Comparing Cypress and Playwright
Cypress and Playwright are both end-to-end testing frameworks, usually used to simulate user behaviour in front-end applications.
Both are similarly popular, with around 50k stars on GitHub. Cypress is a bit older than Playwright, which is relatively new, but overall they’re largely similar. Each has its own strengths though:
✅ Same API and framework for end-to-end and component tests. By combining end-to-end testing and component testing in the same framework, you get the advantage of being able to use the same APIs (multiple APIs for selecting and clicking is horrible for developer efficiency!) and the same development and debugging tools.
✅ Polished UI for test debugging. The Cypress UI for debugging tests feels a lot more polished than the Playwright built-in UI, with live reloading, a singular timeline of events, and dashboard pages that help you set up your project. The same UI is also available as a paid cloud service that lets you watch back recordings of your CI runs.
✅ Multi-browser support. Out of the box, Playwright will run your tests in multiple browsers (the default config file will run your app in Firefox, Safari and Chromium). That makes it very easy to feel confident you can catch errors if your app doesn’t behave the same across the major browsers.
✅ Code generator. With the Playwright VS Code Extension, you can generate a starting point for your test code simply by navigating to your app in the browser and clicking around. This will create code for your test, which you can then polish and finish, massively reducing the time to get a first green checkmark.
✅ Integrated dev server control. Whereas with Cypress you need to ensure yourself that your app is running before starting your test (my preferred way of doing so is with the aptly named
start-server-and-test package), Playwright has a built-in way to start a local dev server using their
webserver config option.
Either framework works fine for building end-to-end tests, and with a relatively large community, they’re both easy to use and find information about.
I tend to use Cypress for most work projects because it feels robust and I like the experience of debugging using their UI, but I’ll usually choose Playwright for small side projects, because it’s slightly faster to get started with and feels more lightweight.
Either way, if you’re doing end-to-end testing, you’re on the right track!