Testing the frontend of a TYPO3 project

Testing is an interesting topic in the web world; everyone you talk to seems to know how valuable it is, but finding concrete examples on the web is hard. We have started testing our TYPO3 websites with Playwright - an end-to-end testing framework that can simulate a lot of browsers on a lot of devices.

This blog post is going to run through our conventions for testing with TYPO3 and Playwright. To help with onboarding and consistency throughout all our projects, we created a meta-framework which sets some sensible defaults for us.

Although this post will be TYPO3-centric, it can be applied to other CMS'. How to configure the framework can be found in the documentation.

Why playwright?


Install the framework with NPM - we set the dev flag so it doesn't get installed for production.

npm i @liquidlight/playwright-framework -D --save

It is also helpful to add some helper scripts to your package.json file to make running and viewing tests easier:

  "scripts": {
    "test": "playwright test",
    "test:update": "playwright test --update-snapshots",
    "test:open": "playwright show-report",
    "test:codegen": "playwright codegen"

It's also worth adding the following to your .gitignore file so you don't end up committing the test results:


Lastly, create a playwright.config.ts file in the root of your project. If you're running a TYPO3 site that uses config/sites/[site]/config.yaml files for your site config, you can use the following as the initial config:

import { defineConfig } from '@playwright/test';
import typo3Config from '@liquidlight/playwright-framework/typo3';

const config = require('@liquidlight/playwright-framework')([
    typo3Config('[site]', './path/to/files')

module.exports = defineConfig(config);

From there, it matches any tests with the base URLs, so you don't have to specify the name. It also means you can specify an environment variable of PLAYWRIGHT_ENV to use Production/Staging or Dev URLs.

Add a test

We have a couple of conventions for our tests, but as long as you put them in the corresponding app/sites folder, it doesn't really matter where you put them!

  • If you are testing a whole front-end flow or bit of functionality, then put it in Resources/Private/Tests with a sensible name of name.test.ts
  • If you are testing a specific bit of JavaScript (like a carousel or modal), then place the test file next to the JavaScript partial with the same name (replacing .js with .test.ts)
  • If you are testing a function or utility, then place it next to the file called .spec.ts

We can then easily tell if a browser is going to be created (.test.js) compared to a pure JavaScript test (.spec.ts)

Test Example

We have a specific page-tree of tests/ in the CMS that non-admins cannot see or edit. This way, we can test against these pages, knowing we are using CMS-driven content, but we know it won't change by accident.

An example test might be like this:

* Opens Fancybox when a link is pointing to a content element with a "Dialog Content" frame class
test('"Dialog Content" opens in a Fancybox', async ({ page }) => {
  await page.goto('/tests/dialog/');

  // Open the fancybox
  await page.getByRole('link', { name: 'Link to Fancybox' }).click();

  // Do we see the content?
  awaitexpect(page.getByLabel('You can close this modal').getByRole('heading')).toContainText('This is a fancybox');

On our test pages, we have a link of "Link to Fancybox", which opens the modal. We can assert the modal loads when Playwright can find the text inside.

Accessibility Test Example

The playwright framework also includes accessibility testing which automatically attaches the reports to the Playwright output.

This is done using the AXE plugin and can be activated like so:

import { test } from '@playwright/test';
import { assertPageIsAccessible } from '@liquidlight/playwright-framework/tests';

 * Ensure our base page template is accessible
test('"Tests" page is accessible', async ({ page }, testInfo) => {
    await page.goto('/');

    await assertPageIsAccessible(page, testInfo);

Playwright Testing Tips

Some extra tips and tricks I've picked up along the way

Install an IDE extension

I use VSCode, and having the extension installed means VSCode picks up the tests in the "test" panel and allows me to pick devices and specific tests to run in the UI.

Use the codegen command

If you added the scripts block above, you can run npm run test:codegen. This opens up a special Chromium browser with a Playwright app that allows you to navigate to URLs, click items, assert if things are visible, or say the right text. From there, it generates all the test code for you to copy into a test file.

We tend to run this and then tweak the code as we see fit, but at least it gives us the initial test code to tweak rather than writing from scratch. Once you have a few tests generated, you tend to get an idea of what is needed.

Run limited tests when developing

When you are testing to see if a test works, keep your devices down to a minimum and only run the test you need (by either using the extension or passing in the test name); this helps speed up debugging (there is also test debugging available, although don't ask me how that works!).

Explore the ecosystem

There are lots of guides, integrations, and utilities out there with a little bit of searching.

Once you get into it, the little dopamine hit of writing a successful test that passes (or, even better, finds a bug that you can fix) is addictive. If you have any questions or want to talk more, get in touch and I'll see if I can help.

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Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a CTO and Lead Developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Mastodon.