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Example of DOM hierarchy in an HTML document
|First published||October 1, 1998|
November 19, 2015
|Organization||World Wide Web Consortium, WHATWG|
|Base standards||WHATWG DOM Living Standard
The Document Object Model (DOM) is a cross-platform and language-independent application programming interface that treats an HTML, XHTML, or XML document as a tree structure wherein each node is an object representing a part of the document. The objects can be manipulated programmatically and any visible changes occurring as a result may then be reflected in the display of the document.
The principal standardization of DOM was handled by the World Wide Web Consortium, which last developed a recommendation in 2004. WHATWG took over development of the standard, publishing it as a living document. The W3C now publishes stable snapshots of the WHATWG standard.
Legacy DOM was limited in the kinds of elements that could be accessed. Form, link and image elements could be referenced with a hierarchical name that began with the root document object. A hierarchical name could make use of either the names or the sequential index of the traversed elements. For example, a form input element could be accessed as either
The Legacy DOM enabled client-side form validation and the popular "rollover" effect.
After the standardization of ECMAScript, the W3C DOM Working Group began drafting a standard DOM specification. The completed specification, known as "DOM Level 1", was recommended by W3C in late 1998. By 2005, large parts of W3C DOM were well-supported by common ECMAScript-enabled browsers, including Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6 (from 2001), Opera, Safari and Gecko-based browsers (like Mozilla, Firefox, SeaMonkey and Camino).
The W3C DOM Working Group published its final recommendation and subsequently disbanded in 2004. Development efforts migrated to the WHATWG, which continues to maintain a living standard. In 2009, the Web Applications group reorganized DOM activities at the W3C. In 2013, due to a lack of progress and the impending release of HTML5, the DOM Level 4 specification was reassigned to the HTML Working Group to expedite its completion. Meanwhile, in 2015, the Web Applications group was disbanded and DOM stewardship passed to the Web Platform group. Beginning with the publication of DOM Level 4 in 2015, the W3C creates new recommendations based on snapshots of the WHATWG standard.
getElementByIdfunction as well as an event model and support for XML namespaces and CSS.
To render a document such as an HTML page, most web browsers use an internal model similar to the DOM. The nodes of every document are organized in a tree structure, called the DOM tree, with the topmost node named as "Document object". When an HTML page is rendered in browsers, the browser downloads the HTML into local memory and automatically parses it to display the page on screen.
Because 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).
Web browsers rely on layout engines to parse HTML into a DOM. Some layout engines, such as Trident/MSHTML, are associated primarily or exclusively with a particular browser, such as Internet Explorer. Others, including Blink, WebKit, and Gecko, are shared by a number of browsers, such as Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Firefox. The different layout engines implement the DOM standards to varying degrees of compliance.
APIs that expose DOM implementations:
The Document Object Model is a platform- and language-neutral interface that will allow programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents.
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