Switching from Selenium to Cypress, TestCafe or Playwright?

Posted Jan 20, 2021

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DevOps transformation is accelerating, and we’re seeing more and more organizations adopting native JavaScript testing frameworks as they shift testing left. In this article, Nancy Zenger takes a look at why organizations are choosing JavaScript testing frameworks and how Sauce Labs can help you in your test automation and DevOps journey.

This past year, we’ve seen a lot of trends emerging among our customers and the market. Organizations are doubling down on testing as they heavily rely on their online experiences to either survive or thrive, and they are also taking time to streamline their operations. DevOps transformation is accelerating, and to support that we’re seeing more and more organizations adopting native JavaScript testing frameworks as they shift testing left. 

Let’s take a look at why organizations are choosing JavaScript testing frameworks and how Sauce Labs can help you in your test automation and DevOps journey. 

Why are Cypress, TestCafe and Playwright gaining popularity? 

Cypress, TestCafe and Playwright are all native JavaScript test frameworks that have been in development for the past few years. They are each gaining popularity among developers as their capabilities become more robust. The advantages of native frameworks is that they are written in JavaScript, which many developers prefer, and they run within a browser, rather than remotely executing tests like Selenium. 

This makes them developer-friendly and can reduce flakiness through the tight browser integration, network mocking/stubbing, emulating network capabilities and resolutions, as well as delightful features such as built-in waits and test reruns. All of these frameworks are open source and each have their own pros and cons depending on your testing priorities. Sauce Labs supports all three, and works with customers as they make decisions on the future of testing at their organizations. 

Is Selenium still relevant?

Selenium is the most adopted and most robust test automation framework used today. It is also the preferred test automation framework for QA testers who run comprehensive test automation strategies, so we think it’s here to stay. 

Selenium is comprehensive, complies with the W3C WebDriver standard, and is supported by the open source community. That means it offers the best test coverage and testing capabilities and remains the framework of choice for QA teams. With Selenium, you have remote testing targets, which allows you to specify exact browsers or browser versions and device combinations on a Selenium grid for complete and reliable testing. 

Are there other JavaScript testing frameworks?

Yes, there are a lot of other JavaScript testing frameworks being developed such as WebdriverIO, Nightwatch and Puppeteer. 

Of particular interest is WebdriverIO, which also complies with W3C standards and has broad support from the open source community. It leverages some of the native browser APIs to solve many of the same problems that Cypress, TestCafe and Playwright address. If you want Sauce Labs to support a framework that you use, let us know

How does Sauce Labs integrate with Cypress, TestCafe or Playwright testing?

Sauce Labs is a solution that scales test automation. So whether you use Selenium or Cypress along with Sauce Labs, you can both execute tests at scale, and deliver test insights for fast debugging. 

As developers adopt DevOps, test automation needs to be robust to run each time code is committed and to provide tools for debugging. Sauce Labs has preconfigured Docker images and VMs for each framework that can be leveraged to run tests in the cloud at scale through the Sauce Testrunner Toolkit. This lets a team test locally, or on CI at scale. And no matter how you test, test assets are sent to the Sauce Cloud for easy debugging with screenshots, videos and logs and historical insights. 

The Sauce Testrunner Toolkit can be used in conjunction with Sauce API testing, visual testing, performance testing and live testing solutions to provide a full DevOps test toolchain solution. 

Should you switch from Selenium to Cypress, TestCafe or Playwright?

Switching test automation frameworks is a big undertaking and you need to make sure you understand the tradeoffs. Start with your testing needs. Which browsers do you need to test on? Who will write automated tests in your organization? Are you integrating with CI/CD? No matter which test automation framework you decide to use, Sauce Labs solutions will let you scale and increase productivity as you shift testing left. 

We’ve just opened a beta for native JavaScript testing on the Sauce Labs Cloud. If you use any native JavaScript framework, check out the beta here


Written by

Nancy Zenger