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Puppeteer vs jsdom: What are the differences?


Puppeteer and jsdom are two popular tools used for web scraping and automation in JavaScript. While both serve similar purposes, there are several key differences between them. This article highlights the main distinctions between Puppeteer and jsdom.

  1. Execution Environment: Puppeteer is a headless automation tool developed by Google. It provides a full-featured Chrome browser environment for controlling and interacting with web pages programmatically. On the other hand, jsdom is a pure JavaScript implementation of the Document Object Model (DOM). It simulates the behavior of a web browser but does not require a browser installation.

  2. Rendering Capability: Puppeteer can fully render web pages, including executing JavaScript, handling AJAX requests, and rendering dynamic content. It allows you to capture screenshots, generate PDFs, and perform actions as if you were interacting with a real browser. Jsdom, on the other hand, does not have built-in rendering capabilities. It can only parse and manipulate HTML elements, but cannot load or execute JavaScript or CSS.

  3. Dependencies and Platform: Puppeteer is built on top of the Chrome DevTools Protocol and requires a Chromium or Chrome installation to run. It can be used on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. Jsdom, on the other hand, only relies on the JavaScript engine and does not require any additional installations. It can be used in any JavaScript environment, including Node.js, without specific platform dependencies.

  4. Interactions with External Resources: Puppeteer allows you to interact with external resources through its API. You can handle file uploads, download files, and even authenticate with HTTP requests. Jsdom, on the other hand, does not have native support for these interactions. It focuses primarily on manipulating HTML documents and does not provide built-in functionality for handling external resources.

  5. Flexibility and Customization: Puppeteer provides a wide range of features and options to customize and control the browser environment. You can modify viewport size, emulate various devices, enable or disable JavaScript, intercept network requests, and more. Jsdom, on the other hand, has limited customization options. It is primarily used for parsing and manipulating HTML documents, and does not offer as much flexibility as Puppeteer.

  6. Performance and Scalability: Puppeteer is optimized for performance and can handle complex web pages with ease. It leverages the powerful capabilities of the Chrome browser for rendering and executing JavaScript. Jsdom, on the other hand, may have performance limitations, especially when dealing with large and complex web pages. It does not have the same level of optimization as Puppeteer.

In Summary, Puppeteer provides a full-featured headless browser environment with rendering capabilities, while jsdom is a lightweight DOM implementation that focuses on parsing and manipulating HTML elements without rendering or executing JavaScript.

Advice on jsdom and Puppeteer
Ankur Loriya
Needs advice

I am using Node 12 for server scripting and have a function to generate PDF and send it to a browser. Currently, we are using PhantomJS to generate a PDF. Some web post shows that we can achieve PDF generation using Puppeteer. I was a bit confused. Should we move to puppeteerJS? Which one is better with NodeJS for generating PDF?

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Replies (2)

You better go with puppeteer. It is basically chrome automation tool, written in nodejs. So what you get is PDF, generated by chrome itself. I guess there is hardly better PDF generation tool for the web. Phantomjs is already more or less outdated as technology. It uses some old webkit port that's quite behind in terms of standards and features. It can be replaced with puppeteer for every single task.

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I suggest puppeteer to go for. It is simple and easy to set up. Only limitaiton is it can be used only for chrome browser and currently they are looking into expanding into FF. The next thing is Playwright which is just a scale up of Puppeteer. It supports cross browsers.

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Pros of jsdom
Pros of Puppeteer
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  • 10
    Very well documented
  • 10
    Scriptable web browser
  • 6
    Promise based

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Cons of jsdom
Cons of Puppeteer
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    • 10
      Chrome only

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    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is jsdom?

    It is a pure-JavaScript implementation of many web standards, notably the WHATWG DOM and HTML Standards, for use with Node.js. In general, the goal of the project is to emulate enough of a subset of a web browser to be useful for testing and scraping real-world web applications.

    What is Puppeteer?

    Puppeteer is a Node library which provides a high-level API to control headless Chrome over the DevTools Protocol. It can also be configured to use full (non-headless) Chrome.

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