Document Object Model

Document Object Model

The Document Object Model (DOM) is a platform- and language-independent standard object model for representing HTML or XML and related formats.

A web browser is not obliged to use DOM in order to render an HTML document. However, the DOM is required by JavaScript scripts that wish to inspect or modify a web page dynamically. In other words, the Document Object Model is the way JavaScript sees its containing HTML page and browser state.

Because the DOM supports navigation in any direction (e.g., parent and previous sibling) and allows for arbitrary modifications, an implementation must at least buffer the document that has been read so far (or some parsed form of it). Hence the DOM is likely to be best suited for applications where the document must be accessed repeatedly or out of sequence order. If the application is strictly sequential and one-pass, the SAX model is likely to be faster and use less memory. In addition, non-extractive XML parsing models, such as VTD-XML, provide a new memory-efficient option.


W3C began development of the DOM in the mid-1990s. Although the W3C never produced a specification for DOM 0, it was nonetheless a partially documented model and was included in the specification of HTML 4. By October 1998, the first specification of DOM (DOM 1) was released. DOM 2 was issued in November 2000, with specifics on the style sheet object model and style information manipulation. DOM 3 was released in April 2004 and is the current release of the DOM specification.


Web browsers

Earlier, when each Web browser exclusively supported its own intermediate DOM, interoperability problems were numerous. In order to be cross-browser compatible, that is, support multiple browsers, large parts of Dynamic HTML code had to be rewritten for each browser to be supported. A common DOM promised substantial simplification of the development of complex Web applications.

W3C DOM Level 1 has been a recommendation since 1 October 1998. The standardization effort did not bring forth an immediate change, because non-conformant browsers such as Internet Explorer 4.x and Netscape 4.x were still widely used in 2000. By 2005, large parts of W3C DOM were well-supported by common JavaScript-enabled Web browsers, including Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 5 (1999) and version 6 (2001)), Gecko-based browsers (like Mozilla, Firefox and Camino), Konqueror, Opera, and Safari. Web developers are starting to rely mostly or solely on W3C DOM, since it allows browser compatibility with a large audience .

The article Comparison of layout engines (DOM) shows which methods and attributes may be used safely given certain browser requirements.



See also

  • DOM Events
  • DOM scripting
  • VTD-XML - A non-extractive XML processing model supporting random access and XPath
  • SAX - A set of APIs for accessing and manipulating XML documents in a sequential manner.
  • JDOM - A Java-based document object model for XML that integrates with DOM and SAX and uses parsers to build the document.
  • SXML - a model for representing XML and HTML in the form of S-expressions
  • Comparison of layout engines (DOM)
  • Ajax - A methodology employing DOM in combination with techniques for retrieving data without reloading a page.
  • ECMAScript
  • TinyXml - efficient platform-independent XML library for C++
  • IE Developer Toolbar - A free Internet Explorer toolbar extension from Microsoft which allows viewing of the DOM.

External links


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