Since it was released back in 2018, Puppeteer has become really popular. For Google, it was just another successful product in many, but this solution found even broader applications than expected initially.
The first reason why Puppeteer is so popular is that there’s not that much noticeable competition out there apart from Selenium. In this post, we will talk about some of the core designs and purposes of Puppeteer and how developers can use it for their needs.
Most people call Puppeteer an automation framework, but it can do a lot more. Let’s see what it’s all about.
Quick overview of Puppeteer
Puppeteer is a NodeJS library that lets users execute different tasks, including automated tests. The whole interface is compelling but quite simple to use, which is what most people like about it. This Node library gives a robust API that controls headless Chrome processes using DevTools Protocol.
Many people call Puppeteer the Headless Chrome API as it helps automate website tests through the Chrome browser. At its core, Puppeteer is a tool that allows smooth automation. It runs headless on its own but can be adjusted to run non-headless on Chromium or Chrome.
Now let’s explain some of the terms we’ve mentioned just now to make things easier for you.
- Headless running: running websites without having a graphic user interface;
- DevTools Protocol: a common protocol used for different Chrome functionalities for enabling development tools;
- API: a readable interface that lets users interact with pages using a browser like Chromium or Chrome;
Design goals of Puppeteer
Puppeteer is currently available on Chrome only out of all basic web browsers. It also supports Firefox Nightly, a web browser version made for developers. However, there is a lot of talk about expanding support to other browsers especially considering how popular this tool has become.
However, there is no reason to believe that Puppeteer will have the same power and speed on other browsers. The original idea was to create a tool specifically optimized for Chrome. Ease of use, stability, security, and speed are the main design goals of Puppeteer, similar to the Chromium project.
Puppeteer is bundled with Chromium to make it as compatible as possible, and every Puppeteer version has a compatible Chromium version attached to it. Puppeteer doesn’t open anything new, but it lets developers deal with various issues by starting a new Chrome instance with the actual browser running in the back end.
How to use Puppeteer
Now that you’ve learned about Puppeteer’s functions, design, and goals, let’s see how you can use it.
- Capturing screenshots on pages: setting up automated screenshots that you can use for archiving purposes, comparison, or proof;
- Web data scraping: extracting large volumes of data from websites for later use;
- Automating interactions on websites: perform different actions on the site and scale them by adjusting speed up and down;
- Test automation: Puppeteer can run different automated actions on apps to ensure they are doing what they are supposed to.
Puppeteer helps inspect web applications and scrap websites by generating PDF files and page screenshots while doing various testing actions. You can use screenshots and PDF files to describe the process and prove the automated testing results.
Testers can also crawl pages with all SPAs and generate content through SSR. The Puppeteer can also execute browser-specific actions like form submission automation, keyboard inputs, DOM API pages access, etc.
These actions can be beneficial for Chromium or Chrome automated user experience testing. If you want to learn more, find a reliable Puppeteer tutorial. Check here for more details.
Tips for using Puppeteer
If you plan on using this powerful tool, here are some tips that might help you achieve better results for your desired applications.
Puppeteer lets users set proxies on browser level only. Using a proxy-chain mobile is a must. It’s best to use a user-agent header and set it up for every request. The proxy server should read user-agent on every request.
Use browserless library
Headless Chrome instances with application code and the same server can be a bad idea, leading to RAM and CPU usage spikes. To avoid this, it’s best to run headless Chrome using its dedicated server. Every user can do this with a browserless library.
Avoid opening new tabs
Lots of people open new tabs in Puppeteer when they start the browser. Every Puppeteer tutorial will tell you not to do this since there are ways to bypass this issue without opening a second tab.
We hope this article has helped you understand the fundamentals of Puppeteer and its uses. Take the time to learn more about it and see its capabilities. Don’t be afraid of using Puppeteer as it can provide many advantages in different spheres of work.