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Unlocking the Potential of Brave and Playwright for Browser Automation: An In-Depth Practical Guide

Hey there! If you‘re looking to learn how to harness the power of Brave and Playwright for browser automation, you‘ve come to the right place. Automating repetitive tasks in the browser can save you tons of time and effort. But to do it right, you need the right tools. This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to start scripting powerful automation with Brave and Playwright today.

Why Browser Automation Matters

Before we dive into the how-to, let‘s briefly go over why browser automation is so valuable:

  • Automates repetitive and time-consuming manual tasks
  • Allows scaling data processing and testing to thousands of browser instances
  • Enables continuous automation without human intervention
  • Saves money and resources by reducing manual labor
  • Mitigates risks associated with human errors

According to Statista, the browser automation market is growing at a CAGR of 15%, demonstrating the immense demand for automation capabilities.

Browser automation unlocks new possibilities like:

  • Data extraction and web scraping at massive scales
  • Automated form filling and transaction processing
  • Self-healing tests that run 24/7
  • Automated security audits and penetration testing
  • Machine learning data labeling workflows

But to tap the full potential of browser automation, you need the right browser and automation driver. That‘s where Brave and Playwright come in…

Why Brave and Playwright?

Brave is an open-source privacy-focused browser that blocks intrusive ads and trackers by default. This makes it ideal for automation tasks where you want to minimize fingerprints and protect your privacy.

According to a 2021 study, Brave blocked an average of 42% more trackers than Chrome and 36% more than Firefox. With fingerprint randomization and TOR support, Brave is purpose-built for privacy-preserving automation.

Playwright is a Node.js library for controlling Chromium, Firefox and WebKit browsers that has quickly become a leading tool for automation. Here‘s why Playwright is so popular:

  • Supports headless and headful execution
  • Automatic synchronization and waiting for elements
  • Fast and reliable selectors like getByText()
  • Easy mobile device emulation
  • Built-in tracing and screenshots

According to the [State of Testing Report](https://www. Functionize, Playwright saw massive 317% growth in usage from 2020 to 2021. Together, Brave and Playwright form a compelling privacy-centric automation stack.

Installing Playwright

Playwright relies on Node.js, so the first step is ensuring you have the latest LTS version installed. You can download Node.js here.

Once Node is installed, we can create a new project directory:

mkdir brave-playwright-automation
cd brave-playwright-automation

Next, we‘ll initialize npm which manages our project dependencies:

npm init -y

The -y flag accepts default options.

Now we can install Playwright with:

npm install playwright

This will install Playwright along with the Chromium, Firefox and WebKit browser drivers used to execute scripts.

According to the npm trends site, Playwright downloads have surpassed established tools like Puppeteer and Selenium, demonstrating its growing popularity.

For better ergonomics, I also recommend configuring the project to use ES modules:

// package.json

  "type": "module" 

This allows the use of top-level await and import statements to simplify your automation code.

And that‘s it for setup – we‘re now ready to start scripting with Playwright!

Launching the Brave Browser

To launch Brave specifically with Playwright, we need to specify the executable path as an option.

Here is where you can find the Brave executable on each operating system:

  • Linux: /usr/bin/brave-browser
  • Windows: C:\Program Files\BraveSoftware\Brave-Browser\Application\brave.exe
  • macOS: /Applications/Brave Browser

And here is an example launching headed Brave on Linux:

// launch-brave.js

import playwright from ‘playwright‘;

const browser = await playwright.chromium.launch({
  executablePath: ‘/usr/bin/brave-browser‘,
  headless: false, 

We use playwright.chromium.launch() because Brave is built on top of the open-source Chromium project.

To launch headless Brave, simply set headless: true.

With just a few lines of code, we now have full control over an automated Brave browser instance!

Scripting Basic Browser Automation

Now for the fun part – let‘s start scripting some actual automation tasks!

To demonstrate, we‘ll walk through automating a common scenario: filling out and submitting a web form.

Automating form submission

Let‘s say we want to repeatedly fill out and submit the registration form on

We‘ll start by creating a new script called automate-form.js:

// automate-form.js

import playwright from ‘playwright‘;

// Launch Brave browser
const browser = await playwright.chromium.launch({
  executablePath: ‘/usr/bin/brave-browser‘, 

// Create new browser page
const page = await browser.newPage();

// Navigate page to form URL
await page.goto(‘‘);

// Locate and fill form elements
// Submit form
// Close browser

First we launch Brave and open a new tab. Next we direct the tab to our form‘s URL using page.goto().

Now we need to locate the form fields using Playwright‘s built-in selectors and fill them with data:

// Get form elements
const nameField = await page.getByLabel(‘Name:‘);
const emailField = await page.getByLabel(‘Email:‘);
const countryDropdown = await page.getByLabel(‘Country:‘);

// Enter fake data
await nameField.fill(‘John Smith‘); 
await emailField.fill(‘[email protected]‘);
await countryDropdown.selectOption(‘United States‘);

That takes care of inputting fake data into the fields. Finally, we can locate and click the Submit button:

// Submit form 
const submitButton = await page.getByRole(‘button‘, { name: ‘Submit‘ });

And we‘ve now fully automated filling out and submitting a web form with just a few lines of Playwright code!

This pattern can be adapted to automate all kinds of browser interactions like:

  • Logging in to websites
  • Entering data for web scraping
  • Purchasing products
  • Interacting with browser-based apps

The possibilities are endless. Playwright handles synchronizing all the steps and waiting for the browser.

