TestCafe vs Playwright | Comparison & Which one to choose?

May 3, 2024Priyanka
TestCafe vs Playwright | Comparison & Which one to choose?

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In recent years, front-end development technologies have changed a lot. JavaScript-based front-end libraries are becoming popular for modern web applications. The nodeJS-based framework provides more flexibility and makes it easier to develop front-end applications. 

As the development technologies are changing, test automation frameworks are also changing. NodeJS-based test automation frameworks have been trending in recent years. Some of the popular NodeJS-based test automation frameworks are Cypress, Playwright, TestCafe, WebdriverIO, NightwatchJS, etc. TestCafe and Playwright both provide interesting features and there are a lot of similarities and differences between them. Here, we compare TestCafe vs Playwright.

Playwright vs TestCafe: Overview

TestCafe is a pure NodeJS-based test automation framework. Its architecture is unique compared to other test automation frameworks. It has clear syntax, that makes test scripts more readable and reduces the number of lines of automation code. On the other hand, Playwright also follows unique architecture, it directly communicates with browsers without any middleware like browser-specific drivers. It has different flavors for different programming languages. The JavaScript version of Playwright is built with NodeJS. Let’s understand more about these frameworks.

What is a Playwright?

Playwright is an open-source test automation framework, sponsored by Microsoft. Playwright is inspired by Puppeteer features however it has much more flexibility, customization, and enhanced features. Playwright supports different programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, C#, and Python. Though Playwright’s first version was released in recent years(2020), it has become quite popular.

Playwright is a developer-friendly tool and it supports a lot of features for debugging which include actionability logs, network logs, trace viewer reports, screenshots, videos, console logs, etc. It also supports easy integration with different IDEs such as IntelliJ, VSCode, Eclipse, etc. 

What is TestCafe?

TestCafe is a powerful test automation tool, it is shipped with all required configurations ready and the user doesn’t need to worry about setting up the framework. TestCafe is developed by Developer Express Inc. It has both an open-source version and a commercial version. TestCafe’s syntax is clear and more readable and it reduces the number of lines of code. TestCafe also supports multiple browsers.

TestCafe studio is a commercial version, it has more advanced features like advanced selectors, advanced integration, IDE support, rapid test development, etc. As of today, TestCafe Studio license starts from $249.99 per year.

Why compare TestCafe vs Playwright?

TestCafe and Playwright share many similar features, both are built for similar purposes. TestCafe and Playwright both are modern frameworks and support modern web application functionality testing. One can easily get confused when it comes to choosing between TestCafe and Playwright. Comparing them helps to understand the pros and cons of both frameworks and also helps to choose the best fit for the organization.

Playwright and TestCafe – Similarities

As mentioned earlier, both Playwright and TestCafe were built to fulfill similar purposes. Hence there are many similarities. Below are the key similarities between them.

  • Playwright and TestCafe support functional test automation
  • Both of them support NodeJS or Javascript programming language.
  • Both of them are shipped as framework-ready, which means that once you install you can start writing automation scripts, without any complex configuration process.
  • They both support cross-browser testing like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, etc.
  • Both of them have different types of reporter support
  • They support record and playback of test scripts
  • Tests can be run concurrently on multiple browsers
  • They have good integration support for CI/CD tools
  • Both of them are developer/tester friendly and provide a lot of debugging features.

Playwright vs TestCafe: Comparison Table

A side-by-side comparison of Playwright vs TestCafe helps to differentiate features easily, further, it helps to derive a conclusion by evaluating the requirements. Below are some of the core differences between Playwright and TestCafe.

