You can launch browsers! From NodeJS! Local ones! Remote ones! Browserstack ones!

npm install launchpad
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You can launch browsers! With NodeJS!

  • Local browsers for MacOS, Windows and Linux (like) operating systems
  • BrowserStack browsers using the BrowserStack API
  • Remote browsers using the launchpad server


The general API for any launcher (<type>) looks like this:

var launch = require('launchpad');
launch.<type>(configuration, function(error, launcher) {
  launcher.browsers // -> List of available browsers
  launcher(url, configuration, function(error, instance) {
    instance // -> A browser instance // -> unique instance id
    instance.stop(callback) // -> Stop the instance
    instance.status(callback) // -> Get status information about the instance

Local launchers

Local launchers look up all currently installed browsers and allow you to start new browser processes.

// Launch a local browser
launch.local(function(err, local) {
  local.browsers // -> List of all browsers found locally
  local.firefox('http://url', function(err, instance) {
    // An instance is an event emitter
    instance.on('stop', function() {
      console.log('Terminated local firefox');


BrowserStack is a great cross-browser testing tool and offers API access to any account that is on a monthly plan. Launchpad allows you to start BrowserStack workers through its API like this:

    username : 'user',
    password : 'password'
  function(err, browserstack) {
    browserstack.browsers // -> List of all browsers'http://url', function(err, instance) {
      // Shut the instance down after 5 seconds
      setTimeout(function() {
      }, 5000);

Behind the scenes we have the node-browserstack module do all the work (API calls) for us.

Remote systems

Launchpad also allows you to start browsers on other systems that are running the Launchpad server.

The launchpad server

The launchpad server is a simple implementation of the BrowserStack API (Version 1) which provides a RESTful interface to start and stop browsers. You can set up a Launchpad server like this:

  username : 'launcher',
  password : 'testing'
}).listen(8080, function () {

Launching remote servers

Because the Launchpad server is compatible with the BrowserStack API (Version 1), you could basically use any BrowserStack API client, connect to the server and start browsers.

The included remote launcher does exactly that by wrapping BrowserStack launcher and pointing it to the given host:

  host : 'ie7machine',
  username : 'launcher',
  password : 'testing'
}, function(err, api) {
  api.browsers // -> List of browsers found on ie7machine
  api('', {
    browser : 'safari',
    version : 'latest'
  }, function(err, instance) {
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