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nightmare

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Nightmare

Nightmare is a high-level browser automation library.

The goal is to expose just a few simple methods, and have an API that feels synchronous for each block of scripting, rather than deeply nested callbacks. It's designed for automating tasks across sites that don't have APIs.

Under the covers it uses Electron, which is similar to PhantomJS but roughly 2 times faster and more modern.

Daydream is a complementary chrome extension built by @stevenmiller888 that generates Nightmare scripts for you while you browse.

Many thanks to @matthewmueller and @rosshinkley for their help on Nightmare.

Examples

Let's search on DuckDuckGo:

var Nightmare = require('nightmare');
var nightmare = Nightmare({ show: true });
 
nightmare
  .goto('https://duckduckgo.com')
  .type('#search_form_input_homepage', 'github nightmare')
  .click('#search_button_homepage')
  .wait('#zero_click_wrapper .c-info__title a')
  .evaluate(function () {
    return document.querySelector('#zero_click_wrapper .c-info__title a').href;
  })
  .end()
  .then(function (result) {
    console.log(result);
  })
  .catch(function (error) {
    console.error('Search failed:', error);
  });

You can run this with:

npm install nightmare
node example.js

Or, let's run some mocha tests:

var Nightmare = require('nightmare');
var expect = require('chai').expect; // jshint ignore:line 
 
describe('test duckduckgo search results', function() {
  it('should find the nightmare github link first', function(done) {
    var nightmare = Nightmare()
    nightmare
      .goto('https://duckduckgo.com')
      .type('#search_form_input_homepage', 'github nightmare')
      .click('#search_button_homepage')
      .wait('#zero_click_wrapper .c-info__title a')
      .evaluate(function () {
        return document.querySelector('#zero_click_wrapper .c-info__title a').href
      })
      .end()
      .then(function(link) {
        expect(link).to.equal('https://github.com/segmentio/nightmare');
        done();
      })
  });
});

You can see examples of every function in the tests here.

Please note that the examples are using the mocha-generators package for Mocha, which enables the support for generators.

To install dependencies

npm install

To run the mocha tests

npm test

Node versions

Nightmare is intended to be run on NodeJS 4.x or higher.

API

Nightmare(options)

Create a new instance that can navigate around the web. The available options are documented here, along with the following nightmare-specific options.

Nightmare.version

Returns the version of Nightmare.

waitTimeout (default: 30s)

This will throw an exception if the .wait() didn't return true within the set timeframe.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  waitTimeout: 1000 // in ms 
});
gotoTimeout (default: 30s)

This will throw an exception if the .goto() didn't finish loading within the set timeframe. Note that, even though goto normally waits for all the resources on a page to load, a timeout exception is only raised if the DOM itself has not yet loaded.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  gotoTimeout: 1000 // in ms 
});
loadTimeout (default: infinite)

This will force Nightmare to move on if a page transition caused by an action (eg, .click()) didn't finish within the set timeframe. If loadTimeout is shorter than gotoTimeout, the exceptions thrown by gotoTimeout will be suppressed.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  loadTimeout: 1000 // in ms 
});
executionTimeout (default: 30s)

The maxiumum amount of time to wait for an .evaluate() statement to complete.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  executionTimeout: 1000 // in ms 
});
paths

The default system paths that Electron knows about. Here's a list of available paths: https://github.com/atom/electron/blob/master/docs/api/app.md#appgetpathname

You can overwrite them in Nightmare by doing the following:

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  paths: {
    userData: '/user/data'
  }
});
switches

The command line switches used by the Chrome browser that are also supported by Electron. Here's a list of supported Chrome command line switches: https://github.com/atom/electron/blob/master/docs/api/chrome-command-line-switches.md

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  switches: {
    'proxy-server': '1.2.3.4:5678',
    'ignore-certificate-errors': true
  }
});
electronPath

The path to prebuilt Electron binary. This is useful for testing on different version Electron. Note that Nightmare only supports the version this package depending on. Please use this option at your own risk.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  electronPath: require('electron')
});
dock (OS X)

A boolean to optionally show the Electron icon in the dock (defaults to false). This is useful for testing purposes.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  dock: true
});
openDevTools

Optionally show the DevTools in the Electron window using true, or use an object hash containing mode: 'detach' to show in a separate window. The hash gets passed to contents.openDevTools() to be handled. This is also useful for testing purposes. Note that this option is honored only if show is set to true.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  openDevTools: {
    mode: 'detach'
  },
  show: true
});
typeInterval (default: 100ms)

How long to wait between keystrokes when using .type().

