comaprison-post

Nowadays, every organization wants an all-in-one automation testing tool that can perform several types of testing such as frontend web UI’s, backend APIs, etc. Also, we must be able to extend that tool/framework further as per the needs i.e. it should support various third-party integrations. So, In the current competitive market situation finding such a perfect tool becomes a critical task for any organization. A complete comparative analysis of existing modern automation tools- Selenium vs WebDriverIO vs Cypress vs Playwright vs Nightwatch is provided in this blog.  

This blog covers most of the important key features of mentioned automation tools, with a complete in-depth comparative analysis. Finally, this blog will undoubtedly assist you in selecting the ideal automation solution that can meet the majority of the project’s requirements. 

Overview

Selenium WebDriver is by far the most popular framework with large community support. It uses a JSON wire protocol to communicate between the Selenium script and the browser drivers like Chromedriver, geckodriver, etc. It is widely used with Java but it can also be used with Python, Javascript, Ruby, c#, etc. Whereas  WebDriver IO is a custom implementation of Selenium WebDriver which overcomes some of the Selenium limitations, for example, It has default implicitly wait for an element, etc. Nightwatch is a Node.js application. It uses the W3C WebDriver API to drive browsers like Selenium or WebDriver IO to perform commands or assertions on DOM elements.

Automation tools like Selenium work by running outside the browser. The Cypress, on the other hand, utilizes a different architecture and is browser-based. Cypress is based on the proxy server – Node.js. Microsoft has developed Playwright, a Node.js tool for automating browsers. The playwright is a more powerful version of Google’s Puppeteer, which isn’t compatible with Safari or Firefox.

Licensing or Pricing

Selenium WebDriver, WebDriver IO, NightWatch, Cypress, and Playwright are Open-Source and free to use. However, Cypress provides advanced features in its paid version which includes Cypress Dashboard, DOM snapshots, video storage, etc which are useful for debugging. 

Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright- Licensing

Installation & Setup

Installation of selenium and WebDriver IO is complex for new users, for NightWatch, Cypress, and Playwright are easy to set up. 

To install and set up the WebDriver IO project, first, select your preferred programming language. 

Selenium Installation: Some jar files are required to install and set up the Selenium project in Java, which are shown below.

  1. Selenium Jar – Automation Tool 
  1. WebDrivers – chromedriver, geckodriver, etc 
  1. TestNG Jar – Testing Purposes 
  1. Maven/Ant – Build or dependency management tool 
  1. Apache POI – Excel-related tasks 

Find out the required jars files on official websites or on the maven repository – https://mvnrepository.com/ 

Refer to this official documentation for the configuration of the project – https://www.selenium.dev/documentation/ 

WebDriver IO Installation: Find out the installation setup details here on their official documentation – https://webdriver.io/docs/gettingstarted/ 

NightWatch: To install and setup Nightwatch, refer to this official documentation – https://nightwatchjs.org/guide/getting-started/installation.html 

Cypress: To install and setup Cypress project, refer to this official documentation – https://docs.cypress.io/guides/getting-started/installing-cypress 

Playwright: To install and setup PlayWright refer to this official documentation – https://playwright.dev/docs/intro 

Programming Languages Support

The language support for Selenium, WebDriverIO, Nightwatch, Cypress, and Playwright are mentioned in the below table. 

Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright- Supported programming languages

Browsers Support

It is critical to pick an automation tool that works with popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and others. Most of these tools support various browsers for automation purposes. The chart below shows a comparison. 

Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright- Supporting browsers

Element Locators / CSS Selectors 

Locating exact elements in a page DOM is important while automating an app. We can find an element with the help of class id, attribute, tag name, XPath, etc. Some automation tools also provide some extra features to find out the dom elements differently. The table below shows the comparison. 

Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright- Element locators

Modern Development Frameworks Support  

However, using Selenium WebDriver, WebDriver IO, Night Watch, Cypress, or Playwright, one can automate any modern web application. E2E tests must validate all the application’s layers. This includes not only frontend UI but also all associated backend services and infrastructure that is more representative of the environment that users will be in. 

E2E tests are typically the key to higher confidence in whether an application is functioning properly or not by testing how user activities affect the application. Hence, one must choose the right automation testing tool. Cypress, Playwright, and NightWatch are best for testing React, Angular, or Vue.js applications, as they provide some extra features. 

Testing Scope – Web/Mobile App/APIs 

Selenium is used for the automation of Web UI only, but one can extend the framework with the help of third-party tools such as Rest APIs to automate API services and Appium tool to automate Android Applications. WebDriver IO, Cypress, and Playwright can all be used to automate Web UI and API services. 

Also, with the help of WebDriver IO and Playwright, one can easily automate mobile web applications also. NightWatch, on the other hand, can only be used for web UI automation because it currently lacks an out-of-the-box solution for API testing. 

Testing scope

Testing Framework Support 

Most of these tools are used for automation, however, a testing framework is required to perform assertions and grade a test as pass/fail/skip. For example, Selenium with Java, TestNG framework is most widely used. The following is the comparison chart. 

Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright- Testing framework support

Cross-Platform Support / OS Support 

Nowadays, a wide variety of Operating Systems is available. Windows, Linux, and Mac are commonly used. The primary goal of every company is to reach out to every customer/user. For this, the application must be properly working on widely used OS such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.

So, Choosing the right automation tool which supports most of the Operating systems, is important as it helps to identify the stability of the application across all the platforms. All these automation tools – Selenium, WebDriver IO, Night Watch, Cypress, and Playwright support cross-platform testing on Windows, Mac, and Linux 

Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright- Cross platform support

Multiple Windows / Tabs Support 

In this era of information, most of the users do multitask on their systems. When we are surfing on the internet, we do have plenty of tabs and windows opened. So keeping this in mind, our automation tool also supports multiple windows or tab handling like an end-user. Choosing the right automation tool which supports the handling of multiple windows/tabs becomes a very essential feature. The following is the comparison chart. 

Multiple windows support

Parallel Execution Support 

The parallel execution across multiple browsers saves our time and effort. We can cover a number of tests and increase the stability of the application. Which results in a higher Return On Investment(ROI). The good news is that all Selenium vs WebDriver IO vs Night Watch vs Cypress vs Playwright does support parallel execution of tests. 

Parallel Execution support

Auto wait / Default Timeout 

Except for selenium, all other tools have default page load timeout, command timeout, etc already preset to a few seconds. However, one can easily configure timeouts or auto waits for all these tools including Selenium. 

Headless Execution 

All these modern automation tools – Selenium vs WebDriver IO vs Night Watch vs Cypress vs Playwright supports headless execution. 

Headless Execution

Screenshots & Video Recording 

When a test fails then finding out the exact cause of failure becomes a very crucial task. In these situations, screenshots and video capture become incredibly useful in determining the actual cause of test failures. Most of these modern automation tools – Selenium vs WebDriver IO vs Night Watch vs Cypress vs Playwright support screenshots and video recording.  

The comparative analysis for screenshots is given below  

Support for Screenshots

The comparative analysis for video recordings is given below in tables. 

Support for Video Recordings

Executes Javascript 

All these automation tools – Selenium vs WebDriver IO vs Night Watch vs Cypress vs Playwright supports the execution of javascript.  

Supports execution of javascript

Manage/Handle Cookies 

All these automation tools – Selenium vs WebDriver IO vs Night Watch vs Cypress vs Playwright can manage/handle cookies. 

Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright- Manage cookies

Continuous Integration 

Selenium vs WebDriver IO vs Night Watch vs Cypress vs Playwright can be part of Continuous Integration as all of them support cloud execution. 

Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright- Support cloud execution

Reporting Frameworks 

Having a flexible, lightweight, multi-language-compatible reporting architecture that displays a very concise representation of what has been tested in a tidy web report format. Additionally, this enables everyone involved in the development process to get the most relevant information possible from the regular execution of tests, which is crucial.

The comparative analysis of automation tools:

Supported Reporting Frameworks

Page Object Model (POM – Design Pattern) Support 

Selenium, WebDriver IO, Night Watch, Cypress, and Playwright support Page Object Model (POM – Design Pattern). 

Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright vs WebDriverIO vs NightWatch- Design pattern

Flaky Resistance – Retry Test 

Sometimes a test fails because of some external issues like internet connectivity issues, page timeout, UI not loaded properly, etc. And not because of any bug. So we must give such tests another try and execute them. If any such test passes in its next attempt then it is called a flaky test. So having such retry test capability in automation tools is especially important.

 Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright vs WebDriverIO vs NightWatch- Retry test

Community Support 

Community support will definitely help one resolve the issues, errors, and doubts for respective frameworks.

Community support

Extra Features 

Every new tool is created to address the shortcomings of existing automation software. As a result, each tool has a few extra functions. The following is a comparison chart. 

 Selenium vs Cypress vs Playwright vs WebDriverIO vs NightWatch - Extra features

Some Extra Information 

Some extra information related to these automation tools is mentioned in the below table. 

Automation Tool Owner Company Launch Year Official Website 
Selenium ThoughtWork 2004 https://www.selenium.dev/ 
WebDriver IO OpenJS Foundation 2014 https://webdriver.io/ 
NightWatch BrowserStack Inc 2014 https://nightwatchjs.org/ 
Cypress Cypress 2014 https://www.cypress.io/ 
Playwright Microsoft 2020 https://playwright.dev/ 

Conclusion 

Day by day, modern applications are becoming increasingly complex as they are developed with various layers of sub-systems, UI components, APIs, databases, micro-services, and even third-party integrations. This blog covers an in-depth comparative analysis of Selenium vs WebDriver IO vs Night Watch vs Cypress vs Playwright automation tools. One should choose the automation tool based on the project requirements, and then analyze the cost before making any final decision. This blog will help to find the right tool or at least give some key insights which could satisfy any automation project needs.