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Learn DOM Manipulation in JavaScript

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Read Time: 6 min

Whether you're an aspiring web developer or a seasoned JavaScript programmer looking to enhance your skills, mastering Document Object Model (DOM) manipulation is essential. The DOM is a tree-like representation of a web document, made up of nodes and objects that you can manipulate to create interactive, dynamic websites.

At its core, DOM manipulation is all about changing the content and appearance of a webpage in response to user interactions. From updating text, changing styles, and creating or deleting elements to handling events, DOM manipulation gives you the power to make your websites more responsive and engaging.

While there are several ways to perform DOM manipulation, we'll focus on doing it using pure JavaScript: a powerful and flexible language used widely in web development. Learning to manipulate the DOM using JavaScript not only opens the door to a deeper understanding of web development but also provides a solid foundation for working with popular JavaScript libraries and frameworks in the future.

These tutorials will help you unlock the potential of DOM manipulation in JavaScript.

What Can You Do With DOM Manipulation?    

DOM manipulation lets you change the content and style of your website in real time, in response to user action or data from external APIs. You can change text content, classes, styles, and so on.

The DOM can be used in HTML documents to: 

  • change the contents of HTML elements
  • change the CSS styles of HTML elements
  • add and delete HTML elements (class names)
  • create new HTML elements in the web page
  • insert child elements at different places in the DOM tree

Why Do DOM Manipulation?

DOM manipulation allows you to create dynamic, interactive, and responsive experiences for website users.

You can use DOM manipulation to create animation, build interactive forms, validate user input, change CSS styles in real time, and develop engaging user interfaces that respond to user actions.

DOM manipulation is also used to display data without refreshing the page, i.e. AJAX. 

Tutorials for Learning DOM Manipulation

Before taking a deep dive into DOM manipulation, I recommend starting with this highly informative overview of the DOM API: 

After you have gained a solid understanding of the DOM API, you can explore the following collection of DOM manipulation tutorials. They will show you how to do it natively with JavaScript.

To really grasp a new programming concept, don't just read the tutorial, but also type the actual code and run it!

 1. The Downside of Using Inner HTML to Manipulate the DOM and Some Alternatives

Dynamically manipulating the DOM is a fundamental aspect of web development in creating interactive and functional web applications. The innerHTML property is commonly used to modify the DOM, but it has some drawbacks.

This article will examine the downsides of using innerHTML and provide some alternative approaches that can avoid these potential problems.

2. Use querySelector to Add and Remove Element Class Names

In this article, you'll learn how to use the HTML DOM to add and remove class names with JavaScript.

3. JavaScript DOM Manipulation Cheat Sheet

This JavaScript DOM manipulation cheatsheet will show you the essential methods to use when you want to make dynamic changes in the DOM.

4. How to Manipulate Classes and Attributes of Elements

A webpage consists of a variety of HTML elements which are created using different tags. Some common tags include the <html> tag, which represents the root of an HTML document, the <body> tag, which represents the content of the document, the p tag, which represents paragraphs, and so on.

Different tags that you use to create a webpage can also have different attributes attached to them. These attributes will either change the appearance or behavior of the elements or provide additional metadata. Some examples of attributes include id, class, contenteditable, minlength, maxlength, and pattern.

In this tutorial, we will learn how to manipulate different attributes of any element on a webpage.

5. Insert, Replace or Remove Child Elements in JavaScript

This tutorial teaches you how to insert, replace, or remove child elements in JavaScript.

6. How to Get Elements by Class, ID or Tag Name in JavaScript

Any kind of DOM manipulation first requires you to select the DOM elements that you want to manipulate. There are quite a few methods that you can use to get access to any element in your DOM. In this tutorial, we will learn how to use these methods.

7. How to Find the Parents, Siblings and Children of an Element Using JavaScript

In some projects you will need to add a class to all the siblings of an element if one of the siblings has that class. Or perhaps you want to show a popup if an ancestor of the current element has a specific class.

Traversing up, down, or sideways in a DOM becomes important in a lot of situations when you are doing web development.

This tutorial will teach you how to find the parents, children, or siblings of an element using pure JavaScript, without needing any helper library.

8. Inserting Text, HTML or Elements at Adjacent Positions Using JavaScript

This tutorial will show you how to insert text, HTML, or elements at adjacent positions using JavaScript.

9. Tips for Efficient DOM Manipulation in JavaScript

This article gives some tips you can use to improve performance and reduce the risk of errors or bugs when manipulating the DOM.

10. Best Free DOM Manipulation Libraries

While DOM manipulation can be done natively with JavaScript, you can also manipulate the DOM easily using different libraries. This tutorial will give you a brief overview of some of the most popular free DOM manipulation libraries, including the advantages and disadvantages of using these libraries.

More Hands-on Practice

In addition to the tutorials we've seen, you can learn further with the following hands-on courses on Envato Tuts+:

1. Practice JavaScript and Learn: The DOM.

2. Section 8 of Learn Modern JavaScript Fundamentals will show you how to work with the DOM. 

7.5 Hours

Learn Modern JavaScript Fundamentals in 7 Hours!

Ready to tackle JavaScript in greater depth? This course has you covered. Learn everything you need to know in just seven hours! You’ll learn essential concepts and get a thorough understanding of the language from start to finish.

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