HomeTechnologyThe Benefits and Challenges of Using Playwright for Mobile Testing in 2023

The Benefits and Challenges of Using Playwright for Mobile Testing in 2023

Mobile apps continue to progress at an unbelievable rate, and the architecture surrounding mobile apps gets more intricate all the time.  The no. of smartphone mobile network subscriptions globally hit almost 6.6 billion in 2022 and is forecast to surpass 7.8 billion by 2028. The USA, China, and India have higher smartphone mobile network subscriptions.

Smartphone revenue worldwide touched 481 billion U.S. D. in 2021, yet it was projected to have dropped to 463 billion in 2022. Despite stagnating sales, smartphones’ rising average selling cost is projected to support the marketplace over the coming years. However, with the progress in the complexity of the mobile application and the development procedure, mobile testing also requires keeping pace with the ever-changing demands.

Amongst other automated mobile testing tools, Playwright’s popularity is anticipated to continue to rise, making it a valued tool for QA teams and developers alike. Whether you’re building a simple app or a complicated mobile application, Playwright can help you accomplish faster and highly efficient testing and eventually deliver top-quality software to your customers.

Evolution of Mobile Applications

The evolution of mobile apps has been rapid & transformative. Here are some of the major milestones:

  1. Early mobile apps with restricted functionality
  2. Introduction of the App stores
  3. Cross-platform development
  4. Cloud computing
  5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
  6. IoT (Internet of Things)
  7. AR (Augmented Reality) and Virtual Reality
  8. 5G connectivity

Overall, the development of mobile apps has been marked by significant advancements in technology and a growing focus on delivering immersive and personalized user experiences.

Modern Mobile App Development and Testing

Today’s apps are harder to automate, and tests can’t be compatible with the reactiveness of the frameworks. Projects on rich single-page apps find that their E2E (end-to-end) tests are flaky. They aren’t able to consistently and reliably automate user interactions on their mobile apps.

E2E tests, which are meant to aid your test and ship sooner, instead lead tests to run extremely slowly. QA testers often include retries, sleep, or timeouts to handle reliability complications. As we can merely automate some facets of our app, tests need help with test coverage problems. E2E testing has not been able to progress for the current web because of such issues.

In conclusion, modern mobile app testing is based on three core pillars:

  1. Manual Testing: This form of test is a critical part of mobile app testing, wherein a QA tester manually tests the app’s user interface, functionality, performance, usability, and security. Manual testing is beneficial for detecting edge cases and issues that might not be identified by automated testing.
  2. Automated Testing: Automated tests include software tools to execute tests automatically. Automated testing is more reliable, faster, and highly efficient than manual tests, and it is used for testing repetitive and time-consuming jobs. There are many types of automated testing, such as functional testing, performance testing, integration testing, unit testing, and regression testing.
  3. Continuous Testing: Continuous testing is a procedure wherein testing is incorporated throughout the software development cycle, from the early phases of development to delivery and beyond. It involves running tests continuously and automatically to guarantee that the app meets the mandatory quality standards.

These three pillars provide a comprehensive testing strategy for mobile apps.

As modern apps evolve, making them interconnected and decentralized like never before is critical. For QA testing to evolve and adapt to the alterations, Playwright empowers QA testers to reliably automate all the competencies and user communications with extremely rich and responsive apps. It also aids in speeding up the test cycle for speedy shipping & release. We can say it is the better end-to-end testing tool for mobile apps.

What is Playwright?

Playwright is a free or open-source browser automation library that allows software testers and developers to automate tasks and test mobile apps across multiple browsers, comprising WebKit, Chromium, and Firefox. It was developed by Microsoft and was launched in 2020.

It is built on the DevTools Protocol, which offers a robust and reliable mode to interact with web browsers. It gives a unified API for automating jobs. It also supports recording videos, screenshots, and tracing performance.

One of the significant benefits of Playwright is its cross-browser assistance. It gives consistent APIs across multiple browsers, letting software testers and developers for writing code once and executes it on various browsers. It also supports multiple programming languages, counting TypeScript, JavaScript, Java, and Python, making it accessible to many testers and developers.  It also provides descriptive error messages and debugging tools to assist testers and developers in diagnosing issues rapidly.

