Node is an interface from which a number of DOM API object types inherit. It allows those types to be treated similarly; for example, inheriting the same set of methods, or being tested in the same way.

The following interfaces all inherit from Node’s methods and properties: Document, Element, CharacterData (which Text, Comment, and CDATASection inherit), ProcessingInstruction, DocumentFragment, DocumentType, Notation, Entity, EntityReference

These interfaces may return null in certain cases where the methods and properties are not relevant. They may throw an exception — for example when adding children to a node type for which no children can exist.


Inherits properties from its parents EventTarget.[1]

Node.baseURI Read only
Returns a DOMString representing the base URL. The concept of base URL changes from one language to another; in HTML, it corresponds to the protocol, the domain name and the directory structure, that is all until the last '/'.
(Not available to web content.) The read-only nsIURI object representing the base URI for the element.
Node.childNodes Read only
Returns a live NodeList containing all the children of this node. NodeList being live means that if the children of the Node change, the NodeList object is automatically updated.
Node.firstChild Read only
Returns a Node representing the first direct child node of the node, or null if the node has no child.
Node.isConnected Read only
Returns a boolean indicating whether or not the Node is connected (directly or indirectly) to the context object, e.g. the Document object in the case of the normal DOM, or the ShadowRoot in the case of a shadow DOM.
Node.lastChild Read only
Returns a Node representing the last direct child node of the node, or null if the node has no child.
Node.nextSibling Read only
Returns a Node representing the next node in the tree, or null if there isn't such node.
Node.nodeName Read only
Returns a DOMString containing the name of the Node. The structure of the name will differ with the node type. E.g. An HTMLElement will contain the name of the corresponding tag, like 'audio' for an HTMLAudioElement, a Text node will have the '#text' string, or a Document node will have the '#document' string.
A nsIPrincipal representing the node principal.
Node.nodeTypeRead only
Returns an unsigned short representing the type of the node. Possible values are:
Name Value
Returns / Sets the value of the current node
Node.ownerDocument Read only
Returns the Document that this node belongs to. If the node is itself a document, returns null.
Node.parentNode Read only
Returns a Node that is the parent of this node. If there is no such node, like if this node is the top of the tree or if doesn't participate in a tree, this property returns null.
Node.parentElement Read only
Returns an Element that is the parent of this node. If the node has no parent, or if that parent is not an Element, this property returns null.
Node.previousSibling Read only
Returns a Node representing the previous node in the tree, or null if there isn't such node.
Returns / Sets the textual content of an element and all its descendants.

Deprecated properties

Node.rootNode Read only
Returns a Node object representing the topmost node in the tree, or the current node if it's the topmost node in the tree. This has been replaced by Node.getRootNode().

Obsolete properties

Node.localName Read only
Returns a DOMString representing the local part of the qualified name of an element.

Note: In Firefox 3.5 and earlier, the property upper-cases the local name for HTML elements (but not XHTML elements). In later versions, this does not happen, so the property is in lower case for both HTML and XHTML.

Node.namespaceURI Read only
The namespace URI of this node, or null if it is no namespace.

Note: In Firefox 3.5 and earlier, HTML elements are in no namespace. In later versions, HTML elements are in the namespace in both HTML and XML trees.

Node.prefix Read only
Is a DOMString representing the namespace prefix of the node, or null if no prefix is specified.


Inherits methods from its parent, EventTarget.[1]

Adds the specified childNode argument as the last child to the current node.
If the argument referenced an existing node on the DOM tree, the node will be detached from its current position and attached at the new position.
Clone a Node, and optionally, all of its contents. By default, it clones the content of the node.
Compares the position of the current node against another node in any other document.
Returns a Boolean value indicating whether a node is a descendant of a given node or not.
Returns the context object's root which optionally includes the shadow root if it is available. 
Returns a Boolean indicating if the element has any child nodes, or not.
Inserts a Node before the reference node as a child of a specified parent node.
Accepts a namespace URI as an argument and returns a Boolean with a value of true if the namespace is the default namespace on the given node or false if not.
Returns a Boolean which indicates whether or not two nodes are of the same type and all their defining data points match.
Returns a Boolean value indicating whether or not the two nodes are the same (that is, they reference the same object).
Returns a DOMString containing the prefix for a given namespace URI, if present, and null if not. When multiple prefixes are possible, the result is implementation-dependent.
Accepts a prefix and returns the namespace URI associated with it on the given node if found (and null if not). Supplying null for the prefix will return the default namespace.
Clean up all the text nodes under this element (merge adjacent, remove empty).
Removes a child node from the current element, which must be a child of the current node.
Replaces one child Node of the current one with the second one given in parameter.

