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#The axe nightmare Build Status

The aXe Nightmare (sorry, I couldn't pass that name up) runs the the aXe-core accessibility checker against a webpage using nightmare.js headless browser (a Chromium based alternative to a phantomjs).

This project is just a proof of concept to see how well nightmare.js actually works with aXe on headless servers. I made it to specifically address performance issuses cause by the webkit based phantomjs. For example, webkit is missing the elementsFromPoint() function which provides a huge performance boost in aXe. I was seeing pages that were taking >10min to scan in webkit now being scanned in <10seconds in Chromium.

##Why nightmare.js instead of phantomjs

In my eperience:

  • phantomjs is based on webkit which lags behind other browsers by a year or two
  • huge benefit in terms of performance boost (see above)
  • easy to debug as you can set a flag in nightmare.js to see the browser window while developing, while phantomjs does not have that option
  • nightmare.js has a better api (in my personal opinion)

Potential things to investigate

  • How performant is nightmare.js compared to phantomjs
  • How stable is nightmare.js compared to phantomjs


./node_modules/xvfb-maybe/src/xvfb-maybe.js node the-axe-nightmare.js ""

Installing (this is the hard part)

Installing this project can be simple or pretty difficult. I've only tried on two operating systems so far (mac and centos).

install on mac

(heh, this 'just works')

install on centos server

This is where it gets crazy. nightmare.js works on top of electron, which requires an Xvfb display. xvfb-maybe.js spins up a display if it is required for the process to work.

To find out what system libraries need to be installed for electron to work, run node_modules/electron-prebuilt/dist/electron. This command should output errors like the following until all system libraries are installed.

node_modules/electron-prebuilt/dist/electron: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Required system libraries and commands to install on centos

  • sudo yum install xorg-x11-server-Xvfb
  • sudo yum install gtk2
  • sudo yum install libXtst
  • sudo yum install libXScrnSaver
  • sudo yum install GConf2
  • sudo yum install alsa-lib
  • sudo yum install xorg-x11-fonts
  • I didn’t see a specific error which indicated that this package needed to be installed. I ended up diving into this issue to find the fix.

install on travisci

This repo will be integrated with travis ci to prove that it can work in that enviroment

#Notes This is a helpful command for debugging

DEBUG=nightmare ./node_modules/xvfb-maybe/src/xvfb-maybe.js node the-axe-nightmare.js "url"
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