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Cypress vs Playwright. A QA Teams Quest to Find the Best Tool

Cypress vs Playwright. A QA Teams Quest to Find the Best Tool

Jess Redman

31 May 2023 • 4 min read

Come and be a warmly welcome fly-on-the-wall at our weekly QA leadership meeting!

Innerworks is coming soon...

This blog was originally published on our previous Cogworks blog page. The Cogworks Blog is in the process of evolving into Innerworks, our new community-driven tech blog. With Innerworks, we aim to provide a space for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and connection within the wider tech community. Watch this space for Innerworks updates, but don't worry - you'll still be able to access content from the original Cogworks Blog if you want. 

Welcome to the weekly QA leadership meeting.

Okay, well, the meeting was last week, but the QA team have kindly let me join to try and understand what Cypress and Playwright are all about and why we're currently discussing it as a company.

If you're in the QA world or just fancy learning more about two popular tools, you're in the right place.

At the meeting:

Mateusz, Aga and Kasia. Cogworks QA dream team.
Jess (me), Cogworks marketing (the one asking stuff).

Let's get straight into the questions:

Why are you talking about Cypress VS Playwright at Cogworks? 

Kasia: We're fortunate to have a great mix of automated testing experience within our QA team. Mateusz has more experience with Playwright, and Aga knows her stuff on Cypress. We're constantly demoing and learning from each other in our collaborative team, and we know that technology moves fast. So today, we're looking at the differences between Playwright for automated testing at Cogworks. 

What tool does Cogworks currently use for automated QA testing?

Aga: Cypress has been our choice of automation testing tool for the last couple of years. Before that, we had a mix of manual and automated testing until we transitioned to Cypress. It was a no-brainer, our team already knew how to use the framework, and we knew the buzz around the tool. It offers excellent support instructions, documentation and courses!

What is Cypress and Playwright? 


Mateusz:  Cypress is a purely JavaScript-based front-end testing tool built for the modern web. It aims to address the pain points developers or QA engineers face while testing an application. 

Cypress is a more developer-friendly tool that uses a unique DOM manipulation technique and operates directly in the browser. Cypress also provides a unique interactive test runner in which it executes all commands.

Microsoft Playwright, developed by the same team that brought Puppeteer, is one of the growing trends in cross-browser testing solutions. 


What's the difference between the two tools?

Mateusz: Cypress - It's a developer-friendly interface (which works well for Mateusz, QA professional and former developer). It has a low entry threshold, excellent documentation and offers real-time debugging of apps by taking snapshots as your tests run!  

Playwright supports an impressive range of tabs and browsers. So you get a lot fewer flaky tests. It also can emulate many devices, like dark mode, geo-location or a user's colour scheme! 

There's lots to like about Playwright. Here are a few of the main reasons to use it. With Playwright, you get many ways to debug thanks to the additional trace file that lets you inspect step by step what has happened. Then there's the internal locator selection system, as shown below.

Unlike the other tools on the market, Playwright has a system that selects locators based on text alternative texts or even more, which for a QA, offers a more advanced way of debugging tests. 

Plus, how the Playwright handles hard-to-reach selectors is impressive and has significantly impacted my work; interacting with hard-to-reach elements can better simulate user interactions, improving the reliability and effectiveness of automated tests and reducing the risk of critical bugs! Not to mention its flexibility; you can use Playwright in headless mode, and it's easily integrable with other libraries!


What should other QA teams consider before making the switch?

Kasia: Regarding moving to the Playwright, we still have some decisions. We've only completed one finished test in Playwright, so we need more digging to determine if it's the right tool for our business. So there are a lot of considerations and steps you need to take before introducing a new tool.

-Resources: You need to resource time outside of usual project hours to learn how to use the tool
-Rewriting old tests: Yep. If you're switching from Cypress to Playwright, you may need to rewrite, as the two frameworks have different APIs and syntax. However, the extent of the rewrite will depend on the complexity and structure of your existing tests, as well as how you have implemented your testing framework.
-Community support: Cypress is known to have a large, thriving community that helps resolve questions quickly. Consider this before making a move!

Food for thought.

Ultimately, switching from Cypress to Playwright depends on each QA team's specific needs and requirements.

For more cross-team insights - keep an eye on our weekly blog for everything QA, Design, Development and news.


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