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  typeInterval: 20
});
pollInterval (default: 250ms)

How long to wait between checks for the .wait() condition to be successful.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  pollInterval: 50 //in ms 
});
maxAuthRetries (default: 3)

Defines the number of times to retry an authentication when set up with .authenticate().

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  maxAuthRetries: 3
});

.engineVersions()

Gets the versions for Electron and Chromium.

.useragent(useragent)

Set the useragent used by electron.

.authentication(user, password)

Set the user and password for accessing a web page using basic authentication. Be sure to set it before calling .goto(url).

.end()

Complete any queue operations, disconnect and close the electron process. Note that if you're using promises, .then() must be called after .end() to run the .end() task. Also note that if using a .end() callback, the .end() call is equivalent to calling .end() followed by .then(fn). Consider:

nightmare
  .goto(someUrl)
  .end(() => "some value")
  //prints "some value" 
  .then((value) => console.log(value));

.halt(error, done)

Clears all queued operations, kills the electron process, and passes error message or 'Nightmare Halted' to an unresolved promise. Done will be called after the process has exited.

Interact with the Page

.goto(url[, headers])

Load the page at url. Optionally, a headers hash can be supplied to set headers on the goto request.

When a page load is successful, goto returns an object with metadata about the page load, including:

  • url: The URL that was loaded
  • code: The HTTP status code (e.g. 200, 404, 500)
  • method: The HTTP method used (e.g. "GET", "POST")
  • referrer: The page that the window was displaying prior to this load or an empty string if this is the first page load.
  • headers: An object representing the response headers for the request as in {header1-name: header1-value, header2-name: header2-value}

If the page load fails, the error will be an object with the following properties:

Note that any valid response from a server is considered “successful.” That means things like 404 “not found” errors are successful results for goto. Only things that would cause no page to appear in the browser window, such as no server responding at the given address, the server hanging up in the middle of a response, or invalid URLs, are errors.

You can also adjust how long goto will wait before timing out by setting the gotoTimeout option on the Nightmare constructor.

.back()

Go back to the previous page.

.forward()

Go forward to the next page.

.refresh()

Refresh the current page.

.click(selector)

Clicks the selector element once.

.mousedown(selector)

Mousedown the selector element once.

.mouseup(selector)

Mouseup the selector element once.

.mouseover(selector)

Mouseover the selector element once.

.type(selector[, text])

Enters the text provided into the selector element. Empty or falsey values provided for text will clear the selector's value.

.type() mimics a user typing in a textbox and will emit the proper keyboard events

Key presses can also be fired using Unicode values with .type(). For example, if you wanted to fire an enter key press, you would write .type('body', '\u000d').

If you don't need the keyboard events, consider using .insert() instead as it will be faster and more robust.

.insert(selector[, text])

Similar to .type(). .insert() enters the text provided into the selector element. Empty or falsey values provided for text will clear the selector's value.

.insert() is faster than .type() but does not trigger the keyboard events.

.check(selector)

checks the selector checkbox element.

.uncheck(selector)

unchecks the selector checkbox element.

.select(selector, option)

Changes the selector dropdown element to the option with attribute [value=option]

.scrollTo(top, left)

Scrolls the page to desired position. top and left are always relative to the top left corner of the document.

.viewport(width, height)

Set the viewport size.

.inject(type, file)

Inject a local file onto the current page. The file type must be either js or css.

.evaluate(fn[, arg1, arg2,...])

Invokes fn on the page with arg1, arg2,.... All the args are optional. On completion it returns the return value of fn. Useful for extracting information from the page. Here's an example:

var selector = 'h1';
nightmare
  .evaluate(function (selector) {
    // now we're executing inside the browser scope. 
    return document.querySelector(selector).innerText;
   }, selector) // <-- that's how you pass parameters from Node scope to browser scope 
  .then(function(text) {
    // ... 
  })

Error-first callbacks are supported as a part of evaluate. If the arguments passed are one fewer than the arguments expected for the evaluated function, the evaluation will be passed a callback as the last parameter to the function. For example:

var selector = 'h1';
nightmare
  .evaluate(function (selector, done) {
    // now we're executing inside the browser scope. 
    setTimeout(() => done(null, document.querySelector(selector).innerText), 2000);
   }, selector)
  .then(function(text) {
    // ... 
  })

Note that callbacks support only one value argument (eg function(err, value)). Ultimately, the callback will get wrapped in a native Promise and only be able to resolve a single value.

Promises are also supported as a part of evaluate. If the return value of the function has a then member, .evaluate() assumes it is waiting for a promise. For example:

var selector = 'h1';
nightmare
  .evaluate(function (selector) {
      return new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
        setTimeout(() => resolve(document.querySelector(selector).innerText), 2000);
   })}, selector)
  .then(function(text) {
    // ... 
  })

.wait(ms)

Wait for ms milliseconds e.g. .wait(5000)

.wait(selector)

Wait until the element selector is present e.g. .wait('#pay-button')

.wait(fn[, arg1, arg2,...])

Wait until the fn evaluated on the page with arg1, arg2,... returns true. All the args are optional. See .evaluate() for usage.

.header([header, value])

Add a header override for all HTTP requests. If header is undefined, the header overrides will be reset.

Extract from the Page

.exists(selector)

Returns whether the selector exists or not on the page.

.visible(selector)

Returns whether the selector is visible or not

.on(event, callback)

Capture page events with the callback. You have to call .on() before calling .goto(). Supported events are documented here.

Additional "page" events
.on('page', function(type="error", message, stack))

This event is triggered if any javascript exception is thrown on the page. But this event is not triggered if the injected javascript code (e.g. via .evaluate()) is throwing an exception.

"page" events

Listen for window.addEventListener('error'), alert(...), prompt(...) & confirm(...).

.on('page', function(type="error", message, stack))

Listen for top-level page errors. This will get triggered when an error is thrown on the page.

.on('page', function(type="alert", message))

Nightmare disables window.alert from popping up by default, but you can still listen for the contents of the alert dialog.

.on('page', function(type="prompt", message, response))

Nightmare disables window.prompt from popping up by default, but you can still listen for the message to come up. If you need to handle the confirmation differently, you'll need to use your own preload script.

.on('page', function(type="confirm", message, response))

Nightmare disables window.confirm from popping up by default, but you can still listen for the message to come up. If you need to handle the confirmation differently, you'll need to use your own preload script.

.on('console', function(type [, arguments, ...]))

type will be either log, warn or error and arguments are what gets passed from the console. This event is not triggered if the injected javascript code (e.g. via .evaluate()) is using console.log.

.once(event, callback)

Similar to .on(), but captures page events with the callback one time.

.removeListener(event, callback)

Removes a given listener callback for an event.

.screenshot([path][, clip])

Takes a screenshot of the current page. Useful for debugging. The output is always a png. Both arguments are optional. If path is provided, it saves the image to the disk. Otherwise it returns a Buffer of the image data. If clip is provided (as documented here), the image will be clipped to the rectangle.

.html(path, saveType)

Save the current page as html as files to disk at the given path. Save type options are here.

.pdf(path, options)

Saves a PDF to the specified path. Options are here.

.title()

Returns the title of the current page.

.url()

Returns the url of the current page.

.path()

Returns the path name of the current page.

Cookies

.cookies.get(name)

Get a cookie by it's name. The url will be the current url.

.cookies.get(query)

Query multiple cookies with the query object. If a query.name is set, it will return the first cookie it finds with that name, otherwise it will query for an array of cookies. If no query.url is set, it will use the current url. Here's an example:

// get all google cookies that are secure 
// and have the path `/query` 
nightmare
  .goto('http://google.com')
  .cookies.get({
    path: '/query',
    secure: true
  })
  .then(function(cookies) {
    // do something with the cookies 
  })

Available properties are documented here: https://github.com/atom/electron/blob/master/docs/api/session.md#sescookiesgetdetails-callback

.cookies.get()

Get all the cookies for the current url. If you'd like get all cookies for all urls, use: .get({ url: null }).

.cookies.set(name, value)

Set a cookie's name and value. Most basic form, the url will be the current url.

.cookies.set(cookie)

Set a cookie. If cookie.url is not set, it will set the cookie on the current url. Here's an example:

nightmare
  .goto('http://google.com')
  .cookies.set({
    name: 'token',
    value: 'some token',
    path: '/query',
    secure: true
  })
  // ... other actions ... 
  .then(function() {
    // ... 
  })

Available properties are documented here: https://github.com/atom/electron/blob/master/docs/api/session.md#sescookiessetdetails-callback

.cookies.set(cookies)

Set multiple cookies at once. cookies is an array of cookie objects. Take a look at the .cookies.set(cookie) documentation above for a better idea of what cookie should look like.

