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Playwright vs Selenium, Which is the best choice for Developers?

When it comes to choosing between Playwright and Selenium for automated testing, developers are faced with a lively debate. Playwright stands out with its user-friendly APIs and compatibility across multiple browsers, providing an appealing option. On the other hand, Selenium boasts a strong community and a wide range of supporting tools, making it a trusted staple in test automation. Let’s explore these differences further to help developers make the best choice for their project.

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Automated software testing

Automated software testing is a comprehensive and technical examination integral to the quality control process. Its main goal is to furnish impartial and unbiased insights into the software’s quality, ensuring it operates as intended.


In this realm, automated software testing takes the place of manual execution by testers. Instead, it employs scripts or programs to emulate user interactions, automatically scrutinizing and validating the outcomes.


These automated testing scripts are crafted using diverse programming languages or specialized tools designed for automated testing, with Selenium assuming a pivotal role in this process.

Why is Selenium so widely used?

Selenium has gained widespread popularity for several reasons since its inception in 2004. Initially developed to address the limitations of the prevailing software testing tool, Micro Focus Unified Functional Testing (UFT), Selenium has evolved into a robust and competitive solution in the field.


Around 2008, Selenium started to emerge as a compelling alternative to UFT, distinguishing itself by offering integration with multiple programming languages and operating systems. This adaptability made it an appealing open-source choice for developers, testers, and organizations.


The pivotal factors contributing to Selenium’s industry-wide adoption include its flexibility across various Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and seamless integration with contemporary programming languages. Selenium’s compatibility with a range of web browsers and operating systems further solidified its position, even though it wasn’t designed for desktop testing.


While other tools and languages have emerged over the years with the aim of enhancing software testing processes, Selenium maintains its popularity due to its established advantages and widespread usage within the industry.

Selenium vs. Playwright

Selenium vs playwright

In 2020, Microsoft introduced a groundbreaking contender in the software testing arena, Microsoft Playwright, challenging the established legacy of Selenium. While Selenium excelled in automating interactions with web applications, Playwright brought innovation with a distinctive feature: the ability to automate tests seamlessly across various browsers, including Chromium-based ones like Chrome, Edge, and Brave, as well as Safari and Firefox, using a unified API.


What sets Playwright apart is its capacity to execute automation scripts on different browsers without requiring additional adjustments. This simplifies the testing process and reduces the complexity of maintenance, offering a streamlined and efficient solution.


Similar to Selenium, Playwright is an open-source and free tool, allowing users to harness its automation capabilities in projects without incurring licensing costs. This positions both frameworks as accessible options for developers and testing teams seeking automation solutions.


While Selenium and Playwright share the common ground of being open-source web automation frameworks and fulfilling similar functions, they do so in distinct ways, each with its own set of key differences and innovations.

Selenium Architecture and Historical Overview


Selenium relies on the WebDriver API to establish communication between web browsers and browser drivers. The process involves translating test cases into JSON format, which is then transmitted to the browsers. Subsequently, the browsers execute the commands and send back an HTTP response.


With a history spanning over 18 years, Selenium stands as a testament to continuous operation and development. As a steadfast open-source project, it offers extensive support for various browsers and programming languages. Selenium’s enduring presence is marked by a rich collection of community resources and a supportive ecosystem that has contributed to its sustained relevance in the field of automated software testing.

Playwright Architecture and Historical Overview

Playwright Architecture and Historical Overview

Playwright sets itself apart by opting for a WebSocket connection instead of the conventional WebDriver API and HTTP mechanism. Unlike Selenium, Playwright maintains an open WebSocket connection throughout the test, handling all communications through a singular link. This streamlined approach is a key factor contributing to Playwright’s reputation for swift execution speeds.


As a relatively recent addition to the automation landscape, Playwright has quickly distinguished itself by surpassing Selenium in terms of speed and introducing capabilities that Selenium may lack. Developed by Microsoft, Playwright is an open-source tool, furthering its appeal in the developer and testing communities. Despite being a newer entrant, Playwright has rapidly gained recognition for its innovative approach to automated testing.

Similarities and Differences

Similarities and Differences in Performance and Speed, Browser Support, Programming Languages, and Ease of Use between Playwright and Selenium

Similarities and Differences

Performance and Speed

  • Playwright is generally faster than Selenium, attributed to its utilization of a WebSocket connection and auto-waiting capabilities.
  • Selenium may exhibit slower performance, particularly in complex test scenarios.
  • Playwright is a preferable choice for applications that prioritize fast and reliable performance.

Support for Browsers

  • Selenium boasts broader browser support, including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer.
  • Playwright supports a more limited set of browsers, including Chromium, Firefox, and WebKit, with potential expansion in future updates.

Programming Languages

  • Selenium supports a wider array of programming languages, encompassing Python, Java, C#, Ruby, and JavaScript.
  • Playwright has a more restricted language support, including TypeScript, JavaScript, Python, .NET, and Java.

Ease of Use

  • Selenium is generally considered easier to learn and use due to its extensive community support and comprehensive documentation.
  • Playwright, being a newer framework, might face challenges in documentation and community support, but the community is growing.
  • The ease of use may vary based on individual preferences and project requirements.

Features of Selenium and Playwright

Both Selenium and Playwright offer a broad spectrum of features, with Playwright introducing some unique capabilities not found in Selenium:


Headless Testing: Playwright supports headless testing, allowing tests to run without displaying the browser window. This is particularly valuable for testing applications not designed for a graphical user interface.


Parallel Testing: Playwright facilitates parallel testing, enabling the execution of multiple tests simultaneously. This feature enhances testing speed and efficiency.


While Playwright is a newer and more efficient framework, Selenium maintains a larger community and a broader range of features.

Choosing Between Playwright and Selenium

Choosing Between Playwright and Selenium

Deciding between Playwright and Selenium depends on various factors:


  • Project Requirements: Consider the specific needs of your project, such as the necessity for headless testing or parallel test execution.
  • Community Support: Selenium benefits from a well-established and expansive community, while Playwright’s community is growing. Evaluate the level of support you may require.
  • Testing Speed: If speed and efficiency are critical, Playwright’s headless testing and parallel testing capabilities may be advantageous.


Ultimately, the choice between Playwright and Selenium is contingent on understanding your project requirements, conducting thorough research, and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each framework. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and the decision will depend on the unique context of your testing needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Playwright is an open-source automated testing tool developed by Microsoft, designed to automate interactions with web applications across various browsers.

Playwright distinguishes itself from Selenium by employing a WebSocket connection, offering faster execution speeds. It also provides additional features like headless testing and parallel test execution.

Playwright currently supports Chromium, Firefox, and WebKit browsers. However, future updates may extend support to more browsers.

Yes, Playwright supports headless testing, allowing tests to run without displaying the browser window. This is beneficial for applications not designed for a graphical user interface.

Yes, Playwright facilitates parallel testing, enabling the simultaneous execution of multiple tests to enhance testing speed.

Playwright supports TypeScript, JavaScript, Python, .NET, and Java.

Yes, Playwright is an open-source tool, developed and supported by Microsoft.

Playwright offers faster execution speeds, headless testing, and parallel test execution. However, the choice between Playwright and Selenium depends on specific project requirements.

Playwright contributes by providing a modern and efficient framework for automating web application testing, addressing the evolving needs of testers and developers.

Resources and community support for Playwright can be found on its official website, forums, and other online platforms dedicated to software testing and development.

Playwright tends to be faster than Selenium due to optimized architecture and modern API. It offers faster page loading, more reliable interactions, and parallel execution of tests, making it a perferable choice for those prioritizing speed in their automation testing workflows.