License TypeApache 2.0 licenseMIT License and Commercial License
CostOpen source and FreeTestCafe is open source and free. The TestCafe  studio version is priced
Supported testing typesEnd-to-end testing, API testing, accessibility testing, visual regression testing, component testing, and responsive testing.End-to-end testing, API testing, accessibility testing, response testing
FeaturesIt supports different programming languages such as JavaScript, Java, C# and PythonThe playwright has inbuilt support for HTML reporters along with other types of reporters

It has in-built visual regression testing supportIt supports advanced logging features such as trace viewer, network logs, screenshots, and video recording

It supports in-built assertions libraries and also supports third-party libraries like mocha, jasmine, jest, etc.All features like test recording, visual test runner, visual debugging, etc. are provided free of cost and are part of the open-source version.
It only supports Javascript/TypescriptTestCafe doesn’t have built-in HTML reporters.

It supports Spec, lint, xUnit, minimal, etc types of reportersTestCafe doesn’t have inbuilt visual regression supportIt supports only basic logging and reporting features like screenshots and videosIt only supports in-built assertion libraries

TestCafe provides only basic and limited features in the open-source version.

Advanced features are part of a commercial version of TestCafe that is TestCafe Studio
ProsPros of Playwright

Auto Waiting

API testing support

Accessibility testing support

Visual regression support

Multi-browser support

Many debugging features

Many programming languages support

Record and playback support

Visual test runner

In-built HTMl reporters

Open source and free to use

Good Community support
Pros of TestCafe

Clean syntax and less code

Multiple browser support

Parallel execution support

Script recording In-built reporters

Accessibility testing support

The free and commercial version

Record and playback support

Supports API Testing
ConsCons of Playwright
Safari browser is supported via open source web kit version

No dedicated technical support, as it is open source you need to rely upon community support

Does not support native mobile app testing support
Cons of TestCafe
It does not install the browsers if doesn’t exist on the system

It does not support native mobile app testing

No support for visual regression

The open-source version has limited features

Community support is less

Only inbuilt assertions supported

No in-built support for HTML reporters
Integrations supportIt supports many tool integrations such as Jenkins, Azure DevOps, CircleCI, qTest Integrations, Jira integrations, Browserstack, SauceLabs, Github, Bitbucket, etc.It supports many tool integrations such as Jenkins, Jira, Github Actions, Gitlab, Browserstack, etc.
ClientsPlaywright is used by many projects such as VS Code, Bing, MS Outlook, Dispnep Hotstar, Material UI, ING bank, Adobe, React navigations, etc.TestCafe is used by companies like Katana, DAZN, Immowelt Group, basicamente, DevExpress Reimagined, etc.
Github StatisticsPlaywright JavaScript variant Github Stats are listed belowUsed by: 77.7KContributors: 518Fork: 3.2KStars: 61KTestCafe Github stats are listed belowUsed by: 14.4KContributors: 122Fork: 661Stars: 9.7K

Limitations of Playwright and TestCafe

Playwright and TestCafe both are popular test automation frameworks and are used by many large-scale, mid-scale, and small-scale enterprises. However, just like any other tool, they both have many limitations. These limitations may play a crucial role. These limitations can block your test automation framework or limit the customization and extensibility in the future. Below is a list of key limitations.

Limitations of TestCafe

  • Supports only Javascript programming language
  • Visual regression is not supported
  • Doesn’t support native mobile application testing
  • No support for desktop applications
  • Community support is limited
  • Difficult to simulate native system events
  • Lacks comprehensive reporting and logging
  • The open-source version has limited features

Limitations of Playwright

  • Doesn’t support native mobile application testing
  • Community support is good only for a Javascript variant
  • It doesn’t support desktop application automation
  • Doesn’t support macOS Safari, supports only the open-source version of Safari(Webkit)

Alternative tools to overcome limitations of Playwright and TestCafe

Playwright and TestCafe both are functional testing frameworks, they support many additional features like accessibility testing, API testing, etc. Both of them are code-based test automation frameworks, which means you need to have good coding skills to set up and write the automation scripts. 

