Close this search box.

XPath Testers vs. Manual Coding: A Professional Evaluation for Element Identification Efficiency

Do you want to know what elements are easy to identify while helping you perform automation testing well? The use of this process is fundamental to ensuring that the test cases that are going to be validated, manipulated, or interact with the system are the correct ones. During the testing process, one can utilize an XPath tester  or write the code all over when identifying web elements. 

Neither of these options is very clear to many modern testers, though it is quite common for a tester to require clarification of these two options. Therefore, to contrast XPath testers with manual coding, we will be working on this article. During the comparison, we will analyze these approaches in terms of their usability. Hence, based on the above discussions, we will draw a conclusion about which one you need to choose depending on the set need.

Understanding XPath and its Role in Web Automation 

XPath stands for XML path language, and it is a simplified version of it. In simple terms, it can be described as a forceful language that is mainly used in the selection of nodes that are in an XML document. You can also use it in the web development process when working with HTML documents. XPath is a language through which testers can move from one node to another in any HTML or XML document.

During the process of web automation testing, XPath will be critical in pointing to the elements as they are implemented. 

To further understand the scope of XPath testing in the modern app development scenario, we have mentioned some of the critical components of this framework: 

  • Nodes are the key components in XPath programming since all the creation and execution of test cases involve nodes.
  • The testers have to employ axes to get moving in nodes and incorporate them in the course of testing.
  • Predicates are statements that testers will use to describe the selection of nodes in accordance with the requirements or preferences at the time of testing.
  • XPath also offers numerous built-in functions that operate differently based on the input they accept, including numbers, strings, and booleans. Therefore, the testers are required to integrate these functions based on the needs of the web automation situation.

XPath Testers

Moving on to XPath testers, these are special tools used largely for creating, validating, and debugging XPath expressions. With these tools, the testers should be able to capture and write the XPath queries with ease, and the results will be rendered right on the target XML or HTML document. 

To further develop our knowledge about the scope of XPath testers, we have mentioned a list of some of the most popular XPath testers that are presently available in the app market:

  • XPath Checker is a browser extension that enables testers to utilize XPath queries on the current page they are assessing.
  • XPath Helper is a set of components for Firefox that help in constructing and evaluating XPath expressions. This tool will be perfect for those who have just jumped into this segment of learning and building XPath expressions.
  • Chrome DevTools will provide the testers with an Elements panel. This panel will enable the testers to test the XPath expressions on the fly without requiring any special tool or extension.
  • Last but not least, the testers also get options to use different web-based tools available, including and These tools will offer several opportunities to check XPath expressions’ performance and work.

Advantages of X-Path Testers 

The testers should establish an important concept regarding the benefits of XPath testers in order to benefit from such test cases and inclusions.

  •  In regards to XPath testers, the testers will be able to get feedback as they test. This immediate result mechanism is beneficial as it enables the validation and correction of all the XPath expressions with relative speed.
  • It has a very friendly user interface; thus, it is easy for the users to slide through this interface to perform their tasks. For anyone who requires higher levels of technical experience to construct the XPath quetoscreh testers, they are considered to be extremely effective. When the testers are using rapid development and testing of XPath expressions, much of the initial setup time can be spared while preparing the test cases. It also helps to effectively test the application’s functionality and deliver the completed application to the end consumer.

Disadvantages of XPath Testers 

Just like nothing is perfect in this world, XPath testers also have a few demerits, which are as follows: These are important aspects that the testers should learn to avoid because of the testing process.

 In most of the implementation strategies, the app testers will come to know that XPath testers are restricted to simple kinds of testing. These restrictions may not allow for the testing of multifaceted scenarios that the apps may contain or dynamic content .

Many of the XPath expressions make use of a number of browser add-ons or web-based utilities for performing their primary operations. This reliance on external factors might only be preferable in some test contexts or situations.

When the app testers are using XPath testers, they will discover that this tool will not necessarily run with other frameworks. However, in order to reuse the tested XPaths, the testers are forced to go through several procedures that would allow them to integrate the tested XPaths with their current code.

