How to Build Web Scrapers Quickly Using Playwright Codegen

Codegen is a command-line tool that comes bundled with Playwright. It assists in generating the test script code based on the user’s interactions with the web page. Codegen plays a vital role when it comes to web scraping with Playwright, as it is used to build browser-based web scrapers with ease.

You might already be familiar with optimizing Playwright web scrapers using code profiling tools. In this article, you will learn about the concept of Playwright Codegen and how a Wikipedia scraper and an Amazon scraper using Playwright Codegen can be built. Note that Node.js is used here as a JavaScript runtime environment.

Basics of Web Scraping With Playwright Codegen

Let’s dig a little deeper into the concept of web scraping with Playwright Codegen, taking a simple example.


$ playwright codegen


$ npx playwright codegen

As you can see, there are two windows open: the browser and the Playwright Inspector. You can use the browser window to interact with the website while the Playwright Inspector records all your interactions.

Alt+txt: web scraping with playwright Codegen- Image of the browser and Playwright Inspector windows opened.


Playwright Inspector

You must clearly understand the concept of the Playwright Inspector before you begin with web scraping using Playwright Codegen. A Playwright Inspector will record all the interactions performed on the browser and convert them into code in other programming languages.

Features of Playwright Inspector

Some of the prime features of the Playwright Inspector tool include:

 web scraping with playwright codegen- Image explaining the features of Playwright Inspector.


Record Button

In the top left-hand corner, you can see the Record button, which allows you to start or stop recording activities you perform on the browser.


You can see the Target selector in the top right-hand corner. It shows all the languages supported by the Playwright Inspector. All your recorded interactions will be converted into the selected language by choosing a different language.

Code Panel

The Code panel contains the code lines of the recorded interactions. An initial template will be present, which launches the browser and navigates to the specified website.


Explore allows you to get the CSS selector of any element on the page. Instead of writing custom selectors, you can use this feature to get the selectors quickly. The button will not be visible when you are recording.

Pros and Cons of Codegen

Codegen offers several advantages. But it does have its own drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons of using Codegen for web scraping with Playwright:

Pros of Codegen

Code Generation

Codegen generates most of the code for navigation and interactions. This allows you to get started quickly with your web scraping project. Even though most of the code is auto-generated, it needs to be fine-tuned for particular use cases.

Commented Code

When building scrapers using Playwright Codegen, you get to notice that automatic comments for each line of code are generated without any manual intervention. This is an outstanding feature of Codegen.

Code Conversion

The Target button can easily convert your code to multiple languages, such as JavaScript, Python, and TypeScript.

Initial Template

By default, a basic template will be provided. The template will have the code to start the browser and go to the targeted page.

Improved Test Readability

Codegen uses explicit element locators as well as descriptive function names to produce clean code. This way, the test scripts are more understandable and easier to review.

Cons of Codegen

Need Optimization

Sometimes when you create scrapers using Playwright Codegen, you will have to do some manual optimization. This is because for specific use cases the generated code may not serve the purpose.

Choosing Dynamic Selectors

Codegen may choose selectors that are not static across web pages. You need to modify it manually.

Lack of Customization

Manual modifications may also be required for the generated code for customization, like adding assertions, validating data, or dynamic test flows.

Maintenance Challenges

For an updated UI structure, the generated code may require updates. So it is essential to review and maintain the code regularly.

Creating Wikipedia Scraper Using Playwright Codegen

Let’s build a simple scraper for Wikipedia that searches for celebrity names and collects information about them. Create the Wikipedia scraper performing the following tasks:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter the name of the celebrity and click on the suggestion that comes first. This will lead you to the celebrity’s page.
  3. Save the entire page.

To start Codegen, run the code given below:

$ playwright codegen


Wikipedia scraper- Image of an initial template that launches the browser and navigates to Wikipedia.


You now have two windows open.

An initial template will be present in the code panel, which launches the browser and navigates to Wikipedia. Let’s search for “Tom Cruise”.

As you type the celebrity name, you can see the equivalent code being generated in the Playwright Inspector:

Wikipedia scraper- Image of tan equivalent code generated in the Playwright Inspector.


Currently, the code is in Python, and if you need to convert it to another programming language, you can click on the Target button and select the required language. Convert the same code to JavaScript.

Wikipedia scraper- Image of the code converted to JavaScript.


Copy the above Python code to a file,, and modify it as per your use case.

Add an additional function to write raw HTML data to a file:


def write_to_file(filename: str, data: str):
   # Saves raw html to name.html files.
   page_content = page.content()
   with open(filename, 'w') as f:


// Saves raw html to name.html files.
async function writeToFile(filename, data) {
 fs.writeFile(filename, data, (err) => {
   if (err) throw err;

Add a new variable at the beginning to store the celebrity names.

celebrity_names = ["Tom Cruise", "Johnny Depp", "Tom Holland", "Scarlett Johansson"]


let celebrityNames = [
   "Tom Cruise",
   "Johnny Depp",
   "Tom Holland",
   "Scarlett Johansson",

Add the logic to loop through celebrity names. Then, add the code to write the HTML content and close the page after use.

