Getting Started With Playwright

Setting up with VSCode

  1. Create a dev container using the Ubuntu image (include Node.js), then rebuild into dev container
  2. Install Playwright into your project with npm i -D playwright
  3. Add the following postCreateCommand in .devcontainer/devcontainer.json
"postCreateCommand": "rm -rf node_modules && npm i",
  1. Add the following to package.json:
"scripts": {
  "postinstall": "npx playwright install && npx playwright install-deps"
  1. Create the first script, run using node main.ts

Setting up video playback

This allows for video playback to occur of all runs, very useful for debugging issues. An example where video will be played inside the try block and will generate a video regardless of success or failure:

(async () => {
    const browser = await webkit.launch();
    const context = await browser.newContext({
        recordVideo: { dir: 'video' }
    const page = await context.newPage();

    try {
        // executing code
    } catch (err) {
        await context.close();
        throw err;

    await context.close();
    await browser.close();

Setting up local environment variables with .env

Playwright’s preferred method for handling variables is to use environment variables, so being able to locally define variables in your development container is very helpful.

Create .devcontainer/.env.example and fill it with desired keys:


Copy this file as .devcontainer/.env and fill in the desired values:


Create methods getEnvVars and verifyEnvVars for convenience in your script:

function getEnvVars() {
  const envVars = {
    NAME: process.env.NAME,
    PHONE: process.env.PHONE,
  return envVars;

function verifyEnvVars(env_vars) {
  for (const property in env_vars) {
    const value = env_vars[property];
    if (value === undefined || value === '') {
      console.error(`Environment variable ${property} not defined.`)

Add the following line to devcontainer.json:

// add environment variables from .env
"runArgs": ["--env-file", ".devcontainer/.env"]

Rebuild and verify usage:

const env = getEnvVars();

await page.fill('#txtGuestFirstName', env.FIRST_NAME);

Setting up Github Actions

This allows for running Playwright jobs automatically either on demand or on a schedule from anywhere. Example below assumes an application reading an email and password from environment variables.

name: Playwright Script

  - cron: '0 20 * * *'
      - main

  NODE_VERSION: '16.x'

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      EMAIL: ${{ secrets.EMAIL }}
      PASSWORD: ${{ secrets.PASSWORD }}
    - name: 'Checkout GitHub Action'
      uses: actions/checkout@v2
    - name: Setup Node ${{ env.NODE_VERSION }} environment
      uses: actions/setup-node@v1
        node-version: ${{ env.NODE_VERSION }}
    - name: Install dependencies
      run: npm i
    - name: Run Playwright script
      run: node main.ts

Upload Github Action video artifacts on failure

If a script in Github Actions fails, it can be useful having the video available to see what happened - adding the following to the bottom of the .yml file will upload the video file created to the job:

- uses: actions/upload-artifact@v3
  if: ${{ failure() }}
    path: video/*