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Puppeteer vs Selenium | Which One Should You Choose?

April 17, 2024Yamini Priya
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Introduction

Consider you have an incredible web application that is ready for launch, but how do you ensure it performs seamlessly across different browsers and devices before the software release? The choice of the right test automation tool can greatly impact the efficiency and success of your software. If you’re looking for a browser automation tool, you’re at the right spot: A friendly Puppeteer vs Selenium battle. 

Puppeteer, by Google, and Selenium, a time-tested open-source framework, both excel in automating browser tasks and interactions. However, their approaches, architectures, and areas of expertise diverge, influencing their suitability for various scenarios. So, is Puppeteer better than Selenium, or vice versa? Let’s find out.

In this blog, we will discuss the key differences between Puppeteer and Selenium, their pros and cons, alternatives, and more.

Puppeteer and Selenium – Overview

Selenium

Selenium was primarily the brainchild of a ThoughtWorks engineer, Jason Higgins, in 2004, who wrote a JavaScript program capable of controlling the browser’s actions. Sensing his plan’s potential in automated web app testing, he made it open-source and named it ‘JavaScriptTestRunner.’ which was later re-named to Selenium Core. It is supported by Linux, Mac, and Windows OS. 

Selenium
Selenium

The Selenium tests are limited to web applications and don’t support desktop or mobile apps. If you want to automate web, desktop, mobile apps, and API tests in one platform, use a unified test automation tool like Testsigma.

Selenium provides a suite of tools devised to cater to distinct Selenium QA testing needs. 

  • Selenium Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
  • Selenium WebDriver
  • Selenium Remote Control (RC)
  • Selenium Grid

Check Selenium vs Testsigma for a comprehensive comparison of the automated web testing solutions they offer.

Pros of Selenium

  • Selenium supports a wide range of browsers for cross-browser testing, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and others, enabling broad cross-browser testing.
  • Selenium provides official support for various programming languages, including Java, Ruby, PHP, Perl, JavaScript, .NET, Python, C#, and others, making it appropriate for various developers.
  • Selenium has a large user community, which has resulted in rich documentation, tutorials, and community-driven support, making it easier to find answers to common problems.
  • Selenium has been around for a long time and has grown through time, making it a solid and stable choice for web testing.
  • Selenium interfaces nicely with common testing frameworks such as TestNG, JUnit, and NUnit, providing additional features and functionalities.

Cons of Selenium

  • Complex Setup: When compared to Puppeteer, setting up Selenium might be more cumbersome because it needs maintaining drivers particular to each browser and ensuring suitable setups.
  • Slower Execution: When compared to Puppeteer, Selenium uses WebDriver, which adds an extra layer of communication between the test script and the browser, resulting in slightly slower execution timings.
  • Synchronization Issues: Due to asynchronous browser behavior, Selenium tests may encounter synchronization issues, necessitating additional explicit waits or synchronization techniques.
  • Handling Pop-up Windows: Handling selenium pop-up windows or alerts can be difficult, necessitating special handling codes for such circumstances.
  • Inconsistent Browser Support: While Selenium supports a variety of browsers, the amount of support and functionality may change between browser versions, resulting in compatibility concerns in some cases.

Puppeteer

Puppeteer is a Node.js library developed by Google that provides a high-level API over the Chrome DevTools Protocol. It is primarily used to automate the interaction of headless browsers, particularly the Chromium browser, which is an open-source project that serves as the foundation for Google Chrome. Like Puppeteer, Testsigma also supports headless browser testing.

Pros of Puppeteer

  • Puppeteer has a simple and intuitive API that makes it simple to understand and use for automating browser tasks.
  • Google Puppeteer is a Google product that directly controls the Chrome browser, providing strong support for new web technologies and Chrome-specific capabilities.
  • Puppeteer operates at a lower level and has a faster execution speed than Selenium, resulting in speedier test runs.
  • Headless Mode: Puppeteer offers headless mode, which allows tests to run without a visible browser window, making it ideal for CI/CD environments.
  • Puppeteer includes built-in capabilities for collecting screenshots and creating PDF files, making it ideal for visual testing and report preparation.

Cons of Puppeteer

  • Puppeteer is limited to the Chrome browser. Therefore, it may not be suited for cross-browser testing or scenarios requiring specific browser behaviors to be examined.
  • While Puppeteer is generally straightforward, its rich API documentation might result in a high learning curve for complex scenarios or advanced usage.
  • Puppeteer provides official support for Node.js. However, for other programming languages, community-maintained libraries with varied levels of support and functionality are available.
  • Puppeteer involves installing and managing extra dependencies, such as the Chrome browser and the Puppeteer library itself, which adds to the setup complexity.
Puppeteer

So, who’s popular? That’s the most intriguing question, right? Let’s see.