.cookies.clear([name])

Clear a cookie for the current domain. If name is not specified, all cookies for the current domain will be cleared.

nightmare
  .goto('http://google.com')
  .cookies.clear('SomeCookieName')
  // ... other actions ... 
  .then(function() {
    // ... 
  })

.cookies.clearAll()

Clears all cookies for all domains.

nightmare
  .goto('http://google.com')
  .cookies.clearAll()
  // ... other actions ... 
  .then(function() {
    //... 
  });

Proxies

Proxies are supported in Nightmare through switches.

If your proxy requires authentication you also need the authentication call.

The following example not only demonstrates how to use proxies, but you can run it to test if your proxy connection is working:

var Nightmare = require('nightmare');
 
var proxyNightmare = Nightmare({
  switches: {
    'proxy-server': 'my_proxy_server.example.com:8080' // set the proxy server here ... 
  },
  show: true
});
 
proxyNightmare
  .authentication('proxyUsername', 'proxyPassword') // ... and authenticate here before `goto` 
  .goto('http://www.ipchicken.com')
  .evaluate(function() {
    return document.querySelector('b').innerText.replace(/[^\d\.]/g, '');
  })
  .end()
  .then(function(ip) { // This will log the Proxy's IP 
    console.log('proxy IP:', ip);
  });
 
// The rest is just normal Nightmare to get your local IP 
var regularNightmare = Nightmare({ show: true });
 
regularNightmare
  .goto('http://www.ipchicken.com')
  .evaluate(function() {
    return document.querySelector('b').innerText.replace(/[^\d\.]/g, '');
  })
  .end()
  .then(function(ip) { // This will log the your local IP 
    console.log('local IP:', ip);
  });

Promises

By default, Nightmare uses default native ES6 promises. You can plug in your favorite ES6-style promises library like bluebird or q for convenience!

Here's an example:

var Nightmare = require('nightmare');
 
Nightmare.Promise = require('bluebird');
// OR: 
Nightmare.Promise = require('q').Promise;

You can also specify a custom Promise library per-instance with the Promise constructor option like so:

var Nightmare = require('nightmare');
 
var es6Nightmare = Nightmare();
var bluebirdNightmare = Nightmare({
    Promise: require('bluebird')
});
 
var es6Promise = es6Nightmare.goto('https://github.com/segmentio/nightmare').then();
var bluebirdPromise = bluebirdNightmare.goto('https://github.com/segmentio/nightmare').then();
 
es6Promise.isFulfilled() // throws: `TypeError: es6EndPromise.isFulfilled is not a function` 
bluebirdPromise.isFulfilled() // returns: `true | false` 

If you're using ES6 with Enhanced Object Literals then specifying your custom Promise library is even easier:

var Nightmare = require('nightmare');
var Promise = require('bluebird');
 
var nightmare = Nightmare({ Promise });

Extending Nightmare

Nightmare.action(name, [electronAction|electronNamespace], action|namespace)

You can add your own custom actions to the Nightmare prototype. Here's an example:

Nightmare.action('size', function (done) {
  this.evaluate_now(function() {
    var w = Math.max(document.documentElement.clientWidth, window.innerWidth || 0)
    var h = Math.max(document.documentElement.clientHeight, window.innerHeight || 0)
    return {
      height: h,
      width: w
    }
  }, done)
})
 
Nightmare()
  .goto('http://cnn.com')
  .size()
  .then(function(size) {
    //... do something with the size information 
  });

Remember, this is attached to the static class Nightmare, not the instance.

You'll notice we used an internal function evaluate_now. This function is different than nightmare.evaluate because it runs it immediately, whereas nightmare.evaluate is queued.

An easy way to remember: when in doubt, use evaluate. If you're creating custom actions, use evaluate_now. The technical reason is that since our action has already been queued and we're running it now, we shouldn't re-queue the evaluate function.

