Playwright Testing in Cloud: Challenges and Strategies

Testing

Playwright surpasses conventional methods in enabling effective web development testing. By simulating real-world user interactions, it offers a holistic perspective, allowing you to evaluate your application’s performance from the user’s standpoint. Embracing this user-centric approach ensures thorough scrutiny of your web development, leading to optimization for a seamless and satisfying user experience.

What is Playwright? 

Playwright is an open-source automation framework that provides support for multiple programming languages, including TypeScript, JavaScript, Python, and C#.

At its core, Playwright offers a high-level API that enables seamless interaction with web browsers, ensuring speed and stability in the testing process. Due to its outstanding features, Playwright is rapidly gaining popularity, and I will delve into its remarkable capabilities later in the blog on Playwright testing.

Playwright’s Soaring Popularity …

Since its debut in 2019, Playwright has experienced a remarkable surge in popularity. The architecture of Playwright is ingeniously designed to address the limitations of other test automation frameworks. One of its standout features is headless testing, which allows tests to run without a graphical user interface, resulting in faster and more efficient testing.

Additionally, Playwright offers enhanced support for modern web technologies like WebSockets, WebRTC, and Service Workers, aspects that can be challenging when testing with alternative frameworks.

The availability of valuable tools such as the Playwright CLI and Playwright Test runner further enhances the testing process by enabling developers to configure and execute tests with utmost effectiveness.

The active and growing community around Playwright has significantly contributed to its popularity. A dedicated group of contributors continuously improves the framework, introducing new features and providing excellent support. Regular updates and releases ensure that Playwright stays up-to-date with the latest web technologies and browser advancements.

Features of Playwright

Playwright boasts an extensive array of features specifically designed to support developers and QA engineers in their day-to-day tasks. Here are the core functionalities that make Playwright an influential tool for creating and executing automated tests:

  • Cross-platform testing: With Playwright framework, you can effortlessly test across various platforms, including macOS, Linux, and Windows, ensuring consistent testing experiences without the need for platform-specific code modifications.
  • Cross browser testing: With Playwright, you can automate browser tests across different browsers, such as Edge (with Chromium), Firefox, and Safari (with WebKit), ensuring flawless functionality across diverse browser environments.
  • Playwright offers a user-friendly API to select and interact with elements on web pages, streamlining the process of testing specific components or sections of your application. This enhanced element selection capability facilitates effective test isolation.
  • Playwright’s visual regression testing API empowers you to compare snapshots of pages across various browsers, swiftly identifying any visual changes introduced during the development phase. This visual testing feature ensures a meticulous examination of the application’s appearance and behavior across different browser configurations, enhancing overall testing accuracy.
  • Playwright offers comprehensive support for API testing in modern web applications, empowering users to send HTTP requests to endpoints and verify responses. It efficiently handles testing RESTful and GraphQL APIs, encompassing authentication and authorization requirements as well.
  • Network and performance testing: Playwright offers a robust network interception API for testing network requests and performance metrics like time to first byte and time to interact. 
  • Code generation: Playwright includes a built-in code generation capability that automatically generates test code based on user interactions with web pages. However, it is essential to have an understanding of the test’s purpose and the framework’s operations.
  • Inspector and trace viewer: With Playwright, users gain access to an inspector tool that aids in interacting with elements and debugging tests by inspecting and modifying page states. Additionally, the trace viewer feature offers a step-by-step visualization and analysis of test runs, providing valuable insights into network requests, events, and page interactions.
  • Mobile testing: Playwright excels in mobile application testing within browsers by faithfully emulating real mobile devices. Users can fine-tune screen sizes, viewports, geolocation, locale, timezone, and permissions to conduct precise and accurate tests on mobile applications.
  • Multi-language support: Playwright caters to diverse developer preferences and existing codebases by providing support for multiple programming languages, including JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, Java, and C#.
  • Effortless configuration in one file: Streamlining the testing process, Playwright introduces a flexible configuration approach that consolidates all testing environments and settings, such as browsers, viewports, timeouts, retries, artifacts, and more, within a single, organized file. This seamless configuration simplifies the test setup and enhances overall efficiency.
  • Friendly test reporter: After each test run, Playwright provides a user-friendly HTML report with all the essential information about the test run result. By using the “npx Playwright show-report” command, you can easily open and view the detailed test report.

Advantages of Playwright

  • Enhanced Testing Efficiency: Playwright’s intuitive syntax and multi-browser support streamline test writing, saving time. It excels at automating complex scenarios, offering comprehensive coverage, and network control for flexible testing.
  • Improved Test Reliability: Playwright executes tests using real browser engines, ensuring reliable results. Auto-wait APIs enhance test reliability, and timeout-free automation reduces test flakiness. Reusing browser instances optimizes resource utilization.
  • User-Friendly and Easy to Learn: Playwright’s simple API is beginner-friendly, with comprehensive documentation for quick adoption.
  • Automatic Waiting: Playwright’s automatic waiting ensures consistent test execution during page loading, enhancing reliability.
  • Debugging Tools: Playwright offers logging packages and compatibility with debuggers for efficient troubleshooting.
  • Strong Community Support: Playwright benefits from an active and supportive community that offers accessible resources and assistance.
  • Easy Workflow Integration: Playwright seamlessly integrates into existing workflows with TypeScript support and CI/CD compatibility.

