What xpath can I use if the tag name in the code starts with li or span and they are child or parent. The trip id and the name locator didn't execute.

  • 3
    In order to get better answers, I would recommend to post a snippet of the HTML, the code you used (including xpath) and the stacktrace of the failure.
    – Pieter A
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 10:30
  • btw trip id may be dynamic (db id different every time) and name may not be unique (e.g. may apply to input as well as label) so u need better approach to get unique locator. It will exist. Commented May 19, 2018 at 12:43

2 Answers 2


Using xpath to locate an element works regardless of the parents of the element. It doesn't matter if the parent is an li or a span, as long as your identifier is unique. So if you are using a CSS ID it will work.
Now that CSS ID needs to be unique or if you are using elements and classes, their combined selection needs to be unique. This can be a challenge if multiple similar elements exist and/or similar elements exist at other elements within the DOM for the parent element. The answer is to learn how to identify elements for automation and to do that I recommend you read up a couple of books and blogs.

http://selenium-python.readthedocs.io/locating-elements.html is a great reference that is not only good for pythonists

https://sensequalityassurance.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/webdriver-commands-and-notes/ may also help

http://www.seleniumeasy.com/selenium-tutorials/css-selectors-tutorial-for-selenium-with-examples has some great examples

Two examples that may help:


Selecting child elements


This would select all child-element nodes named input which @type-attribute-values are equal to 'password'. The child:: axis prefix may be omitted, because it is the default behaviour, so this becomes



Selecting an immediate child vs any child under that element:

Immediate child ('/'): span/form

Any level deep child ('//') span//form

Many elements would work for both approaches. The // approach allows for the page to be rearranged and thus may be more flexible. The / approach may be helpful to more specificially identify an element when more than 1 exist in the tree below the parent element


Instead of using XPath, try the below code, it will be useful in dynamic variables also.

        String searchText = "your element's text";
        WebElement dropdown = driver(or your parent locator of ul).findElement(By.tagName("ul"));
        List<WebElement> options = dropdown.findElements(By.tagName("li"));
        for (WebElement option : options)
            if (option.getText().equals(searchText))
                option.click(); // click the desired option

  • An XPath query would usually take 1 line of code - even for much more complicated situations. This approach takes 11 lines, scales terribly to more complicated situations and is also probably slower (because it doesn't utilize internal hashing and needs to push all results through some IPC mechanism, including serialization+deserialization)
    – Algoman
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 15:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.