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How I set up end-to-end testing in Sails with Playwright

Kelvin Omereshone

Playwright is a Node.js library created by Microsoft for end-to-end testing. In this article I will take you step by step on how I setup Playwright for end-to-end testing in a Sails.js codebase. Let’s go!

Init playwright

The Playwright docs has really done a good job in making the installation and setup of Playwright super easy by providing both an init NPM command and a VS Code extension to get started with Playwright. I decided to use the init command because I like the CLI 🙂. So I ran:

npm init playwright@latest

I got prompted with a series of questions like:

  • Do you want to use TypeScript or JavaScript?. I chose JavaScript!
  • Where to put your end-to-end tests? tests or e2e. I went with e2e for this one because I already have some functional and unit tests in my codebase powered by Japa.
  • Add a GitHub Actions workflow?. I chose yes for this as because I want to be able to run e2e tests via GitHub actions workflow in CI.

After I answered the above questions, the init command proceeded to install the Playwright Test - @playwright/test dependency - which is the playwright test runner, it also downloaded the browsers and touched my codebase with a config file and it added an e2e folder in my project root.

The init command also created an example test file within the e2e folder and a test-example folder with a file filled with useful test scenarios which I used to get a better sense of authoring e2e tests with Playwright.

Specifying the base URL

The next thing I did was to setup a baseURL for my entire end-to-end tests. This will allow me not to repeat myself when visiting pages.

To do this, I opened playwright.config.js and then within the use object in the config, I uncommented the baseUrl property and I updated it to my development URL for testing i.e localhost:3333 And that’s it! Now I can use await page.goto('/') within my tests.

Setting up the local dev server

I love how convenient Playwright made setting up the dev server of your application before running the tests. All I had to do was, in the same playwright.config.js file, I found a commented out section concerning setting up a local dev server and I made it to look like this:

// playwright.config.js
webServer: {
    command: 'sails_environment="test" sails lift',
    port: 3333,
    timeout: 120 * 1000,
    reuseExistingServer: !process.env.CI,

You can see I’m telling Playwright the command to use to run my dev server which is sails_environment="test" sails lift and I’m specifying the port the dev server will be listening on, the timeout and whether or not to reuse existing server.

Now you might be wondering why I’m telling Playwright that the server is listening in on port 3333 when the default Sails dev server port is on 1337 . If you will notice the sails_environment="test" line in the command section of the webServer object, that will make Sails to use the test environment which I’ve already defined earlier on in my codebase when I set up unit and functional tests with Japa.

First test

And that’s it! Set up is all done and I went ahead to author my first Playwright test by renaming example.spec.js to home.spec.js and then I modified the content to like this:

// ./e2e/home.spec.js

// @ts-check
const { test, expect } = require('@playwright/test')

test('homepage has Sailscasts in title and Give Sailscasts a try link linking to the pricing page', async ({
}) => {
  await page.goto('/')

  // Expect a title "to contain" a substring.
  await expect(page).toHaveTitle(/Sailscasts/)

  // create a locator
  const getStarted = page.locator('text=Give Sailscasts a Try').first()

  // Expect an attribute "to be strictly equal" to the value.
  await expect(getStarted).toHaveAttribute('href', '/pricing')

  // Click the get started link.

  // Expects the URL to contain pricing.
  await expect(page).toHaveURL(/.*pricing/)

You can see I went straight for the money on this one by testing if a user can click on the “Give Sailscasts a Try” link and gets navigated to the /pricing page 🤑

Run the tests

Now to run the test, in my terminal I ran:

npx playwright test

The above command will ran all tests in headless mode i.e without opening the browsers and just executes in the terminal.

Just to see what headed mode looked like, I ran:

npx playwright test --headed

I also ran:

npx playwright show-report

To see a webpage with a report on my test.


And that’s it! I love how easy Playwright was to setup and how fast the tests were. Also it was really simple authoring the tests.

I plan on writing more tests and though I already have a test runner with Japa and Playwright let’s you use third-party test runners, I think I might just stick with this setup as both Japa and Playwright played nicely well together.

Let me know if you give Playwright a try in your codebase.