Saturday 26 January 2019

Types of Xpath

There are 3 types of xpaths:

1. Absolute xpath
2. Relative xpath
3. Partial xpath

Let us go through each one of them one by one:

1.    Absolute xpath: It uses complete path from the root element to the desired element.The key characteristic of Absolute XPath is that it begins with the single forward slash(/,which means you can select the element from the root node and the root node for any web page is 'html' always.

Absolute xpaths are very fragile and are not used widely since in order to reach a particular node you have to traverse from the beginning till the required node. If at any further point in time extra web elements are added on the page then the absolute xpath that was created becomes invalid.

Below is an example of absolute xpath that can be directly copied by using firepath plugin in Mozilla web browser.

In the above snap we can see that the xpath for Google maps starts from the tag html-this is the root node, which indicates the beginning of the DOM structure. From html we navigate down to google maps node by node.

2.   Relative Xpath:

As we have seen in the above Google maps example, the absolute xpath that is generated is very lengthy and there are high chances that this xpath would vary with every release due to addition or removal of UI elements. To avoid frequent occurrence of 'No such element found' error we can use relative xpaths.
Relative xpath searches for matching element anywhere in the HTML DOM.

It starts with a double slash(//) which indicates to search an element anywhere on the HTML DOM.

Basic syntax for this is:


3.    Partial Xpath(Dynamic xpath):
     Dynamic/Custom xpaths are used to narrow down the matching nodes which helps to efficiently identify web elements.
      They are also used to create xpaths of webelemnts that change each time when a webpage loads.

      There are various ways in which we can create dynamic xpaths which will be explained one by one below:

1.Using contains() and starts with()

2.Using AND and OR conditions
3.Using multiple attributes
4.Using Siblings
5.Using Ancestors

1.Using contains() and starts-with():

These functions can be used in the below situations:

  •     When the HTML properties/attributes are not very clear for any webelement.
  •     When we want to create a list of elements having same partial value
  •     When the values of attributes are dynamic

Syntax for contains:
  •     By text-//tagname[contains(text(),'anytext')]
  •     //tagname[contains(.,'text')]
Consider below example,xpath for 'Create an account' text is created using contains function

In the above xpath '.' can be replaced by text() method.The only difference is
Eg. //span[contains(text(),'Create an account')]

By Attribute:


Let us look at the below example where we have created an xpath for title 'facebook' using partial attribute name.
If sometimes the html attributes are not very clear as in below example then we can use partial attribute name using contains().

Using starts-with()

  • Similar to contains(),starts-with() function can be used to create partial xpaths. In situations where the attribute values are not clear starts with can be used.For eg.
In the below example the value of attribute class is a bit since there is a space between the 2 words,hence we can use starts-with function here

2.Using AND and OR conditions
In OR expression, two conditions are used, whether 1st condition OR 2nd condition should be true. It is also applicable if any one condition is true or maybe both. Means any one condition should be true to find the element.
In the below XPath expression, it identifies the elements whose single or both conditions are true.
Xpath=//*[@type='submit' OR @name='btnReset']
Highlighting both elements as "LOGIN " element having attribute 'type' and "RESET" element having attribute 'name'.
Similarly AND condition can also be used that combines 2 attributes:
Below is an xpath to identify Experience button in naukri profile:

3.Using multiple attributes:

Multiple attributes can be used to create unique xpaths.

Consider below example where in you have same class name for mutliple webelements and you need an xpath for locating Today's Deal.

Below we have created xpath using only 'class' attribute which shows that there are 7 elements on the webpage that have class name as 'nav-a'

But in order to locate Today's Deal we can take help of another attribute here which is tabindex. Creating xpath using these two attributes will give us a unique xpath.Refer below snapshot

Using xpath axes:

      XPath axis defines a node-set relative to the current node. Names of axes include       “ancestor”, “descendant”, “parent” ,following,preceding


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