A step-by-step guide to setting up Playwright and understanding its advantages over Cypress and Selenium

Kamil Sosnowski

In the field of web development, testing is critical for ensuring that applications work properly and are bug-free. As the number of testing frameworks and libraries grows, selecting the best one for your project becomes critical. Microsoft’s Playwright is quickly becoming a popular choice among developers due to its robust capabilities and ease of use. In this essay, we will compare Playwright, a new testing framework, to popular competitors such as Cypress and Selenium. We’ll also walk you through the process of installing and configuring Playwright for your projects.

Advantages of Playwright over Cypress and Selenium

  1. Browser Support: Playwright supports testing across multiple browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, allowing developers to test their applications on different platforms without any hassle. In contrast, Cypress only supports Chrome, while Selenium has limited support for Safari. This comprehensive browser support provided by Playwright ensures that you can catch potential browser-specific issues early on. It also enables you to deliver a consistent user experience across various platforms.
  2. API Consistency: Playwright provides a consistent API for working with different browsers, making it easier for developers to write and maintain their tests. Selenium, on the other hand, requires different API calls for different browsers, which can lead to a more complex and error-prone testing environment. This uniform API offered by Playwright helps in reducing cognitive load for developers, allowing them to focus on writing effective test cases instead of worrying about browser-specific details.
  3. Speed and Reliability: Playwright is built on top of the modern browser automation APIs, which results in faster and more reliable tests compared to Selenium. Cypress, while being fast, might sometimes suffer from flakiness and inconsistencies in test results. By employing the latest browser automation APIs, Playwright ensures that your tests run efficiently, reducing the time taken for test execution and increasing overall productivity.
  4. Network Interception: Playwright offers built-in support for network interception, allowing developers to stub and monitor network requests easily. While Cypress also provides this feature, Selenium does not have native support for network interception. With network interception capabilities, you can gain better control over your application’s behavior during testing, making it easier to simulate various scenarios and identify potential issues.
  5. Auto-wait: Playwright automatically waits for elements to be available, visible, and stable, making it easier to write tests without having to manually handle waits and timeouts. Cypress also offers auto-wait, but Selenium requires developers to manage waits and timeouts explicitly. This feature of Playwright helps in reducing flakiness in tests, leading to more reliable and consistent test results.

API Testing Capabilities in Playwright

In addition to its powerful browser automation features, Playwright also provides excellent support for API testing. With its built-in ability to intercept and modify network requests and responses, developers can easily test and validate API interactions within their applications. By combining browser and API testing in a single framework, Playwright streamlines the testing process and allows seamless end-to-end testing.

To perform API testing with Playwright, developers can use the fetch API or any other HTTP client to make requests to the API endpoints, and then assert the expected response using Playwright’s assertion library. Moreover, the network interception feature can be used to mock API responses, enabling developers to simulate different server behaviors and edge cases without having to modify the actual API implementation. This comprehensive approach to API testing ensures that applications are thoroughly tested, covering both frontend and backend functionalities for a truly robust testing solution.

Implementation and Configuration of Playwright

  1. Install Playwright To start using Playwright, first, install it as a dependency in your project. Run the following command in your terminal:
npm i playwright

Installing Playwright also includes browser binaries for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, ensuring that you have everything you need to start writing tests right away. 2. Set up the test runner Playwright can be used with various test runners like Jest, Mocha, or its built-in runner, Playwright Test. In this example, we will use Playwright Test. Install it by running:

npm i -D @playwright/test

Playwright Test is designed specifically to work seamlessly with Playwright, providing a powerful and integrated testing solution.

  1. Configure Playwright

Create a configuration file named playwright.config.js in your project’s root directory. Here’s a simple configuration:

module.exports = {
  use: {
    headless: true,
    viewport: { width: 1280, height: 720 },
    ignoreHTTPSErrors: true,

This configuration file sets up some basic settings for Playwright, such as running the tests in the headless mode and defining the viewport size. You can further customize these settings as needed for your specific project requirements.

  1. Write a test

Create a new file named example.spec.js in a tests directory. Add the following code to create a simple test:

const { test, expect } = require('@playwright/test');

test('loads the main page', async ({ page }) => {
  await page.goto('https://example.com');
  const title = await page.title();
  expect(title).toBe('Example Domain');

In this test, we navigate to the example.com website, retrieve the page title, and assert that it matches the expected value. This serves as a basic example to help you get started with writing tests using Playwright.

  1. Run the test

To run your test, execute the following command in your terminal:

npx playwright test

The Playwright Test will automatically discover and execute tests in your project, providing a detailed report of test results. You can now start adding more tests and integrating Playwright into your development workflow.


Playwright is a powerful and modern testing framework that offers numerous advantages over alternatives like Cypress and Selenium. With its comprehensive browser support, consistent API, and advanced features like network interception and auto-wait, Playwright is an excellent choice for developers looking to streamline their testing process and ensure the delivery of high-quality web applications. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can quickly set up and start using Playwright for your projects, harnessing its capabilities to create robust and reliable tests.

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