A lot of people feel qualified to talk about test automation of web applications, probably because the principles are really easy: tests have “only” to do what a “normal” user would do. In the practice many of these persons don’t have real test automation experience and you shouldn’t trust their statement directly.
The problem is that it’s difficult to determine if a person has a real experience and therefore if the proposed solutions have proved their worth or not. Declarations from a person that hasn’t written tests receiving at least a few hundreds of responses from the web server are questionable. Exactly the same is valid for people talking from recording tools without to give any advice on what can be expected from the recorded scripts.
An other way to detect lack of experience is to look at the XPath expressions used. XPath support is indispensable in test automation of web application but depending how the xpath expressions are written, they may be far too “strong” and fail on the first unrelated change in the tested html page.
A few “bad” XPath examples
Here are a few examples of “bad” xpath available in blogs, conference slides or even tool documentation: