PhantomJS vs Serverless Chrome

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PhantomJS vs Serverless Chrome: What are the differences?

# Introduction

PhantomJS and Serverless Chrome are two tools often used for headless browsing and automation tasks. They both have their own unique features and capabilities. Below are the key differences between PhantomJS and Serverless Chrome.

1. **Execution Environment**: PhantomJS is a headless browser implemented as a command-line tool, while Serverless Chrome is a variant of Chromium optimized for running in serverless environments like AWS Lambda.
2. **Maintenance and Updates**: PhantomJS has been deprecated and is no longer actively maintained, whereas Serverless Chrome is kept up to date with the latest version of Chromium and maintained by its developers.
3. **Resource Consumption**: Serverless Chrome scales better in terms of resource consumption when compared to PhantomJS, resulting in more efficient and cost-effective operations in high-demand scenarios.
4. **Integration with Cloud Platforms**: Serverless Chrome is designed to seamlessly integrate with cloud platforms like AWS Lambda, making it easier to deploy and manage in serverless environments compared to PhantomJS.
5. **Advanced features and capabilities**: Serverless Chrome provides access to advanced features and capabilities of the Chromium browser, offering a more modern and robust solution for headless browsing and automation tasks compared to PhantomJS.
6. **Community Support**: Serverless Chrome benefits from a more active community and ongoing development support compared to PhantomJS, ensuring better compatibility and timely bug fixes and updates for users.

In Summary, PhantomJS and Serverless Chrome differ in terms of their execution environment, maintenance status, resource consumption, integration with cloud platforms, advanced features, and community support. Serverless Chrome emerges as a more efficient and modern solution for headless browsing and automation tasks in serverless environments. 
Advice on PhantomJS and Serverless Chrome
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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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 PhantomJS
Pros of Serverless Chrome
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    Scriptable web browser
  • 3
    Depends on QT
  • 2
    No ECMAScript 6
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    What is PhantomJS?

    PhantomJS 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 Serverless Chrome?

    The aim of this project is to provide the scaffolding for using Headless Chrome during a serverless function invocation. Serverless Chrome takes care of building and bundling the Chrome binaries and making sure Chrome is running when your serverless function executes. In addition, this project also provides a few "example" handlers for common patterns (e.g. taking a screenshot of a page, printing to PDF, some scraping, etc.)

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      What are some alternatives to PhantomJS and Serverless Chrome?
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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.
      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.
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