  • Selenium Grid offers parallelism.
  • Multi-language support.
  • Selenium with Appium offers mobile automation.
  • Cross-browser automation support.
  • Selenium with TestNG offers enhanced features.

What is Puppeteer?

Puppeteer is a Node.js library that provides a high-level API to control Chrome or Chromium over the DevTools Protocol. It runs headless by default but can be configured to run non-headless. Puppeteer is the go-to tool for automation if speed and performance of automated tests are more important than portability and compatibility. It has an edge over Selenium due to its improved control over Chrome.

Some of the salient features of Puppeteer are:

  • Puppeteer offers more control over Chrome
  • Puppeteer’s default headless mode is extremely fast
  • Enables web scraping
  • Takes screenshots and PDFs of pages for UI testing
  • Measures Rendering and Load times by Chrome Performance Analysis tool

Selenium vs. Puppeteer in the Industry 

Selenium-Puppeteer-Trends

As it is evident from the picture above, Puppeteer has overtaken the Protractor from August and is continuously in good competition with Selenium. This data shows the trends of downloads by using npm (Node Package Manager) between 2018-2019 and it is suggesting that the battle of web automation will be between Selenium and Puppeteer! 💥

Selenium vs. Puppeteer: A Comparison

Now let’s see a comparison of these two tools with respect to the features offered by them:

Features

 

 

 

Puppeteer

puppeteer

Selenium

selenium

Programming Language SupportJavaScript onlyJava, Python, Node.js & C#
Browser SupportChrome onlyChrome, Mozilla, Safari, IE, Opera
Community SupportGoogle Groups, GitHub and Stack OverflowWide community support over multiple forums
Execution SpeedFaster but only with ChromeRelatively Slower
Installation and SetupEasy to setup with just one commandRelatively complex for a new user
Cross Platform SupportNoYes
RecordingNoYes with Selenium IDE
ScreenshotsBoth Image and PDF supportImage support only
Testing Platform SupportWebWeb and Mobile with Appium
Coding SkillsRequiredRequired for Selenium Web driver but not Selenium IDE

It is pretty obvious from the above comparison that Puppeteer will the best choice when we have to perform unit level testing for any web application and a fast & flexible solution is required. Selenium will be the better choice for the cases where we have a web and mobile application and cross-platform support is our number one requirement.

Conclusion

We have looked at the features offered above by Selenium and Puppeteer, and now its time to decide which tool to use when researching for the best automation tool 🧐. Selenium is for you if you are looking to integrate your test automation framework for your web applications as it offers a CI/CD support, plus a wide programming language support. On the other hand, Puppeteer is perfect for you if you are not looking for cross-browser automation, and targeting to explore a more controlled environment for your test automation and greater flexibility with chrome tools as well.

What will you choose? Share in the comments what is your preferred solution💪🏻

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About the author

Mujtaba Mehdi

Mujtaba is a Software Engineer from NUST. He was working with Telenor microfinance Bank before joining APIMatic. He’s been writing blogs & articles, conducting training & workshops related to Test Automation. He’s interested in hiking, football and likes to travel when he gets time.

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