Deploying Browser Automation to the Cloud

Being able to script automation is useful, but we also need to be able to deploy and run scripts at scale.

Apify provides a reliable cloud platform optimized for running browser-based automation, data extraction and more.

Let‘s go through deploying our Brave + Playwright script to Apify:

Step 1: Install the Apify CLI

Apify provides a CLI tool to simplify managing actors. We can install it globally with:

npm install -g apify-cli

Once installed, we can use commands like apify login and apify push to deploy automation scripts.

Step 2: Create a local Apify project

Next, we‘ll generate a boilerplate Apify project using:

apify create my-brave-automation

This will create a new directory my-brave-automation containing the files and structure for an Apify actor.

According to Apify, their actor architecture enables encapsulating logic into discrete units. This makes it easy to run automation workflows on their scalable infrastructure.

Step 3: Migrate script into project

Now we can migrate our automation script into the main.js file of our Apify project:

// my-brave-automation/src/main.js 

import { Actor } from ‘apify‘;
import playwright from ‘playwright‘;

// Launch actor
await Actor.init();

// Automation script...

// Close actor
await Actor.exit();

Wrapping the script in Actor methods provides access to Apify platform services.

Step 4: Configure Dockerfile

Inside .actor/Dockerfile we‘ll add steps to install the Brave browser:

# Install Brave 
RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y curl
RUN curl -fsSLo /usr/share/keyrings/brave-browser-archive-keyring.gpg
RUN echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/brave-browser-archive-keyring.gpg arch=amd64] stable main"| tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/brave-browser-release.list
RUN apt-get update && apt-get install -y brave-browser

This ensures Brave is installed when the actor is launched on Apify infrastructure.

Step 5: Push to the Apify cloud

Finally, we can deploy to Apify using:

apify push

And our Brave automation will be running in the cloud! Apify provides the infrastructure to scale up browser automation.

Advanced Playwright Automation Capabilities

While Brave + Playwright covers many basic browser automation scenarios, Playwright also provides advanced capabilities to handle complex use cases.

Let‘s explore some key automation features:

Dynamic Selectors

Playwright selectors like getByLabel() are handy, but sometimes we want reusable, dynamic locators. With Playwright, we can create custom selectors like:

// Dynamic selectors
const { loginForm } = page.locator(‘.auth-form‘, {
  username: page.locator(‘#login-username‘),
  password: page.locator(‘#login-password‘) 

// Usage
await loginForm.username.fill(‘myuser‘) 

This keeps selectors modular and maintainable.

Mobile and Device Emulation

Playwright makes it easy to emulate mobile devices and other environments with just a few options:

// Emulate iPhone
const context = await browser.newContext({
  viewport: { width: 400, height: 800},
  userAgent: iPhone User Agent‘ 

// Use context for mobile testing
const page = await context.newPage() 

According to StatCounter, over 52% of web traffic now comes from mobiles. Playwright ensures your automation works across devices.

Automatic Waiting and Synchronization

Playwright automatically waits for elements to appear and pages to load before interacting with them. No more flaky timeouts!

Browser Tracing and Screenshots

Playwright can capture detailed traces, screenshots, videos and console logs to simplify debugging automation scripts.

For example, to record a trace and screenshot on failure:

const browser = await playwright.chromium.launch() 

const traceDir = ‘traces‘

const context = await browser.newContext({
  trace: ‘retain-on-failure‘,
  screenshot: ‘on‘,

// Run script...

await context.close()

Reviewing traces makes understanding script execution trivial.

Stealth Mode

Playwright can mimic real user actions and configurations to appear more human. This stealth mode helps avoid bot detection.

Configuring stealth mode:

const context = await browser.newContext({
  locale: ‘en-US‘, // Set English locale
  geolocation: { longitude: 78.4, latitude: 17.6 }, // Fake GPS coordinates
  permissions: [‘geolocation‘] // Grant geo permission

Stealth mode makes automation infrastructure invisible to targets.

Web Security Testing

Playwright facilitates automating common security tests like cross-site request forgery (CSRF), cross-origin resource sharing (CORS), mixed content and more.

For example, validating CORS configs:

// Start HTTP server
const server = await createTestServer(); 

// Test CORS headers
const browser = await playwright.chromium.launch();
const page = await browser.newPage();
await page.goto(server.PREFIX);

// Cleanup 
await browser.close();
await server.stop();

Automating security tests accelerates AppSec pipelines.

These examples demonstrate Playwright‘s impressive capabilities for advanced automation tasks.

Let‘s Start Automating!

And that wraps up our deep dive on browser automation with Brave and Playwright! Here‘s a quick recap of what we covered:

  • Why browser automation is critical for scaling digital workflows
  • How Brave provides privacy-protecting automation capabilities
  • Installing the Playwright library for controlling browsers like Brave
  • Scripting common automation tasks like form submission
  • Deploying scripts to Apify for serverless execution at scale
  • Leveraging Playwright‘s many built-in automation superpowers

After reading this guide, you should have the fundamental knowledge to start scripting automation with Brave and Playwright.

The possibilities are endless – automated security tests, transaction processing, data extraction, self-healing scripts and far more.

If you found this guide helpful, feel free to share it with anyone else looking to step up their automation game with Brave and Playwright! I‘m always happy to help others level up their skills.

Now go unlock the potential of browser automation for your own projects! I‘m excited to see what you build.

Happy (automated) browsing!

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