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Wraith — A responsive screenshot comparison tool
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Wraith is a screenshot comparison tool, created by developers at BBC News.
DocumentationSourceResponsive News Website

What is it?

Wraith uses a headless browser to create screenshots of webpages on different environments (or at different moments in time) and then creates a diff of the two images; the affected areas are highlighted in blue.

Photo of BBC News with a diff


For instructions on how to install, set up and use Wraith and all of its features, visit the Wraith documentation.

A brief overview of how Wraith works is provided below.

Wraith modes

There are several ways in which Wraith can be used:

  1. Comparison of 2 domains (wraith capture). There are also some specialist options within this mode:
    • Spidering 2 domains for changes (wraith capture when no paths property is provided in the configuration file)
    • Running several comparisons at once (wraith multi_capture)
  2. Comparing the same domain over time (wraith history, then wraith latest)

Whichever mode you decide to run Wraith in, the process it follows is generally the same:

  • takes screenshots of your webpages
  • runs a comparison task across them
  • outputs a diff PNG file comparing the two images, and a data.txt file which contains the percentage of pixels that have changed
  • packages all of this up into a gallery.html, ready for you to view
  • if any screenshot's diff is above the threshold you specified in your configuration file, the task exits with a system error code (useful for CI)
  • the failed screenshot will also be highlighted in the gallery


ImageMagick is required to compare the screenshots.

Wraith also requires at least one of these headless browsers:


If you want to add functionality to this project, pull requests are welcome.

  • Fork a branch based off BBC-News/wraith:master and do all of your changes within it.
  • Make commits of logical units and describe them properly.
  • Check for unnecessary whitespace with git diff --check before committing.
  • If possible, submit tests to your patch / new feature so it can be tested easily.
  • Assure nothing is broken by running all the tests (bundle exec rspec).
  • Please ensure that it complies with coding standards.
  • When writing the title of your Pull Request, if you have to pause to add an 'and' anywhere in the title - it should be two pull requests.

Please raise any issues with this project as a GitHub issue.


Wraith is available to everyone under the terms of the Apache 2.0 open source license. Take a look at Wraith's LICENSE file.



Anyone interested in integrating selenium capability with Wraith should check out Selenium-Wraith (by Andrew Tekle-Cadman of Future Visible), which was forked from BBC's Wraith on 16/04/14 and adds the following capabilities:

  1. Selenium integration, both running locally on a desktop or on a selenium grid
  2. Browser to browser screenshot comparison
  3. Page component-based comparison
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