Selenium vs Puppeteer

Source – Google Trends

The major difference between Puppeteer and Selenium is that the former is the first and very popular test automation framework, while Puppeteer is the newcomer in the testing field. 

This does not mean that Puppeteer is not widely used. It is just new in the market. It is popularly used to automate the Chrome browser. Also, is Puppeteer faster than Selenium? Yes. But, Puppeteer or Selenium, which is a better choice? That depends on your testing requirements. Both Selenium and Puppeteer are unique in their own ways and provide different testing solutions for different business needs.

Setup and Test Implementation of Puppeteer and Selenium

You can install both these test automation tools using npm. If you want to install Selenium, use the below command,

npm install selenium-webdriver

To install Puppeteer, use the below command,

npm install puppeteer

Selenium vs Puppeteer – Test Implementation Example

Let’s take a look at how to locate a Gmail signup page using both Selenium and Puppeteer. 

Selenium

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>driver.get("https://accounts.google.com/lifecycle/steps/signup/");</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>driver.findElement(By.xpath("//input[@id='usernamereg-firstName']")).sendKeys("First-Name"); // Will send values to First Name tab</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>driver.findElement(By.xpath("//input[@id='usernamereg-surName']")).sendKeys("Surname"); //xpath for surname box</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

The same using Puppeteer,

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>await page.goto('https://accounts.google.com/lifecycle/steps/signup/');</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>await page.click(‘button’);</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>await page.type(‘#sign-up’, ‘your_name’);</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

<!-- wp:paragraph -->
<p>await page.type(‘’[type=name]’, ‘your_surname’);</p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Puppeteer or Selenium Alternative – Testsigma

If you’re looking for a Selenium or Puppeteer alternative, choose Testsigma, a unified low-code test automation platform that allows you to plan, create, run, and maintain tests on the cloud. 

Puppeteer vs Selenium Alternative

Puppeteer vs Selenium vs Testsigma – Setup & Test Implementation

Both Puppeteer and Selenium are code-based testing tools that you can use to automate testing. Testsigma is a low-code, AI-driven, cloud-based test automation tool that allows you to automate web, mobile, and desktop apps, as well as API tests, on a single platform. 

Also, no complexity of installation or setup is required. Since it is cloud-based, you can just start using the platform on the cloud. You don’t have to worry about writing lines of code or remembering syntax for creating tests. You can automate even complex workflows using simple English with the help of NLPs

Testsigma allows you to perform extensive automated cross-browser testing over 3000+ real devices/tablets and 1000+ browser/OS combos.

Let me show you how to automate web testing using Testsigma. 

Test scenario – The user is trying to book flight tickets on a travel application. 

The image below shows a test case created to automate the above scenario. 

 Testsigma

Puppeteer vs Selenium vs Testsigma – Test Creation Speed

Both Selenium and Puppeteer are script-based testing tools, which means testers or developers will have to create test scripts in their preferred language and automate them. 

With Testsigma, you can use NLPs to create and run automated tests on the cloud. No coding skills are required. Also, you can start automating your tests with just a few clicks in less time. Testsigma can make your entire testing process 10x faster and accelerate time-to-market by 8x faster.

Testsigma makes testing more accessible for everyone on the team. That is, both technical and non-technical users can participate in the testing. 

Check out Testsigma Cloud to start automating your tests in less than 2 minutes.

Puppeteer vs Selenium vs Testsigma – Extended Customer Support

Both Puppeteer and Selenium are open-source testing frameworks that offer customer support only via the community. Testsigma offers 24×5 extended customer support via chat, email, phone, and community.

Puppeteer vs Selenium vs Testsigma – Ease of Use

Testsigma is very simple and easy to use for both developers and testers. It offers a powerful and intuitive UI that allows testers to create test cases quickly and efficiently. In contrast, Selenium and Puppeteer are testing frameworks that require installation and setup if you want to create and run automated tests.

Testsigma vs Puppeteer vs Selenium Performance

Testsigma is capable of running fast and is highly scalable as your product grows. You can reuse test cases or update tests to align with the project needs. No slowing down for creating new test scripts like Selenium or Puppeteer.

