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JavaScript DOM explained with examples

vineethsagar profile image vineethsagar ・3 min read

Table of Contents

What is DOM?
Why is DOM important?
DOM nodeTypes
Properties of DOM
Accessing/Modifying Elements

What is DOM?

When you open a website in your browser, the browser builds something call Document Object Module (referred to as DOM ).

DOM is a tree-like structure of an HTML page. All the tags in an HTML page are represented as nodes in the DOM tree. The browser uses this DOM to draw a page on the screen.

Definition: DOM is an object-oriented representation of a webpage, which can be modified with a scripting language such as JavaScript.


HTML code



DOM Tree Structure

DOM Tree Structure

Why is DOM important?

JavaScript and other scripting languages use this DOM to read and modify pages. Whenever there is a change on DOM it is immediately reflected on the page.DOM is very important for building interactive and dynamic webpages.

DOM nodeTypes

Nodes in the document are referred to as elements although not all nodes are elements. Each DOM node has a nodeType which contains a code that identifies the type of the node.

For example :
if you run document.nodeType in your browser console (ctrl+shift+j in chrome) on HTML page you get 9 as output. Which is the nodeType value of document.

more node type values can be found here

Properties of DOM

JavaScript provides you with links using which you can traverse through the tree. JS provides many properties to traverse the DOM. Some of them are explained with examples below.

Siblings: Using nextElementSibiling and previousElementSibiling we can access the previous and next siblings of the node respectively.

Code - siblings

Code - Siblings


siblings output

Children: Using properties lastElementChild, firstElementChild and children we can get the required child of the current node

Code - children

children code


child output

There are many other properties such as nodeValue, baseURI, etc which you can refer to here

(Note: Using nextSibling or lastChild will give text output because the whitespace between the lines of code is treated as a text element. So it's better to use nextElementSibiling or lastElementChild )

Accessing/Modifying Elements

Using JavaScript we can add, modify, or delete elements of the HTML and its attributes.

Accessing Elements: The element in the DOM can be accessed using the following methods

  1. getElementById(): returns an element with the given Id. Each element has a unique id so it only returns one element always.

  2. getElementsByTagName(): returns the total number of elements present with the given tag.

3.getElementsByClassName(): returns the total number of elements present with the given class name.

4.querySelector(): returns only the first element present with the given query name.

5.querySelectorAll(): returns the total number of elements present with the given query name.

In querySelector parameters should be passed as follows

tag - 'tag'
class - '.name'
id - '#id"

Code - elements

Elementss code


element output

Adding Elements:
In order to add elements to the DOM you first need to create an element using createElement() method.
After creating an element we append using the appendChild() to the parent element to which we want to add the created element.


adding element code


adding element output

(PS: This is my first article any feedback is very helpful to me, so please take a few seconds to give feedback. If there are any mistakes please post in the comments. Thank You.)

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