A blog about browser testing and the difference Playwright has made to the business

Automation testing is crucial for web applications to ensure that web apps look and behave as expected. To access the application users may use different devices and browsers as per their choice. With such a wide variety of devices (tablets, cell phones) and an increasing number of legacy browsers, testing teams are challenged to make sure that the application works well across different browsers and devices. 

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Web Developers often come across issues where the developed website or web application does not work as expected on certain browsers and operating systems combinations. This may be because the web developer and testers did not go through browser testing. A testing process for checking applications working across a wide range of mediums.

In this article, we will look at a detailed guide on browser testing in the minimum amount of time, why it is important and what difference the Playwright automation tool has made to it. Before proceeding with Playwright let’s begin with what we mean by browser testing.

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Browser testing

Browser testing is a method of web testing where the website features, functionality, and designs are tested across multiple browsers, operating systems, and devices(being used in the market and user base). In simple terms, it ensures the quality of the website on different screens. Because changes in screen size, screen resolution, operating system version, and browser versions all contribute to how someone is viewing content. This makes the practice of cross-browser testing a necessary aspect for understanding diversified user experiences.

Why it is Needed

Browser testing is a necessary part of the testing process as it ensures all users have a consistent experience of the application. Each browser responds to the code changes differently, and so with every code change arises a risk that any of the browser, device, or operating system combinations may not respond as expected. For example Layout, accessibility, connectivity, quality, and performance may vary from browser to browser, because each renders CSS, HTML, and JavaScript differently.

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Cross-browser testing provides the support team with information on how certain browsers behave. This information will be helpful in debugging issues.

For example, if the users using Firefox found that a major piece of functionality is broken in that browser, that may be working fine on others say on Internet Explorer. It is more likely that they will not switch browsers just to properly view the website, instead, they will just leave the page. This will impact the number of users.

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Though 100 percent testing of all browser platforms is not possible, it’s important to create an acceptable user experience amongst the majority of the user base. The more browsers are tested and optimized, the more inclusive the site will be for various visitors.

We have already discussed browser testing. Now let’s talk about test automation tools to write scalable, reliable, and fast test automation. There are multiple cross-browser testing solutions available and it is challenging to determine which platform is the right one for testing needs. Among many Playwright is the one that is taking hold of the automated testing sphere and enabling testing teams to test according to their specific needs successfully.

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To proceed ahead let’s learn about what Playwright is, and how to run cross-browser tests against any stock browser using Playwright

Playwright

The playwright is a Node.js library that provides cross-browser automation through a single API. It is developed and maintained by Microsoft, the same team that brought Puppeteer. It is built to automate Chromium for Chrome and Edge, Gecko for Firefox, and WebKit for Safari with a single API.

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The Playwright is designed to be a framework that addresses the testing requirements of today’s web apps and tests across all current browsers. It enables cross-browser web automation, reliable and fast. Playwright features multiple language capabilities like JavaScript, Python, NET, C#, and Go to create test scripts. 

It includes many features that make it a valuable tool for developers and testers seeking a flexible JavaScript-based framework for mobile and web applications. Some additional key features and capabilities of the Playwright.

  • Instead of managing the waiting-through code in test scripts, Playwright supports auto-waits This makes the tests more reliable and easier to take care of.
  • Ability to control the network by uploading and downloading files, handling various authentication methods, mocking out network request responses, and more.
  • Enables permissions for notifications and geolocation.
  • Seamless CI/CD Integration.
  • Allows persistent testing sessions between tabs and ensures that the website can function in incognito mode.
  • Provide multiple browser support such as Chromium, Firefox, and Web Toolkit (Safari)
  • Multiprogramming Language Support like  JavaScript, C#, Java, and Python.
  • Provide a CodeGen feature that enables testers to record and generate a test script.
  • Ability to emulate devices and run tests just by employing a single command.
  • Ability to generate PDF which is a novel feature compared to a different framework.