Organizations may get benefit from investment in these tools as they are open-source and free. However, organizations need to spend on upskilling resources and hiring skilled resources. Additionally, maintaining these automated test cases requires a considerable amount of time and effort. These tools support cross-browser testing and cross-platform testing but you need to have third-party cloud testing tools integration to use these features efficiently. If you are looking for a one-stop solution for all your testing needs without much complexity Testsigma is the best alternative. 

Testsigma is an AI-based no-code tool. As the name indicates it is a no-code tool, no prior coding knowledge is required to automate the test cases. This feature helps organizations share the resources across manual and automation testing. Additionally, as there is no dependency on skillets, resources can be shared across the projects. Strategic resource allocation can help the organization to save a lot of cost in test automation in turn increasing the return on investment (ROI). Furthermore, the Testsigma tool itself is a budget-friendly tool, with rich features.

Testsigma vs TestCafe vs Playwright – Which one to choose?

Testsigma, TestCafe, and Playwright all of them are popular and widely used automation tools. All of them have a good number of features but also have many limitations. Testsigma belongs to the no-code-based automation tool category and Playwright and TestCafe belong to the code-based automation tool category.

Every organization’s requirement is unique, and every tester’s preferences or choices differ. Some may love no-code automation tools, and some may be comfortable with code-based tools, based on organization requirements and skill sets you need to choose the best fit for your project/organization.

Testsigma has a lot of features, it is a one-stop solution for all your testing needs. It supports end-to-end testing, data-driven testing, mobile testing, API testing, visual regression testing, cloud testing, responsive testing, and compatibility testing under a single platform. On the other hand, TestCafe and Playwright don’t support native mobile application automation. They require skilled resources to automate and maintain the test cases. Additionally, they don’t have built-in support for cloud execution which means you need to have third-party vendor licenses like BrowserStack, SauceLabs, LamdaTest, etc. to perform execution on the cloud. Considering these features, Testsigma is the preferred choice. 

However, the conclusion can be derived only after carefully evaluating organization requirements and many other dependent factors.

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NodeJS-based frameworks are ruling the market for front-end development frameworks, as the development trends are changing the automation framework also evolved a lot to align with development technologies. TestCafe and Playwright framework supports NodeJS-based applications and has been written in NodeJS libraries in the backend. However, a test automation framework cannot be chosen just by considering the architecture, and programming languages. You need to evaluate the pros, cons, long-term support, and other factors that matter. 

As TestCafe and Playwright are code-based frameworks, setting up and maintaining these frameworks for a long time may take a considerable amount of time. When you look for alternatives to these frameworks Testsigma stands at the top of the list as it supports a no-code automation feature. 

Testsigma is the one-stop solution for all of your testing needs. Testsigma is used by many large-scale and small-scale enterprises due to its budget-friendly features. Testsigma can be the closest and best alternative for Playwright and TestCafe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Playwright and TestCafe E2E Testing Frameworks?

Yes, both Playwright and TestCafe are end-to-end testing frameworks. Initially, these tools were developed with functional testing in mind, but as the user demand increased for other types of testing, the latest version of these tools supports API testing, accessibility testing, cross-browser testing, etc.

Does Playwright Use Selenium?

The Playwright doesn’t use Selenium. Playwright architecture is different from Selenium. Unlike Selenium, Playwright doesn’t have any middleware like browser-specific drivers to interact with the browser. Playwright commands are directly sent to the browser using WebSocket protocol, because of which Playwright has more control over the browser and is faster.

Does the Playwright need coding?

Playwright requires coding for a stable test automation framework, execution, and easy maintenance. Though Playwright has a Playwright Test Generator, tests produced using this method are mostly flaky, and long-term maintenance may be difficult. Hence the preferred choice is using the code-based version of Playwright.

Does TestCafe need coding?

TestCafe has a record script feature using the Chrome plugins, however, it will not be able to record many interactions like iFrame-based interaction, file upload, and elements may be unreliable. The recording and playback of the automation script is not the suggested approach. In short, TestCafe needs coding, for stable automation script execution and easier maintenance.


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