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CasperJS vs PhantomJS: What are the differences?


In this article, we will explore the key differences between CasperJS and PhantomJS. Both CasperJS and PhantomJS are popular headless browser automation tools that are widely used in web scraping, web testing, and other web development tasks. While they serve similar purposes, there are significant differences between the two.

  1. Execution Environment: CasperJS is built on top of PhantomJS and provides a higher-level API for interacting with the underlying PhantomJS engine. It adds additional features and simplifies the process of web automation. PhantomJS, on the other hand, is a standalone headless browser that can be used directly without the need for an additional framework like CasperJS.

  2. API and Syntax: CasperJS offers a more powerful and expressive API compared to PhantomJS. It includes a rich set of functions and methods specifically designed for web automation tasks. The CasperJS API is simpler to use and offers a higher level of abstraction, making it easier for developers to write automated scripts. PhantomJS provides a lower-level API that requires more coding and a deeper understanding of web technologies.

  3. Functionality: CasperJS provides built-in features like automatic form submission, DOM manipulation, and screenshots, which are not available out-of-the-box in PhantomJS. These additional functionalities help in simplifying the common web automation tasks. PhantomJS, being a lower-level tool, requires manual implementation for such functionalities.

  4. Testing Capabilities: CasperJS has more advanced testing capabilities compared to PhantomJS. It provides a built-in testing framework that allows developers to write test cases and assertions. CasperJS provides a more structured and organized approach to web testing, making it easier to write, maintain, and execute test scripts. PhantomJS, being more focused on web automation, does not offer the same level of testing features.

  5. Compatibility and Support: PhantomJS is a mature and widely used tool that has been around for a longer time compared to CasperJS. It has a larger community and more extensive documentation available. PhantomJS also supports a wider range of platforms and operating systems. CasperJS, being a wrapper around PhantomJS, inherits its compatibility and support.

  6. Maintenance and Updates: CasperJS is actively maintained and updated, with new features and bug fixes being regularly released. PhantomJS, however, is no longer actively maintained and the official development has been discontinued. While it is still functional and usable, there are no new updates or bug fixes being released, which may pose potential issues in the long run.

In Summary, CasperJS offers a higher-level API, additional functionalities, advanced testing capabilities, and better support compared to PhantomJS. Although PhantomJS is standalone and has broader compatibility, it lacks some of the features and convenience provided by CasperJS.

Advice on CasperJS and PhantomJS
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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Replies (2)

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 CasperJS
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      Scriptable web browser
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    What is CasperJS?

    CasperJS is a browser navigation scripting & testing utility written in Javascript for PhantomJS or SlimerJS.

    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.

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    What are some alternatives to CasperJS and PhantomJS?
    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.
    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.
    Cypress is a front end automated testing application created for the modern web. Cypress is built on a new architecture and runs in the same run-loop as the application being tested. As a result Cypress provides better, faster, and more reliable testing for anything that runs in a browser. Cypress works on any front-end framework or website.
    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.
    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.
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