Manual Coding of X-Path Expressions 

Manual coding means XPath expressions are written from scratch, in the test scripts, or anywhere in the code. In order to do this, the testers are required to be familiar with the structure of the document as well as the basic XPath path expressions.

Advantages of Manual Coding 

Let us understand some of the significant upsides of implementing manual coding for verifying the performance of XPath expressions: 

  • In this way, the testers will have full freedom for generating tightly knit and heavily elaborate XPath expressions. Thus, they are able to set all the testing parameters. That is necessary based on the requirements of the specific app that is being developed or tested.
  • The testers can add the existing XPath syntax into the automation test scripts through manual coding. The integration enables the testers to focus on developing a test process that enhances the effectiveness of the testing process.
  • When dealing with elements or web pages containing more than one dynamic content area, the testers will find the practice of manual coding useful. It will offer stronger control over dynamic components and a very complicated method of dealing with fluctuating DOM structures.
  • Manual coding does not require the assistance of other programs or databases to work as a coding tool. Hence, you are able to minimize the number of points of failure while implementing the test.

Disadvantages of Manual Coding

Like any executive tester, it also has its own disadvantages in manual coding. We have mentioned some of the most significant ones below: 

  • Since manual coding requires the testers to write every individual test case, there is a massive learning curve. This is because the testers have to develop an in-depth knowledge of XPath syntax and all the document structures that are related to it. 
  • With manual coding, the testers will have to undergo a time-consuming process as they have to develop and debug the XPath expressions manually. This process can also massively slow down the application’s final delivery, hampering the brand’s reputation. 
  • Since manual coding relies on the involvement of human developers and testers, errors are highly likely, especially when working on complex expressions. So, these errors can also arise due to the absence of immediate feedback the testers provide.

Comparative Evaluation of XPath Testers and Manual Coding

 Let us now compare XPath testers and manual coding based on some of the most critical factors that must influence your decision-making process:

  •  Accuracy and reliability

 To determine the accuracy of the tests, XPath testers will incorporate instant visual feedback into their tests. However, the testers are likely to overlook some minor discrepancies in the most complex cases or when dealing with dynamic content.

The testers can also combine the cloud platform, such as LambdaTest, with XPath testing to enhance the reporting of tests and the identification of errors. LambdaTest is a cloud-based automation testing solution that uses artificial intelligence to execute test cases on over 3000 browser-OS-device configurations.

Finally, after the XPath test execution process is completed, LambdaTest provides an extensive test report with lots of screenshots and videos that allow for easy navigation to the problematic elements and debugging.

While this coding is more prone to errors as compared to XPath testers, it provides more flexibility and accuracy in the identification of elements in a changeable and intricate environment.

  • Maintenance 

XPath testers do not require much updating since they are user friendly with an easy-to-use interface. However, this may only necessitate revalidation within the actual test scripts once the update is implemented.

However, when testers are coding manually, they can make direct updates within the code base, which may take less time for long-term initiatives. This becomes relevant when the testers are in the process of managing large test suits. Consequently, the instances of the automated test will also mirror the changes at the same incidence.

  • Learning Curve 

XPath can be used as the most suitable choice for a beginner or those testers who do not have much knowledge about XPath. This is because it has an easy-to-use interface and incorporates immediate feedback cycles.

Manual coding is particularly useful but requires the coder to have a good understanding of XPath. Furthermore, the testers should be able to comprehend the document structure in order to harness the full potential of manual coding. It can therefore become difficult, particularly if one is a beginner in testing.

The bottom line

Taking all the comparisons that have been made in this article, the decision of whether to use XPath testers or stick with manual coding of element identification will depend on the size of the project, the complexity of the web app that is being tested, and the qualifications of the testing team.

However, manual coding is the best option for experienced developers, especially when working on complex, large-scale projects that require the use of XPath.

As a result, the testers are able to make the best decisions with regards to the effectiveness and efficacy of web development and test automation.

Trending Posts

Weekly Post

Recommended Posts