celebrity_names = ["Tom Cruise", "Johnny Depp", "Tom Holland", "Scarlett Johansson"]
# looping through all celebrities
for celebrity in celebrity_names:
    # Open new page
    page = context.new_page()

    # Go to

    # Click input[name="search"]'input[name="search"]')

    # Fill input[name="search"]
    page.fill('input[name="search"]', celebrity)

    # Click #typeahead-suggestions a >> :nth-match(div, 2)"#typeahead-suggestions a >> :nth-match(div, 2)")
    # file names should be like tom_cruise.html
    filename = "_".join(celebrity.lower().split()) + ".html"

    # write the html to a file
    write_to_file(filename, page.content())

    # close the page


// looping through all celebrities
for (const celebrity of celebrityNames) {
 // Open new page
 const page = await context.newPage();

 // Go to
 await page.goto("");

 // Click input[name="search"]

 // Fill input[name="search"]
 await page.fill('input[name="search"]', celebrity);

 // Click #typeahead-suggestions a >> :nth-match(div, 2)
 await"#typeahead-suggestions a >> :nth-match(div, 2)");

 // file names should be like tom_cruise.html
 let filename = celebrity.toLowerCase().split(" ").join("_") + ".html";

 // write the html to a file
 await writeToFile(filename, await page.content());

 await page.close();

Get the complete code of the Wikipedia Scraper:
Python Implementation
JavaScript Implementation

Run the scraper using the following command:


$ python3


$ node wikipedia_scraper.js

Amazon Scraper using Playwright Codegen

Let’s build an Amazon scraper using Playwright Codegen that collects the price of a MacBook Pro for a specific zip code in New York City. A sample web page is taken to illustrate this.

Let’s start building an Amazon scraper using Playwright Codegen with these simple steps:

  1. Go to the product link.
  2. Set the zip code (10013).
  3. Collect the current price and the date on which the price is collected.

The sample web page:

Start  Codegen

playwright codegen

Amazon Scraper Using Playwright Codegen- Image of the Amazon web page after starting Codegen.

Set the zip code in the browser.

The Playwright Inspector will generate the code for setting the zip code. Copy it to a file.

Amazon Scraper Using Playwright Codegen- Image of the Playwright Inspector generating the code for setting the zip code.


You can see that the function run does not have the code to click the button Done. This is because while recording the interactions,  Codegen failed to detect them. You have to add this step manually.

Amazon Scraper Using Playwright Codegen- Image of adding the code to click the button Done.


Use the Explore feature on Playwright Inspector to get the selector for the button and add the following lines after clicking the Apply button.


# wait for the zip code to change
# Click the Done button'button:has-text("Done")')
# reload the page


// wait for zipcode to change
await page.waitForSelector("#GLUXZipConfirmationValue");

// Click the Done button

// reload the page
await page.reload();

Add the following code to extract the price:


price = page.inner_text('#corePrice_feature_div .a-price .a-offscreen')


let price = await page.innerText(
  "#corePrice_feature_div .a-price .a-offscreen"

Note that the selectors may have slight differences depending on your region.

Get the complete code of the Amazon Scraper:

  1. Python Implementation
  2. JavaScript Implementation

Wrapping Up

Playwright Codegen can accelerate the initial creation of automation tests. It is a powerful asset as it offers language flexibility, enhances test maintenance, and improves test readability. This article has covered the basics of web scraping with Playwright Codegen and building a Wikipedia scraper and an Amazon scraper using it.

Even though Codegen is apt for small-scale web scraping purposes, enterprises require the services of a large-scale, fully managed web scraping service provider like ScrapeHero, who can handle their needs. Let’s connect for your price and product monitoring, location intelligence, real-time, and custom API needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use Playwright for web scraping?

Playwright is a powerful testing library that can be used for web scraping with Python, JavaScript/TypeScript, .NET, C# and Java. Web scraping with Playwright Codegen is a popular choice because of the developer-friendly APIs, excellent documentation, and automatic waiting features of Playwright.

What is Codegen in Playwright?

Playwright Codegen is a tool that enables users to generate code automatically by recording their interactions with a website. Scripts in programming languages like JavaScript, Python, or TypeScript can be created with Codegen.

Can the generated code using Codegen be customized?

Yes. Some generated scrapers using Playwright Codegen may need some modifications. According to your specific requirements, like adding loops, conditionals, or custom functions, you can modify the generated code.

Does Codegen support all browsers?

Codegen can support all the browsers that Playwright itself supports, such as Chromium, Firefox, and WebKit.

Are there any limitations to Playwright Codegen?

Codegen is a powerful tool and can be used for web scraping with Playwright. Even though Wikipedia Scraper and Amazon Scraper using Playwright Codegen can be built and used, they cannot be considered one-size-fits-all solutions. It doesn’t capture all the nuances of a web application and may require manual coding at times.

We can help with your data or automation needs

Turn the Internet into meaningful, structured and usable data

Please DO NOT contact us for any help with our Tutorials and Code using this form or by calling us, instead please add a comment to the bottom of the tutorial page for help

Posted in:   Featured, Tutorials, Web Scraping Tutorials


Comments are closed.

Turn the Internet into meaningful, structured and usable data   

ScrapeHero Logo

Can we help you get some data?