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The way I interpret the slide show regarding paths is in regards to finding elements by path. Granted some later slides show performance metrics of several improvements including FindElementAttributes but that method is not limited to pathing as you could just as easily find attributes by category.
The SDK Guidelines PDF specifically mentions finding attributes by path. While both referenced documents mention finding something by path, they both are talking about different things.
With that said and to answer one of your questions: Both are correct.
Also since PI AF SDK 2.8, the newer AFSearch related classes are considered preferred particularly for finding elements. See this helpful blog post from Barry Shang. His post includes some performance metrics.
P.S. - As you seem to be working with PI AF SDK code, you should give strong consideration to joining the PI Developer's Club Forums.
Thanks for the quick answer Rick. I'm at the early stage of making an application where efficiency of reading historical data is a key factor. Appreciate the guidance to Barry Shang's blog post which will come in handy.
PS: I will look into joining the PI Developer's Club Forums :-)
So PI Developers Club is a free paid-subscription space within PISquare that is dedicated to code-related posts. I can't imagine a reason why anyone who is a developer would not want to register (again, its free a paid subscription to register but full of useful info). Several people post code samples on a variety of topics. As a fellow coder, I think you will be quite happy there.
See this FAQ.