A simple replacement for phantomjs using PyQt
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A simple replacement for phantomjs using PyQt.

This code is based on a brilliant idea of Michael Franzl that he wrote up in his blog:


  • Generate a PDF screenshot of the web page after it is completely loaded.
  • Optionally execute a local JavaScript file specified by the argument javascript-file after the web page is completely loaded, and before the PDF is generated. (YMMV - it segfaults for me. )
  • Generate a HTML save file screenshot of the web page after it is completely loaded and the javascript has run.
  • console.log's will be printed to stdout.
  • Easily add new features by changing the source code of this script, without compiling C++ code. For more advanced applications, consider attaching PyQt objects/methods to WebKit's JavaScript space by using QWebFrame::addToJavaScriptWindowObject().

If you execute an external javascript-file, phantompy has no way of knowing when that script has finished doing its work. For this reason, the external script should execute at the end console.log("__PHANTOM_PY_DONE__"); when done. This will trigger the PDF generation or the file saving, after which phantompy will exit. If you do not want to run any javascipt file, this trigger is provided in the code by default.

It is important to remember that since you're just running WebKit, you can use everything that WebKit supports, including the usual JS client libraries, CSS, CSS @media types, etc.

Qt picks up proxies from the environment, so this will respect https_proxy or http_proxy if set.


  • Python3
  • PyQt5 (this should work with PySide2 and PyQt6 - let us know.)
  • qasnyc for the standalone program qasync_phantompy.py


A standalone program is a little tricky as PyQt PyQt5.QtWebEngineWidgets' QWebEnginePage uses callbacks at each step of the way:

  1. loading the page = Render.run
  2. running javascript in and on the page = Render._loadFinished
  3. saving the page = Render.toHtml and _html_callback
  4. printing the page = Render._print

The steps get chained by printing special messages to the Python renderer of the JavaScript console: Render. _onConsoleMessage

So it makes it hard if you want the standalone program to work without a GUI, or in combination with another Qt program that is responsible for the PyQt app.exec and the exiting of the program.

We've decided to use the best of the shims that merge the Python asyncio and Qt event loops: qasyc. This is seen as the successor to the sorta abandoned quamash. The code is based on a comment by Alex March who's excellent code helped me. As this is my first use of asyncio and qasync I may have introduced some errors and it may be improved on, but it works, and it not a monolithic Qt program, so it can be used as a library.


The standalone program is quash_phantompy.py


--js_input (optional) Path and name of a JavaScript file to execute on the HTML
--html_output <html-file> (optional)  Path a HTML output file to generate after JS is applied
--pdf_output <pdf-file> (optional)  Path and name of PDF file to generate after JS is applied
--log_level 10=debug 20=info 30=warn 40=error
html_or_url - required argument, a http(s) URL or a path to a local file.

Setting DEBUG=1 in the environment will give debugging messages on stderr.


When I think of all the trouble people went to compiling and maintaining the tonnes of C++ code that went into phantomjs, I am amazed that it can be replaced with a couple of hundred lines of Python!