Re: Is NameMapping is really helpful and reliable ?
I think the answer is, "it depends." For very large, complex applications that change a lot, name mapping can add quite a bit of maintenance. For smaller applications whose interfaces and behaviors are relatively stable, it makes sense to use NameMapping. Oddly, I used to think just the opposite. Then we tried it with QTP. We needed one person full time, just to keep up with the object map. We abandoned QTP, not just for that reason, but that was one.
FYI, we don't use NameMapping or recording. We program the scripts, which dynamically identify objects on the fly based on captions, tab order, IDs or any other unique identifiable characteristics. It's slower, but otherwise quite reliable and eliminates some, but not all maintenance.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. It just depends on the AUT, how much you want to cover, how often and what your available resources are.