What’s makes Testsigma outstanding?

  • You can automate cross-browser testing across multiple browsers, devices, platforms, and versions.
  • Works on Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, and Linux OS.
  • Works on different browsers like Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, and IE.
  • A unified test automation platform to create, run, execute, and maintain web, mobile, desktop, and API tests in one place.
  • Supports both codeless testing with low-code features and code-based testing via Java.
  • Makes your test automation 10x faster and boosts time-to-market by 8x faster.
  • Provides a Record feature to record user interactions on any browser, and there’s more. Check out the Testsigma features here.

Puppeteer vs Selenium vs Testsigma: Key Differences

Puppeteer and Selenium are both popular tools used for browser automation, but they are different. Here are some of the key differences between Puppeteer and Selenium:

Parameter of ComparisonSeleniumPuppeteerTestsigma
Type of toolIt is a web framework for testing web applicationsIt is a Node.js libraryIt is a low-code cloud-based test automation tool for web, mobile, desktop app, and API testing.
Browser Compatibility Selenium supports multiple browsers.It only works with Chrome or Chromium. It does not support other browsersIt works on all the popular browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Opera, Firefox, Edge, etc.
Speed & Resource UsageSelenium is quite slower than Puppeteer because of the resource usage of WebDriver overheadPuppeteer Is faster and more efficient than Selenium, especially in headless mode.Testsigma is faster than Selenium and Puppeteer. It makes test automation 10x faster than traditional automation approaches.
Cross-Browser TestingGreat for cross-browser testing across different devices and browsersYou can test only on Chrome-based browsers. So, not the go-to option for cross-browser testingTestsigma works great for cross-browser testing. You can run cross-browser tests across 3000+ real devices and 1000+ browser/OS combos.
Cross-Platform SupportAvailable in SeleniumNo cross-platform support is available in Puppeteer.It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Automation CompatibilityIt supports only web automationSupports both web automation and mobile automationIt is a unified testing tool that supports web, mobile, and desktop apps and API testing in one place
ScreenshotPDF screenshot support is not availableScreenshots can be taken of both PDFs and ImagesScreenshot testing is supported 
Language supportSupports various programming languages like Java, C#, .NET, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Perl, and Ruby.Designed specifically for JavaScriptIt is low-code test automation platform where you write tests in simple English. But if needed, you can also customize them via Java. 
EcosystemA well-grown ecosystem with extensive tools and frameworks released in 2004Released in 2018, and has fewer tools and frameworks than SeleniumA popular low-code test automation platform that is changing the way testing is performed by making it accessible for technical and non-technical members.
Community and DocumentationLarge and active community. It also provides great documentation and user forums.Small community but has good documentation It provides very active community support and great documentation for product usage. It also provides 24×7 extended technical support via chat, call, email, and community.

Puppeteer or Selenium – Which One Should You Choose?

One of the most crucial aspects of web application development is its testing, which is time-consuming, taking up 30%-40% of the time in a standard release cycle. However, using these test automation tools can drastically boost the productivity and effectiveness of development tools. 

Teams may opt for Puppeteer for lightweight, headless tasks or Selenium for its versatility and comprehensive browser support in a variety of programming languages. You can choose Testsigma if you’re looking to automate your entire functional testing in one place.

Conclusion

Both Puppeteer and Selenium are powerful tools designed to automate browser tasks, enabling teams to efficiently test their web applications. However, each comes with its own set of strengths and nuances. Always choose a tool that aligns with your testing requirements, team, budget, and business needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Puppeteer faster than Selenium?

Puppeteer is generally thought to be faster than Selenium. Google Puppeteer is a Node.js package that provides a high-level API for automating web browsers. It has direct control over the Chrome browser and built-in support for contemporary web technologies. Because Puppeteer acts at a lower level, it has faster execution speeds than Selenium, which takes a more indirect approach via WebDriver.

Is Selenium or Puppeteer better for testing?

The decision between Selenium and Puppeteer is influenced by a number of factors. Selenium is a popular online testing framework that supports a variety of programming languages, browsers, and operating systems. It has a larger user base and more documentation. Puppeteer, on the other hand, is focused on automating the Chrome browser and provides a simpler and more intuitive API.

Puppeteer may be a better solution if your testing needs to concentrate on Chrome-specific features or contemporary web technologies. If cross-browser compatibility and a bigger ecosystem are important, Selenium might be the better choice. Consider your individual demands and project requirements to determine which tool will best serve your testing needs.

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