Why Playwright?

Playwright gives a unique benefit in mobile automation tests as it eliminates the requirement for extra drivers or proxies to communicate with actual emulators or devices. This means that the testing can run straight on the target gadget without any intermediary software. This massively enhances the reliability and speed of the testing procedure, as there is no additional potential or latency for miscommunication between the testing device and the tool.

Besides, the absence of extra drivers makes the test procedure much more streamlined, saving resources and time. Playwright is a precious tool for automated mobile testing, giving accurate and efficient outcomes.

Even though this feature is still experimental, the potential to generate efficient and neat custom automated solutions is enormous, taking mobile automated testing to new levels. Playwright has over 2.2k Fork, 45.2k Star, plus 324+ contributors on GitHub, which tells about its popularity.

Advantages of Using Playwright for Mobile Testing

Playwright is a famous free automated tool used for testing web apps. It has also added support for mobile tests, and here are some rewards of using Playwright for mobile testing:

  1. Cross-browser testing: It offers a unified API for testing apps across multiple browsers, counting mobile browsers. This lets QA testers write once & execute tests on various browsers.
  2. Multi-device testing: With assistance for multiple mobile gadgets, Playwright enables QA testers to execute tests on an extensive range of mobile gadgets, counting Android and iOS devices, all from a sole API.
  3. Robust testing framework: It is built on top of Chromium, which is well-known for its robustness and stability. This makes Playwright a reliable testing framework for testing mobile apps.
  4. Access to device features: Playwright gives access to device-centric traits such as GPS, camera, and sensors. This enables QA testers to run more comprehensive tests of mobile apps.
  5. Performance testing: It supports performance testing of mobile apps, which enables QA testers to assess the app’s performance under diverse network conditions.
  6. Integration with other testing tools: It can be incorporated with other tools such as Cucumber, Mocha, and Jest, enabling QA testers to use their preferred test frameworks.
  7. Continuous testing: It supports continuous testing, enabling QA testers to automate the test process and incorporate it into their CI/CD pipelines.

In short, using Playwright for mobile testing gives an efficient and reliable method to test mobile apps across different devices and browsers, with access to device-centric traits and performance testing capacities.

Core Challenges of Using Playwright for Mobile Testing in 2023

Playwright is a standard open-source testing library that allows testers and developers to automate mobile testing. While it has several advantages, there are also some challenges linked with using Playwright for mobile tests. Some of these core challenges comprise:

  • Platform-specific configurations: Mobile testing necessitates configuring precise devices and OSs. It supports mobile testing on Android and iOS, yet it necessitates varied configurations for every platform.
  • Device fragmentation: Several forms of mobile devices have varying screen sizes, hardware configurations, and resolutions. This can make it tricky to ensure that the tests constantly function across all devices.
  • Emulator limitations: Emulators are used for testing on mobile devices but have restrictions compared to actual gadgets. Emulators might not be able to replicate all device traits, and their performance might not match the actual device.
  • Network issues: Mobile test necessitates testing across varied network conditions, such as Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, and 4G. This could be tough to simulate accurately, and it can influence the accuracy and reliability of the test outcomes.
  • Test maintenance: As mobile apps are regularly updated, tests written for prior app versions might become obsolete. Managing and updating tests to ensure they are upgraded can be challenging and time-consuming.
  • Limited assistance for hybrid apps: It supports testing of native applications on both Android and iOS yet has restricted support for hybrid applications, which are a blend of native and web technologies.

Regardless of such challenges, Playwright can still be a beneficial tool for mobile testing, predominantly when combined with several other techniques and tools to overcome these challenges.

Playwright Architecture

To understand how Playwright’s architecture functions, we will compare its traits with that of Se (selenium). Selenium sends every single command as an individual HTTP request & receives JSON requests. Every interaction, such as clicking an element, opening a browser window, or entering text into an input box, is sent as an individual HTTP request.

It generally means we have to wait longer for reactions which rises the chances of flaws.Instead of communicating with every single driver through an individual WebSocket connection, Playwright relies on a sole WebSocket connection to connect with every driver, which remains in place until the test is ended. This sends commands rapidly on a single connection, reducing failure points.

