Headless Browser Testing

Sreeram Krishna
August 10, 2020

We are here to understand the What is a Headless Testing, its Advantages and its Disadvantages. A short script which gives you crisp information by cutting out all the unnecessary information.

What is a Headless Testing?

Headless Testing is a method of running a browser’s UI to test without the GUI (graphical user interface) i.e. without the head. It provides us with an automatic control mechanism used for a web page with a similar environment to all the web browsers. They are executed in command line or by network calls. They would be able to render and understand HTML in a similar fashion of browser. It includes Page layout, Font, Colour. It also executed AJAX and JS which ideally are not present in other testing methods.One of the advantage of headless browser is it is quick on performance, since it allows us to run the test quickly in the real browser environment. The headless testing avoids draw operations which handles rendering of the UI and other pixels in the screen. In headless testing we do not take into account the draw operations.

Let us understand what Headless browsers are capable of working:

  • Test automation in modern web applications.
  • Taking screenshots of web pages.
  • Running automated tests for JavaScript libraries.
  • Scraping web sites for data.
  • Automating interaction of web pages.

There are various tools with headless testing which makes life easy.The most popular Headless browser is PhantomJS. PhantomJS is used in the test workflow of various open-source projects.

Advantage  of PhantomJS include:

  • Uses less resources
  • Works in Command Line
  • Not required to integrated with 3rd party Services.
  • Execute multiple test cases with a given time
  • Very useful for smoke and sanity testing

Disadvantages  of PhantomJS include:

  • Lots of open issues
  • Hard to debug inconsistent failures on locating elements

I hope you had a good time reading this blog by gaining crisp information on Headless Testing.Good Luck !!

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