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Running Serverless Puppeteer with Workers and Durable Objects

Running Serverless Puppeteer with Workers and Durable Objects

Running Serverless Puppeteer with Workers and Durable Objects

Last year, we announced the Browser Rendering API – letting users running Puppeteer, a browser automation library, directly in Workers. Puppeteer is one of the most popular libraries used to interact with a headless browser instance to accomplish tasks like taking screenshots, generating PDFs, crawling web pages, and testing web applications. We’ve heard from developers that configuring and maintaining their own serverless browser automation systems can be quite painful.

The Workers Browser Rendering API solves this. It makes the Puppeteer library available directly in your Worker, connected to a real web browser, without the need to configure and manage infrastructure or keep browser sessions warm yourself. You can use @cloudflare/puppeteer to run the full Puppeteer API directly on Workers!

We’ve seen so much interest from the developer community since launching last year. While the Browser Rendering API is still in beta (sign up to our waitlist to get access), we wanted to share a way to get more out of our current limits by using the Browser Rendering API with Durable Objects. We’ll also be sharing pricing for the Rendering API, so you can build knowing exactly what you’ll pay for.

Building a responsive web design testing tool with the Browser Rendering API

As a designer or frontend developer, you want to make sure that content is well-designed for visitors browsing on different screen sizes. With the number of possible devices that users are browsing on are growing, it becomes difficult to test all the possibilities manually. While there are many testing tools on the market, we want to show how easy it is to create your own Chromium based tool with the Workers Browser Rendering API and Durable Objects.

Running Serverless Puppeteer with Workers and Durable Objects

We’ll be using the Worker to handle any incoming requests, pass them to the Durable Object to take screenshots and store them in an R2 bucket. The Durable Object is used to create a browser session that’s persistent. By using Durable Object Alarms we can keep browsers open for longer and reuse browser sessions across requests.

Let’s dive into how we can build this application:

  1. Create a Worker with a Durable Object, Browser Rendering API binding and R2 bucket. This is the resulting wrangler.toml:
name = "rendering-api-demo"
main = "src/index.js"
compatibility_date = "2023-09-04"
compatibility_flags = [ "nodejs_compat"]
account_id = "c05e6a39aa4ccdd53ad17032f8a4dc10"


# Browser Rendering API binding
browser = { binding = "MYBROWSER" }

# Bind an R2 Bucket
[[r2_buckets]]
binding = "BUCKET"
bucket_name = "screenshots"

# Binding to a Durable Object
[[durable_objects.bindings]]
name = "BROWSER"
class_name = "Browser"

[[migrations]]
tag = "v1" # Should be unique for each entry
new_classes = ["Browser"] # Array of new classes

2. Define the Worker

This Worker simply passes the request onto the Durable Object.

export default {
	async fetch(request, env) {

		let id = env.BROWSER.idFromName("browser");
		let obj = env.BROWSER.get(id);
	  
		// Send a request to the Durable Object, then await its response.
		let resp = await obj.fetch(request.url);
		let count = await resp.text();
	  
		return new Response("success");
	}
};

3. Define the Durable Object class

const KEEP_BROWSER_ALIVE_IN_SECONDS = 60;

export class Browser {
	constructor(state, env) {
		this.state = state;
		this.env = env;
		this.keptAliveInSeconds = 0;
		this.storage = this.state.storage;
	}
  
	async fetch(request) {
		// screen resolutions to test out
		const width = [1920, 1366, 1536, 360, 414]
		const height = [1080, 768, 864, 640, 896]

		// use the current date and time to create a folder structure for R2
		const nowDate = new Date()
		var coeff = 1000 * 60 * 5
		var roundedDate = (new Date(Math.round(nowDate.getTime() / coeff) * coeff)).toString();
		var folder = roundedDate.split(" GMT")[0]

		//if there's a browser session open, re-use it
		if (!this.browser) {
			console.log(`Browser DO: Starting new instance`);
			try {
			  this.browser = await puppeteer.launch(this.env.MYBROWSER);
			} catch (e) {
			  console.log(`Browser DO: Could not start browser instance. Error: ${e}`);
			}
		  }
		
		// Reset keptAlive after each call to the DO
		this.keptAliveInSeconds = 0;
		
		const page = await this.browser.newPage();

		// take screenshots of each screen size 
		for (let i = 0; i < width.length; i++) {
			await page.setViewport({ width: width[i], height: height[i] });
			await page.goto("https://workers.cloudflare.com/");
			const fileName = "screenshot_" + width[i] + "x" + height[i]
			const sc = await page.screenshot({
				path: fileName + ".jpg"
			}
			);

			this.env.BUCKET.put(folder + "/"+ fileName + ".jpg", sc);
		  }
		
		// Reset keptAlive after performing tasks to the DO.
		this.keptAliveInSeconds = 0;

		// set the first alarm to keep DO alive
		let currentAlarm = await this.storage.getAlarm();
		if (currentAlarm == null) {
		console.log(`Browser DO: setting alarm`);
		const TEN_SECONDS = 10 * 1000;
		this.storage.setAlarm(Date.now() + TEN_SECONDS);
		}
		
		await this.browser.close();
		return new Response("success");
	}

	async alarm() {
		this.keptAliveInSeconds += 10;
	
		// Extend browser DO life
		if (this.keptAliveInSeconds < KEEP_BROWSER_ALIVE_IN_SECONDS) {
		  console.log(`Browser DO: has been kept alive for ${this.keptAliveInSeconds} seconds. Extending lifespan.`);
		  this.storage.setAlarm(Date.now() + 10 * 1000);
		} else console.log(`Browser DO: cxceeded life of ${KEEP_BROWSER_ALIVE_IN_SECONDS}. Browser DO will be shut down in 10 seconds.`);
	  }

  }

That’s it! With less than a hundred lines of code, you can fully customize a powerful tool to automate responsive web design testing. You can even incorporate it into your CI pipeline to automatically test different window sizes with each build and verify the result is as expected by using an automated library like pixelmatch.

How much will this cost?

We’ve spoken to many customers deploying a Puppeteer service on their own infrastructure, on public cloud containers or functions or using managed services. The common theme that we’ve heard is that these services are costly – costly to maintain and expensive to run.

While you won’t be billed for the Browser Rendering API yet, we want to be transparent with you about costs you start building. We know it’s important to understand the pricing structure so that you don’t get a surprise bill and so that you can design your application efficiently.

Running Serverless Puppeteer with Workers and Durable Objects

You pay based on two usage metrics:

  1. Number of sessions: A Browser Session is a new instance of a browser being launched
  2. Number of concurrent sessions: Concurrent Sessions is the number of browser instances open at once

Using Durable Objects to persist browser sessions improves performance by eliminating the time that it takes to spin up a new browser session. Since it re-uses sessions, it cuts down on the number of concurrent sessions needed. We highly encourage this model of session re-use if you expect to see consistent traffic for applications that you build on the Browser Rendering API.

If you have feedback about this pricing, we’re all ears. Feel free to reach out through Discord (channel name: browser-rendering-api-beta) and share your thoughts.

Get Started

Sign up to our waitlist to get access to the Workers Browser Rendering API. We’re so excited to see what you build! Share your creations with us on Twitter/X @CloudflareDev or on our Discord community.


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Author: Tanushree Sharma