Testing Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) with Playwright

Testing Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) with Playwright

When it comes to Progressive Web Applications (PWAs), testing is crucial, especially if you’re considering them as an alternative to traditional mobile apps. Ensuring a smooth user experience on various devices and browsers is key. Rigorous testing using tools like Appium or Selenium can help verify functionality across different platforms. 

Given that PWAs offer offline capabilities, it’s essential to test how well they perform in scenarios with limited or no internet connectivity. Additionally, checking the responsiveness of the PWA on various screen sizes and orientations is vital for a seamless user experience. 

Remember, the goal is to ensure your PWA behaves like a native app, and thorough testing is the bridge to achieving that. Test for offline functionality, push notifications, and installation on home screens to guarantee a reliable and user-friendly experience similar to what you would expect from a traditional mobile app.

Advantages of Progressive Web Application

Some of the main advantages of Progressive Web Applications are mentioned below:

  • PWAs consist of features like responsiveness. Nowadays, almost every company focuses on producing responsive web and Android apps so users can use these applications on different screen sizes. Therefore, PWA is also one of these applications which can be used on multiple devices.
  • This app functions effectively because users can operate it in different forms like a website, images, text, and cache. PWAs enhance the speed of page loading because it has high running speed.
  • Progressive Web apps can be operated offline. This provides an advantage over other applications. If the user’s internet connection is weak or unstable still, they can work in an offline mode.
  • The updates in PWAs are automatic. User permission is not required in these types of applications as it automatically updates itself.
  • PWAs maintain the safety of the data of the users. As it uses HTTPS, it eliminates all the risks of illegal activities.
  • PWAs can be easily installed from web browsers, and it acts like a native app.
  • PWAs are cost-effective, consume less disk space, and these apps are cross-platform. 

Why to Test Progressive Web Applications?

PWAs testing is very different from testing the other web applications. Therefore, in testing the traditional web application, you need to test the features provided by the apps, but in progressive web applications, you need to perform cross browser testing. The process of testing Progressive web applications is mentioned below:

Reliability Testing

The reliability of PWA depends on the ability to serve the pages over HTTPS. Lighthouse is a tool that is used to allow web pages to be served over HTTPS. 

Cross Browser Testing

On the features of new browsers, PWAs rely upon which makes it important to ensure that the site loads and also behaves as expected on the multiple types of browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox and so on. The old browser doesn’t support PWAs. Therefore it is important to check how it actually behaves whenever it is loaded on older devices.

Manual Testing is required for native-like behavior

On multiple different browsers, manual testing is required. One of its features is to add PWA to the home screen. When it is added to the home screen, it behaves like an app and not like a website. 

Making the use of URLs

Progressive web apps behave like an app, but it’s actually a website. Therefore the pages should have a URL that can be shared on social media. The pages with URLs also ensure that the search engine crawlers index the website in the correct position. Some of the content consists of very similar URLs. In those cases, PWA adds a canonical tag at the head of the page.

Software testing for native behavior

Lighthouse is used to evaluate some of the native features. It also tests the loading capabilities of the web pages in the offline mode. This software examines the features by seeing the metadata, which lets the browser know what needs to be done whenever PWA is launched in offline mode.

How to Test Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) With Playwright?

To start the end-to-end testing with Playwright consists of two options:

  • From the command line, try to use the Getting Started guide to use Playwright successfully.
  • To use Playwright from the IDE, use the Playwright Test for VSCode extension.

Use the first option since the extension is still in preview, and therefore it works only with the latest version of Playwright Test. 

  1. Install Playwright:

Use npm to install Playwright:

npm install playwright

  1. Write Tests:

Create a JavaScript file (e.g., pwa-test.js) to write your PWA tests using Playwright’s API.

  1. Run Tests:

Execute your tests using a test runner like Jest:

npx jest pwa-test.js

4. Assertions and Interactions:

Utilize Playwright functions for interactions and assertions, checking elements and PWA behavior.

5. Test Offline and Push Notifications:

Simulate offline scenarios and test push notifications using Playwright.

6. Headless or Headful Mode:

Choose between headless or headful mode based on your testing requirements.

7. Continuous Integration:

Integrate PWA tests into your CI/CD pipeline for regular validation.

Different ways to test PWAs

There are different ways that are used to test the functionalities of Progressive Web Applications. Some of them are mentioned below:

Chrome Port Forwarding

On the Android devices Chrome Port Forwarding is one of the common ways to test the PWAs. It can be performed by the following steps which are mentioned below:

  1. From the phone setting options, enable the Android Debug Bridge.
  2. From the Chrome Remote Debugger page, visit chrome://inspect in the Chrome browser to access the Chrome inspector.
  3. After that, enable the Port forwarding.
  4. Further, click and add a rule.
  5. Enter the port number in the device port section on which the site needs access.
  6. In the local address field, enter the port and address of the development server.
  7. Lastly, click and add to add the needed device.

Cloud Testing Platforms to test the PWAs

There are different types of cloud-based testing platforms where the PWAs and native apps can be tested. The main advantage of using these platforms is testing PWAs that are still under the developmental phase. 

One of the useful platforms is LambdaTest, which is a cloud-based AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform, that empowers web and mobile app testing with cross-browser, cross-platform, and real-device services. It facilitates testing by leveraging AI-driven orchestration and execution capabilities. 


Therefore, a Progressive Web Application behaves like a native application. In this article, you will get detailed knowledge about PWAs, advantages of PWAs, Why and how to test the PWAs and different ways are required to test these Progressive web applications.