Automate web browsers with Python and Playwright

Using Playwright to control Chromium, Firefox, or WebKit with Python and optional asyncio integration.

By Max Schmitt, Published on 8/7/2020


In this article, we're gonna focus on the current state of using Playwright with Python. Playwright is a Node.js library to automate browsers (Chromium, Firefox, WebKit) with a single API which provides now also the interfaces to provide other cross-language support, in this particular blog post Python.

In comparison to other automation libraries like Selenium, Playwright offers:

And by that, all these features are also available in the Python integration. Be aware, that Playwright Python is currently in beta but exposes already most of the common methods and functions to be used. Since communication with browsers is mostly async based, Playwright does also provide an async based interface. It's a developer decision in the end but in most cases, the sync version is easier debuggable with REPLs like ipdb, pdb, or IPython since they don't work with await and by that, your are more productive with writing your actual features.


Since the core concept of Playwright is also the same as in the Python version, the function calls are mostly the same except how you access the Playwright object. For that, you have to use the sync_playwright context manager with a with statement.

Page screenshot - sync

This code snippet navigates to in Chromium, Firefox and WebKit, and saves 3 screenshots.

from playwright.sync_api import sync_playwright
with sync_playwright() as p:
for browser_type in [p.chromium, p.firefox, p.webkit]:
browser = browser_type.launch()
page = browser.new_page()

Evaluate in browser context - sync

This code snippet navigates to in Firefox and executes a script in the page context to determine the window dimensions.

from playwright.sync_api import sync_playwright
with sync_playwright() as p:
browser = p.firefox.launch()
page = browser.new_page()
dimensions = page.evaluate('''() => {
return {
width: document.documentElement.clientWidth,
height: document.documentElement.clientHeight,
deviceScaleFactor: window.devicePixelRatio

Intercept network requests - async

This code snippet sets up request routing for a Chromium page to log all network requests.

import asyncio
from playwright.async_api import async_playwright
async def main():
async with async_playwright() as p:
browser = await p.chromium.launch()
page = await browser.new_page()
def log_and_continue_request(route, request):
# Log and continue all network requests
await page.route('**', lambda route, request: log_and_continue_request(route, request))
await page.goto('')
await browser.close()

Pytest integration

For writing actual end-to-end tests its common to use a test runner. In the Python world, Pytest is very common and we're using in our example the official Playwright integration for it. Instead of using it manually, it provides features like:

It's Open Source and available on GitHub and installable with PIP:

pip install pytest pytest-playwright

Pytest has the concept that you have fixtures that will pass the values inside which are specified by the parameter name. In our case, we use for that page which will call the Playwright Pytest plugin to give us a page object.

from playwright.sync_api import Page
def test_is_chromium(page: Page) -> None:
page.locator("input[name=q]").type("Playwright GitHub")

You can run it with pytest or optionally specify multiple browsers to run the test on like pytest --browser chromium --browser firefox --browser webkit which will run 3 tests in the end.

For more detail information about the Pytest usage, you'll find the documentation on GitHub.


Playwright Python is still beta, but for small projects with are not used in production its worth it to try it out to see if you benefit from it compared to other automation libraries. If you encounter any bugs or find some missing features, feel free to file an issue on GitHub.