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PhantomJS vs Protractor: What are the differences?

PhantomJS: Scriptable Headless WebKit. PhantomJS (www.phantomjs.org) is a headless WebKit scriptable with JavaScript. It is used by hundreds of developers and dozens of organizations for web-related development workflow; Protractor: End-to-end test framework for Angular and AngularJS applications. Protractor is an end-to-end test framework for Angular and AngularJS applications. Protractor runs tests against your application running in a real browser, interacting with it as a user would.

PhantomJS and Protractor are primarily classified as "Headless Browsers" and "Javascript Testing Framework" tools respectively.

"Scriptable web browser" is the primary reason why developers consider PhantomJS over the competitors, whereas "Quick tests implementation" was stated as the key factor in picking Protractor.

PhantomJS and Protractor are both open source tools. PhantomJS with 26.9K GitHub stars and 5.7K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Protractor with 8.24K GitHub stars and 2.23K GitHub forks.

Key Location, Indiegogo, and Tailor Brands are some of the popular companies that use PhantomJS, whereas Protractor is used by PeopleKeep, Omaze, and Garlic Tech Ltd. PhantomJS has a broader approval, being mentioned in 77 company stacks & 47 developers stacks; compared to Protractor, which is listed in 24 company stacks and 22 developer stacks.

Advice on PhantomJS and Protractor
Yildiz Dila
testmanager/automation tester at medicalservice · | 5 upvotes · 132.2K views
Needs advice
on
Protractor
and
Cypress

In the company I will be building test automation framework and my new company develops apps mainly using AngularJS/TypeScript. I was planning to build Protractor-Jasmine framework but a friend of mine told me about Cypress and heard that its users are very satisfied with it. I am trying to understand the capabilities of Cypress and as the final goal to differentiate these two tools. Can anyone advice me on this in a nutshell pls...

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Replies (2)
Kevin Emery
QE Systems Engineer at Discovery, Inc. · | 3 upvotes · 52.6K views

I've used both Protractor and Cypress extensively. Cypress is the easier and more reliable tool, whereas Protractor is the more powerful tool. Your choice of tool should depend on your specific testing needs. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of each tool:

Cypress advantages:

  • Faster

  • More reliable (tends to throw fewer intermittent false failures)

  • Easier to read code (handles promises gracefully)

Cypress disadvantages:

  • Cannot switch between browser tabs

  • Cannot switch to iFrames

  • Cannot specify clicks or keypresses explicitly as if a real user was interacting

  • Cannot move the mouse to specific co-ordinates

  • Sometimes has trouble switching between different top-level domains, so not good for testing external links

  • Cypress is a newer tool with less extensive documentation and less community support

Protractor advantages:

  • More powerful because it is Selenium-based - it can switch between tabs, it can handle external links to other domains, it can handle iFrames, simulate keypresses and clicks, and move the mouse to specific co-ordinates within the browser.

  • More extensive community support and documentation

Protractor disadvantages:

  • Slower and more brittle - in general there is a higher likelihood of cryptic and/or intermittent errors which may cause your tests to fail even though there is nothing wrong with your application

  • For highly experienced automation engineers, the fundamental "brittle" nature of Selenium can be worked around - it can be reliable but only if you really know what you are doing

  • Less graceful handling of promises - relies on async/await or .then to manage the order of execution. Therefore it is a bit harder to read the code.

  • Harder to set up, and the method of setup impacts its reliability. For example, a hub/node configuration where the selenium jar is on a different physical machine than the browser under test will cause unreliability in your tests. Not everyone knows about this type of thing, so it's common to find Selenium frameworks that are set up poorly.

It's probably better to use Cypress if

  • you're at a smaller company and have a close relationship with developers who can help write hooks or stubs in their code to assist your testing

  • you don't need to do things like switch between tabs or test links to external top-level domains

It's probably better to use Protractor if

  • You might need to switch between tabs or test external links to other domains within the scope of your framework

  • You want to use a more accurate simulation of how a real user interacts with a browser (i.e. click at this location, type these keys)

  • You're at a company where you won't have any support from developers in writing hooks or stubs to make their code more testable in a less powerful framework like Cypress

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Jian Wang
Web Engineer at sentaca · | 1 upvotes · 81.5K views
Recommends

Please try Handow, the e2e tool basing on Puppeteer.

Gherkin syntax compatible

Chrome/Chromium orentied, driven by Puppeteer engine

Complete JavaScript programming

Create test suites rapidly without coding (or a little bit), basing on built-in steps library

Schedule test with plans and arrange stories with sequential stages

Fast running, execute story groups in parallel by multi-workers

Built-in single page report render

Cover page view, REST API and cookies test

https://github.com/newlifewj/handow

http://demo.shm.handow.org/reports

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Ankur Loriya
Needs advice
on
Puppeteer
and
PhantomJS

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)
Recommends
Puppeteer

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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Recommends
Puppeteer

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 PhantomJS
Pros of Protractor
  • 13
    Scriptable web browser
  • 3
    Depends on QT
  • 2
    No ECMAScript 6
  • 8
    Easy setup
  • 7
    Quick tests implementation
  • 4
    Open source
  • 4
    Promise support
  • 3
    Flexible

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Cons of PhantomJS
Cons of Protractor
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 3
      Limited

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is PhantomJS?

    PhantomJS (www.phantomjs.org) is a headless WebKit scriptable with JavaScript. It is used by hundreds of developers and dozens of organizations for web-related development workflow.

    What is Protractor?

    Protractor is an end-to-end test framework for Angular and AngularJS applications. Protractor runs tests against your application running in a real browser, interacting with it as a user would.

    Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

    What companies use PhantomJS?
    What companies use Protractor?
    See which teams inside your own company are using PhantomJS or Protractor.
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    Sign up to get full access to all the companiesMake informed product decisions

    What tools integrate with PhantomJS?
    What tools integrate with Protractor?

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    What are some alternatives to PhantomJS and Protractor?
    Selenium
    Selenium automates browsers. That's it! What you do with that power is entirely up to you. Primarily, it is for automating web applications for testing purposes, but is certainly not limited to just that. Boring web-based administration tasks can (and should!) also be automated as well.
    Electron
    With Electron, creating a desktop application for your company or idea is easy. Initially developed for GitHub's Atom editor, Electron has since been used to create applications by companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Slack, and Docker. The Electron framework lets you write cross-platform desktop applications using JavaScript, HTML and CSS. It is based on io.js and Chromium and is used in the Atom editor.
    wkhtmltopdf
    wkhtmltopdf and wkhtmltoimage are command line tools to render HTML into PDF and various image formats using the QT Webkit rendering engine. These run entirely "headless" and do not require a display or display service.
    SlimerJS
    It allows you to manipulate a web page with an external Javascript script: opening a webpage, clicking on links, modifying the content... It is useful to do functional tests, page automation, network monitoring, screen capture etc.
    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.
    See all alternatives