Constructing a Playwright Test Suite

Our test suite will be developed using the Playwright framework, which, despite being relatively new, is gaining rapid popularity among application developers. Playwright’s robust features and continuous improvements, often contributed by Microsoft, have made it a favored choice in the automation testing landscape.

As a result of its powerful capabilities and user-friendly nature, Playwright has surpassed many comparable automation testing frameworks in terms of downloads and user adoption. The framework’s growing appeal is a testament to its effectiveness and utility for developers and QA specialists alike.

Running Your First Playwright Test on Cloud Grid

To expand our test suite and run it on a larger scale with multiple platforms and browsers, we will utilize the LambdaTest Cloud Grid for this demonstration. Before we begin, there are a few configurations that need to be set up.

Prerequisites for Running Your First Playwright Test on the Cloud:

Create a new configuration file that references the environment variables LT_USERNAME and LT_ACCESS_KEY. You can find these values under Dashboard, Automation, or User settings on the LambdaTest platform. Copy the values and set them as environment variables on your local machine.

Playwright Test Configuration on the Cloud:

In the playwright.config.js file, we have added new projects with specific platform and browser configurations. For example:

  • ‘chrome:latest:MacOS Catalina@lambdatest’
  • ‘chrome:latest:Windows 10@lambdatest’
  • ‘MicrosoftEdge:90:Windows 10@lambdatest’
  • ‘pw-firefox:latest:Windows 10@lambdatest’
  • ‘pw-webkit:latest:MacOS Catalina@lambdatest’

These configurations are defined using the format browserName:browserVersion:platform and can be modified according to your testing needs.

Playwright Test Execution on the Cloud:

With the environment variables and project configurations set, you are now ready to run the tests. Simply run the command npm run test in the terminal, and you will see the tests executing.

In the cloud environment, you will notice that 30 tests are running this time, as the 6 tests are executed against 5 different configurations. Some tests may pass as expected, while others may fail due to unexpected results on platforms that were not tested earlier.

Test Insights:

The test results may reveal issues with the website or code, especially when testing against different platforms. For instance, if testing on a mobile view, the layout and elements may differ from the desktop version, leading to issues like missing menu bars. In such cases, you may need to adjust the viewport size or create separate test suites for specific platforms.

Another potential issue may arise with WebKit, where certain test scenarios, such as hovering over products and clicking “add to cart,” may fail. For such cases, manual testing and debugging would be required.

Challenges of Playwright

While Playwright is continuously evolving and improving to enhance its testing capabilities, there are some limitations to be aware of in its current state:

Community Support: Being a relatively new framework, Playwright may have a smaller community compared to more established testing tools. This could result in fewer community resources, discussions, and plugins available for users. However, as Playwright gains popularity, the community is expected to grow and provide more support over time.

Native Mobile App Testing: Currently, Playwright does not natively support testing of native mobile applications. If exclusive testing of mobile apps is required, users may need to explore alternative tools or find workarounds to complement Playwright’s capabilities.

Internet Explorer 11 Support: Playwright does not offer native support for Internet Explorer 11, which may pose a challenge for organizations that heavily rely on this browser for testing. Nevertheless, integration with cloud-based digital experience testing platforms like LambdaTest can enable compatibility with Internet Explorer 11 and other browser versions.

Reliance on Official Documentation: Due to the evolving nature of Playwright and its relatively smaller community, users may need to rely more on official documentation and resources provided by the Playwright team. While these resources are accurate and up-to-date, they may not offer the same diverse perspectives and experiences as a larger community would.

It’s important to note that the development team behind Playwright is actively addressing these limitations and continually enhancing the framework. As Playwright gains more popularity and community support grows, these limitations are likely to be mitigated, making Playwright an even more robust and versatile testing solution.

LambdaTest’s Cloud-Based Platform for Playwright Testing:

LambdaTest complements Playwright’s testing capabilities by offering a cloud-based AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform. With a comprehensive collection of browser versions, including older ones like Internet Explorer, LambdaTest addresses diverse testing requirements for Playwright scripts.

Conclusion

LambdaTest’s cloud-based solution, combined with the prowess of Playwright ensures the resilience and uniformity of web applications across numerous browsers and versions. The powerful synergy between LambdaTest and Playwright empowers teams to optimize their testing processes, resulting in the delivery of top-notch digital experiences to end users. 

This combination proves instrumental in achieving superior software quality, enhancing user satisfaction, and maintaining a competitive edge in the dynamic digital landscape.

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