Benefits Playwright provides to browser testing

Test on any browser any platform with a single API

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With a single API, Playwright can automate a wide range of scenarios across multiple browsers, and platforms emphasizing reliable and fast execution. The playwright can test web apps on all modern rendering engines including Chromium-based browsers Google Chrome, WebKit-based Apple Safari, and the Gecko-based Mozilla Firefox. 

The playwright also supports cross-platform testing on Windows, Linux, and macOS. It also allows testing mobile web by providing native mobile emulation of Google Chrome for Android and Mobile Safari. The same rendering engine can work on the desktop and in the cloud as well.

Robust non-flaky tests

The playwright provides an auto-wait feature that automatically waits for elements to be ready prior to performing actions. It also includes a rich set of introspection events. The combination of the two removes the artificial timeouts which is the primary cause of flaky tests.

Auto wait also helps the developers and testers to write tests that focus on the scenario, and not on timing or UI state. This as a result improves the maintainability of test code over time. The playwright uses configure test retry strategy, capture execution trace, videos, and screenshots to eliminate flakes.

Unlimited test runner

Browsers run web content belonging to various origins in several processes. The playwright is associated with the architecture of the modern browser and runs tests out-of-process. This feature makes Playwright free of in-process test runner limitations.

Browser contexts

The playwright creates a browser context for each test that allows the simulation of incognito sessions as well as multi-page scenarios. Browser context delivers full test isolation with zero overhead and allows for testing of persistent sessions between tabs and ensures that the website can function in incognito mode Creating a new browser context only takes a handful of milliseconds.

Log in once

Playwright allows Logging in just once by saving the authentication state of the context and reusing it in all the tests. This way repetitive log-in operations in each test can be avoided, and still deliver full isolation of independent tests.

Parallel execution

The playwright is built to deliver automation at scale with fast, parallelized execution. A single browser context can create multiple isolated and concurrent web pages and define context-level behavior. It can also emulate different mobile viewports, mock geolocation, and locale. This enables the running of independent multi-page emulation scenarios across different device configurations in parallel, such as desktop, iPhone, and iPad. This results in improved performance.

Ability to automate the present and the future web

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The modern web platform is continuously evolving. The playwright is built to keep up with the growing needs and capabilities of modern web browsers and web apps. Including newer and updated browser features. The playwright has the ability to automate a wide range of capabilities across Chromium, Firefox, and WebKit, with a single API.

Powerful Tooling

Playwright provide powerful tooling features like- 

  • The Codegen feature allows generating tests by recording test actions and saving them in any language. 
  • The Playwright inspector helps to inspect the page, generate selectors, step through the test execution, see click points, explore execution logs, etc.
  • Trace Viewer capture Playwright trace viewer contains all the information to investigate the test failure by test execution screencast, live DOM snapshots, action explorer, and many more.

Cross Browser Testing with Playwright on LambdaTest

When it comes to web applications (or websites), cross-browser testing should be a high-priority item on the automation testing checklist. Setting up an in-house testing lab that houses the resources catering to different browsers, browser versions, platforms, and device configurations would require a huge investment.

However, choosing a scalable, secure, and reliable cross-browser testing infrastructure like LambdaTest should be considered in the process.

LambdaTest infrastructure, let you focus on testing with zero setups and maintenance. This platform allows the testers to achieve true cross-browser testing with Playwright at lightning speed, even for large test suites. 

LambdaTest cross-browser real device cloud that provides 3000+ real browsers, devices, and operating systems for instant, on-demand testing. You can also access a cloud Selenium for automated testing, which can be further accelerated with parallel testing.

Using this platform you can easily run Playwright test scripts by specifying any browser with a combination of multiple operating systems. LambdaTest lets the test teams enjoy out-of-the-box capabilities like cross-browser testing support, high-scale parallelization, seamless integration with CI/CD tools like Jenkins, Azure Pipelines, and GitHub, easy debugging, testing on real devices, and many more.

The playwright has robust support with LambdaTest for cross-browser testing. It also provides easy Playwright debugging with video recordings, logs, and test reporting features.

Conclusion

It is to conclude that even though Playwright is a new tool in the competition it has proved to solve major problems faced in web testing.