We can also create custom namespaces. We do this internally for nightmare.cookies.get and nightmare.cookies.set. These are useful if you have a bundle of actions you want to expose, but it will clutter up the main nightmare object. Here's an example of that:

Nightmare.action('style', {
  background: function (done) {
    this.evaluate_now(function () {
      return window.getComputedStyle(document.body, null).backgroundColor
    }, done)
  }
})
 
Nightmare()
  .goto('http://google.com')
  .style.background()
  .then(function(background) {
    // ... do something interesting with background   
  })

You can also add custom Electron actions. The additional Electron action or namespace actions take name, options, parent, win, renderer, and done. Note the Electron action comes first, mirroring how .evaluate() works. For example:

Nightmare.action('clearCache',
  function(name, options, parent, win, renderer, done) {
    parent.respondTo('clearCache', function(done) {
      win.webContents.session.clearCache(done);
    });
    done();
  },
  function(done) {
    this.child.call('clearCache', done);
  });
 
Nightmare()
  .clearCache()
  .goto('http://example.org')
  //... more actions ... 
  .then(function() {
    // ... 
  });

...would clear the browser’s cache before navigating to example.org.

.use(plugin)

nightmare.use is useful for reusing a set of tasks on an instance. Check out nightmare-swiftly for some examples.

Custom preload script

If you need to do something custom when you first load the window environment, you can specify a custom preload script. Here's how you do that:

const path = require('path');
 
var nightmare = Nightmare({
  webPreferences: {
    preload: path.resolve("custom-script.js")
    //alternative: preload: "absolute/path/to/custom-script.js" 
  }
})

The only requirement for that script is that you'll need the following prelude:

window.__nightmare = {};
__nightmare.ipc = require('electron').ipcRenderer;

To benefit of all of nightmare's feedback from the browser, you can instead copy the contents of nightmare's preload script.

Storage Persistence between nightmare instances

By default nightmare will create an in-memory partition for each instance. This means that any localStorage or cookies or any other form of persistent state will be destroyed when nightmare is ended. If you would like to persist state between instances you can use the webPreferences.partition api in electron.

var Nightmare = require('nightmare');
 
nightmare = Nightmare(); // non persistent paritition by default 
yield nightmare
  .evaluate(function () { 
    window.localStorage.setItem('testing', 'This will not be persisted');
  })
  .end();
 
nightmare = Nightmare({
  webPreferences: {
    partition: 'persist: testing'
  }
});
yield nightmare
  .evaluate(function () {
    window.localStorage.setItem('testing', 'This is persisted for other instances with the same paritition name');
  })
  .end();

If you specify a null paritition then it will use the electron default behavior (persistent) or any string that starts with 'persist:' will persist under that partition name, any other string will result in in-memory only storage.

Usage

Installation

Nightmare is a Node.js module, so you'll need to have Node.js installed. Then you just need to npm install the module:

$ npm install --save nightmare

Execution

Nightmare is a node module that can be used in a Node.js script or module. Here's a simple script to open a web page:

var Nightmare = require('nightmare'),
  nightmare = Nightmare();
 
nightmare.goto('http://cnn.com')
  .evaluate(function(){
    return document.title;
  })
  .end()
  .then(function(title){
    console.log(title);
  })

If you save this as cnn.js, you can run it on the command line like this:

npm install nightmare
node cnn.js

Debugging

There are three good ways to get more information about what's happening inside the headless browser:

  1. Use the DEBUG=* flag described below.
  2. Pass { show: true } to the nightmare constructor to have it create a visible, rendered window that you can watch what's happening.
  3. Listen for specific events.

To run the same file with debugging output, run it like this DEBUG=nightmare node cnn.js (on Windows use set DEBUG=nightmare & node cnn.js).

This will print out some additional information about what's going on:

  nightmare queueing action "goto" +0ms
  nightmare queueing action "evaluate" +4ms
  Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News - CNN.com
Debug Flags

All nightmare messages

DEBUG=nightmare*

Only actions

DEBUG=nightmare:actions*

Only logs

DEBUG=nightmare:log*

Tests

Automated tests for nightmare itself are run using Mocha and Chai, both of which will be installed via npm install. To run nightmare's tests, just run make test.

When the tests are done, you'll see something like this:

make test
  ․․․․․․․․․․․․․․․․․․
  18 passing (1m)

Note that if you are using xvfb, make test will automatically run the tests under an xvfb-run wrapper. If you are planning to run the tests headlessly without running xvfb first, set the HEADLESS environment variable to 0.

License (MIT)

WWWWWW||WWWWWW
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     /  |           \
    /o o|    MIT     \
    \___/||_||__||_|| *
         || ||  || ||
        _||_|| _||_||
       (__|__|(__|__|

Copyright (c) 2015 Segment.io, Inc. friends@segment.com

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the 'Software'), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

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