Playwright for Browser Automation

Last week I held a short & sweet presentation in the company about the usage, benefits and drawbacks of Browser Remote Debugging APIs. One unfortunate problem we discovered was the lack of a standard across the browsers; every major browser maintains its very own implementation. The RemoteDebug – Intitiative tried to solve this problem, but until now without noticeable success, as you can see here by the lack of activity. Therefore, the Test and Development – World needed to deal with that all by themselves. A great team of ex Puppeteer-developers, who moved from Google to Microsoft, did exactly that by bringing us Playwright, a framework for writing automated tests encapsulating and using the various Remote Debugging Interfaces. In today’s short example we write a quick example test with Playwright.

Installing Playwright

As a starting prerequisite, we need a NodeJS-Distribution with Version 10 or greater. Next, we go to our already well-filled project directory and create a new NodeJS-Project:

$ cd /path/to/your/project/directory
$ mkdir playwright_test && cd playwright_test
$ npm init
$ npm install --save-dev playwright

While the installation progresses, you will notice that Playwright brings its own browser binaries. Don’t worry about that, they are still perfectly valid, as the rendering engines are not modified at all. Only the debugging capabilities have been given a few extensions.

Alright, that’s all we need.

Time to dive into the code!

Let’s assume we want to buy red shoes on Amazon, because we need new shoes, and red is a nice color.

// 1. We start by initializing and launching a non-headless Firefox 
// for demo purposes.
// (How do you call them, "headful"? "headded"? Feel free to drop me 
// your best shots. :))
const {firefox} = require("playwright");

(async () => {
  const browser = await firefox.launch({headless: false, slowMo: 50});
  const context = await browser.newContext();

  // 2. Next, we head to the Amazon Landing Page...
  const page = await context.newPage();
  await page.goto("");
  // 3. the search for Red Shoes...
  await page.fill("#twotabsearchtextbox", "Red Shoes");
  const searchBox = await page.$("#twotabsearchtextbox");

  // 4. ...and take a nice deep look at the page 
  // by saving a screenshot.
  await page.waitFor("img[data-image-latency='s-product-image']");
  await page.screenshot({path: "./screenshot.jpg", type: "jpeg"});
  // 5. Afterwards, we leave the testrun with a clean state.
  await browser.close();

That’s it for now. From here, we can extend the test by doing elaborate verification steps, check out a nice pair of red shoes and pay them with our hard-earned testing money.  Feel free to check out the example’s full source code from here and go ham.


With Playwright we got a means to write automated tests with ease against the many different Remote Debugging APIs. It copes nicely with the API differences while preserving an intuitive and familiar JS test automation syntax.

So if you are looking for a more lightweight and lower level alternative to Selenium, give it a go!

Zalenium in a minimal Docker Compose – Setup

What is Zalenium?

Zalenium, brought to us by German online fashion retailer Zalando, is a feature-enriched Selenium test platform based on the popular Selenium Grid. Besides the core features like scaling Selenium test execution nodes, it provides nice things like video recording, a video player directly in the management UI and integrations with popular browser test tools like Sauce Labs. For a more detailed overview, please check out the project page. As far as we are concerned here, we have all the good arguments we need to fire up a small test setup. 🙂

What are we going to do?

In the following miniworkshop, we temporarily slip into the shoes of a devops engineer and set up a minimal Zalenium Grid – environment in order to execute remote Selenium tests there. The goal is that we use no more than 2 files (of resonable size):

  • the docker-compose-file to build and start the Zalenium-container provided by Zalenium
  • a sample selenium-webdriver-test to be executed inside Zalenium, kindly provided by Felipe Almeida, thank you very much.

For our experiment, I modified the latter to enable remote driver execution instead of starting a local firefox. Therefore, I prepared everything in a small bitbucket-repo.

Prereqs for the Zalenium Setup

  • a recent version of Docker (should already include docker-compose)
  • Ruby > 2.3.1 (I recommend using RVM)
  • a recent Chrome-browser
    • Unfortunately, my Firefox (v67.0.4) does not support the video format of the test execution recordings. 🙁


  1. Open a terminal and clone the repo.
  2. cd inside the new directory and fire up the containers: $ docker-compose up -d
  3. Start the test: $ ruby selenium_minimal.rb
  4. After the test execution, open a Chromeand head to the Dashboard: http://localhost:4444/dashboard/
  5. You should see one test execution in the list on the left side. Click it.
  6. Play the video and enjoy the action of your test.


Now that you have the power to quickly fire up Zalenium and its grid nodes, you can go further. Host it on a remote machine serving your needs as a Test Automaton Engine, move it to the cloud and go to town. This should step up your Quality Assurance Game in a scalable and easily maintainable way. Have fun!