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Selenium is a leading test automation framework that enables teams to build comprehensive web tests that navigate through a wide range of web elements. Selenium is free, open source, and allows testing teams to test applications across browsers and platforms. However, implementing a framework with Selenium requires locating a web element. In fact, choosing the right web element locator is a critical part of an effective test automation strategy.
XPath is one such tool that provides the option to dynamically search a web element. This blog will explore different ways to use XPath in Selenium, a popular path for locating and selecting web elements, as part of your automated testing efforts.
Read along or jump ahead to whichever section interests you most:
Related Reading: Explore codeless automation testing with Selenium. >>
XPath in Selenium is a way to navigate the structure of a webpage’s HTML, as well as a document's XML structure, to find elements that are not found by locators such as ID, class, or name.
XPath is a syntax for finding elements on web pages, and XPath in Selenium can be used on both HTML and XML documents. There are other, more straightforward Selenium locators available that search for elements using tags or CSS class names. Yet they may not be sufficient to select all DOM elements of an HTML document.
XPath in Selenium at a glance:
By using XPath, Selenium users can search for a page element in a more dynamic way. This capability gives testers the flexibility to work with locators so they are more advantageous.
XPath in Selenium is just one of many things you need to know about the platform. Explore the following resources to enhance your Selenium skillset.
XPath is defined as XML path. It is a syntax or language for finding any element on the web page using the XML path expression. XPath is used to find the location of any element on a webpage using HTML DOM structure.
In Selenium automation, if the elements are not found by the general locators like ID, class, name, etc., then XPath is used to find an element on the web page.
In this tutorial, you will learn about XPath in Selenium and different XPath expressions to find complex or dynamic elements whose attributes change dynamically on a refresh of any operations.
The basic format of XPath is explained below.
XPath contains the path of the element situated on the web page. The standard syntax for creating XPath is as follows:
To find the element on web pages accurately, there are a number of different types of locators. Here are a few XPath locator examples, such as ID, name, link text, and CSS path:
Find different elements on a web page.
To find the element by the ID of the element.
To find the element by the class name of the element.
To find the element by name of the element.
To find the element by the text of the link.
XPath is required for finding the dynamic element and traversing between various elements of the web page.
CSS path also locates elements having no name, class, or ID.
There are two types of XPath:
Let us explore both XPath types in more detail.
Absolute XPath is the direct way to find the element. But the disadvantage of the absolute XPath is that if there are any changes made in the path of the element then that XPath fails.
The key characteristic of XPath is that it begins with the single forward slash(/), which means you can select the element from the root node.Below is an example of an absolute XPath expression of the element shown in the below screen.
Absolute XPath: /html/body/div/div/div/header/div/div/a/img
As we have learned in this blog, XPath in Selenium is an ideal option for testing teams looks for a dynamic solution that allows testing teams to easily and efficiently locate a web element. Choosing the right web element locator is indeed a crucial component of any effective test automation strategy. XPath in Selenium is a popular path for locating and selecting web elements for good reason.
In this blog we covered many aspects of testing using XPath in Selenium, including a rundown of what XPath in Selenium is and how to go about utilizing this dynamic tool. The examples provided should help kickstart your testing with XPath in Selenium.
XPath in Selenium is a foundational building block for creating a Selenium automation framework. When it comes to XPath in Selenium, there are numerous ways to write using XPath, but choosing the right method will depend on your unique test cases as well as your overall framework.
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Senior Automation Solutions Engineer, Perfecto by Perforce
Shadab has over six years of experience in pre-sales (SMB and enterprise markets) and over 10 years of industry experience in automated testing. He is passionate about fostering, understanding, and achieving product value. He helps clients identify and overcome business challenges through the adoption of scalable and secure technical software solutions.