Browsers Supported by Playwright

Playwright is accessible in a variety of languages, and all version has various dependencies. This testing framework will download such dependencies for you at package install time, or you can install Playwright CLI.

This framework continually updates its support of browsers so that the newest Playwright would support the latest browsers at any time. Thus, you must run the install command every time you update Playwright.

  • Firefox (76 & above)
  • WebKit (13 & above)
  • Chromium (84 & above)
  • Microsoft Edge (Edge 80 & above)
  • Google Chrome (Chrome 66 & above)

How to run Playwright Testing?

You can leverage several traits offered by the Playwright framework. But, its true potential can be detected only over a cloud-centric testing platform like LambdaTest, a unified intelligent digital experience testing platform that allows developers and testers to test their mobile and web applications by manual testing and automation testing via integration of automated tools and frameworks over 3000+ different browsers and OS combinations.. Using LambdaTest’s automated cloud test platform, you can automate Playwright testing on an online web browser farm of 50+ browsers, counting Google Chrome, MS Edge, Chromium, Webkit, and Mozilla Firefox.

You can also execute your Playwright test scripts in parallel & shorten test implementation cycles by several folds.

Here are distinct traits that make Playwright testing a breeze with a platform like LambdaTest.

  1. Immediate access to 3000+ actual mobile and desktop environments.
  2. Perform 70% speedy test execution with HyperExecute – an E2E test orchestration cloud.
  3. Alleviate test flakiness, shorten job times & get speedy feedback on code alterations with Test At Scale.
  4. Testing across various geographies with a geo-location tests feature.
  5. 120+ 3rd-party incorporations with your favorite tool for Continuous Integration/ Continuous Delivery, Codeless Automation, Project Management, and more.

Below are the steps to execute Playwright testing on the LambdaTest platform.

  1. You have to sign up for free and log in to your account in LambdaTest.
  2. Clone the LambdaTest Playwright GitHub repository in LambdaTest 
  3. Using npm install, try to install the NPM dependencies.
  4. Set your LambdaTest account, like username and access key in the environ variables. You can obtain them from the dashboard of LambdaTest Automation Dashboard by clicking the Access Key button.
  1. Utilize the command: node playwright-single.js in the terminal to implement the testing.
  2. Later, visit the LambdaTest Automation Dashboard to check your test outcomes.

You can observe the descriptions of the Playwright test session you implemented by clicking the session name.

The below reflects test implementation details for a Playwright test, counting Test ID, Test Name, selected configurations, basic information, input configuration, test logs, and test session video.


In a nutshell, Playwright is a robust and versatile test framework that provides multiple benefits for mobile testing. It gives a unified API for testing mobile, web, and desktop apps, making it easy for testers and developers to write and maintain test scripts across varied platforms. Additionally, Playwright’s support for various frameworks, programming languages, and test runners makes it highly adaptable to distinct project requirements as well as workflows.

However, there are also a few challenges to using Playwright for mobile testing. But, in short, Playwright can be a truly effective tool for mobile testing when used appropriately and in the right context. With its innovative features and great testing capabilities, it is perfectly suited to help testers and developers guarantee the reliability and quality of their mobile apps.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Playwright?

This is an open-source Node.js library used to automate web browsers such as Firefox, WebKit, and Chromium. Playwright lets developers and QA teams write E2E tests that simulate user communications with mobile and web apps.

Is Playwright suitable for cross-browser testing?

Yes, this tool is suitable for cross-browser tests. Playwright allows users to test mobile and web apps across browsers, counting Firefox, Chromium, and WebKit.

Does Playwright support parallel testing?

Yes, this framework supports parallel testing. Playwright allows users to run various tests in parallel on multiple devices, browsers, and platforms, which can considerably reduce test implementation time.

What programming languages can be used with Playwright?

This framework supports many programming languages, counting Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, and C#. Playwright also incorporates popular testing frameworks such as Mocha, Jest, and Jasmine.

Can we use Playwright for API testing?

Yes! You can straight use this framework for API testing.

How does Playwright communicate with the browser? With an HTTP request?

This incredible test framework uses browser remote debugging protocols (for instance, CDP for Chromium) over the procedure pipe.

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