Obsolete methods

Allows a user to get some DOMUserData from the node.
Returns a Boolean indicating if the element has any attributes, or not.
Returns a Boolean flag containing the result of a test whether the DOM implementation implements a specific feature and this feature is supported by the specific node.
Allows a user to attach, or remove, DOMUserData to the node.


Remove all children nested within a node

Element.prototype.removeAll = function () {
  while (this.firstChild) { this.removeChild(this.firstChild); }
  return this;

Sample usage

/* ... an alternative to document.body.innerHTML = "" ... */

Recurse through child nodes

The following function calls a function recursively for each node contained by a root node (including the root itself):

function eachNode(rootNode, callback){
		var nodes = [];
		eachNode(rootNode, function(node){
		return nodes;

	if(false === callback(rootNode))
		return false;

		var nodes = rootNode.childNodes;
		for(var i = 0, l = nodes.length; i < l; ++i)
			if(false === eachNode(nodes[i], callback))


eachNode(rootNode, callback);


Recursively calls a function for each descendant node of rootNode (including the root itself).

If callback is omitted, the function returns an Array instead, which contains rootNode and all nodes contained therein.

If callback is provided, and it returns Boolean false when called, the current recursion level is aborted, and the function resumes execution at the last parent's level. This can be used to abort loops once a node has been found (such as searching for a text node that contains a certain string).


The Node object whose descendants will be recursed through.
An optional callback function that receives a Node as its only argument. If omitted, eachNode returns an Array of every node contained within rootNode (including the root itself).

Sample usage

The following example prints the textContent properties of each <span> tag in a <div> element named "box":

<div id="box">
var box = document.getElementById("box");
eachNode(box, function(node){
	if(null != node.textContent){

The following strings will be displayed in the user's console:

"\n\t", "Foo", "\n\t", "Bar", "\n\t", "Baz"

Note: Whitespace forms part of a Text node, meaning indentation and newlines form separate Text between the Element nodes.

Realistic usage

The following demonstrates a real-world use of the eachNode function: searching for text on a web-page. We use a wrapper function named grep to do the searching:

function grep(parentNode, pattern){
	var matches = [];
	var endScan = false;
	eachNode(parentNode, function(node){
			return false;
		// Ignore anything which isn't a text node
		if(node.nodeType !== Node.TEXT_NODE)

		if("string" === typeof pattern){
			if(-1 !== node.textContent.indexOf(pattern))
		else if(pattern.test(node.textContent)){
				endScan = true;
				matches = node;
			else matches.push(node);
	return matches;

For example, to find Text nodes that contain typos:

var typos = ["teh", "adn", "btu", "adress", "youre", "msitakes"];
var pattern = new RegExp("\\b(" + typos.join("|") + ")\\b", "gi");
var mistakes = grep(document.body, pattern);


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'Node' in that specification.
Living Standard Removed the following properties: attributes, namespaceURI, prefix, and localName.
Removed the following methods: isSupported(), hasAttributes(), getFeature(), setUserData(), and getUserData().
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3 Core Specification
The definition of 'Node' in that specification.
Obsolete The methods insertBefore(), replaceChild(), removeChild(), and appendChild() returns one more kind of error (NOT_SUPPORTED_ERR) if called on a Document.
The normalize() method has been modified so that Text node can also be normalized if the proper DOMConfiguration flag is set.
Added the following methods: compareDocumentPosition(), isSameNode(), lookupPrefix(), isDefaultNamespace(), lookupNamespaceURI(), isEqualNode(), getFeature(), setUserData(), and getUserData().
Added the following properties: baseURI and textContent.
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 2 Core Specification
The definition of 'Node' in that specification.
Obsolete The ownerDocument property was slightly modified so that DocumentFragment also returns null.
Added the following properties: namespaceURI, prefix, and localName.
Added the following methods: normalize(), isSupported() and hasAttributes().
Document Object Model (DOM) Level 1 Specification
The definition of 'Node' in that specification.
Obsolete Initial definition

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support Yes1 Yes19 Yes1 Yes1
baseURI Yes12 ? ? ? ?
baseURIObject ? ? ? ? ? ?
childNodes Yes121 Yes Yes Yes
firstChild Yes121 Yes Yes Yes
getRootNode54 No53 No4110.1
innerText4 ?45109.63
isConnected51 ?53 ?3810.1
lastChild Yes121 Yes Yes Yes
localName Yes — 462121 — 482 ? ? ?
namespaceURI Yes — 462121 — 482 ? ? ?
nextSibling Yes12 ? ? Yes ?
nodeName Yes12 ? ? ? ?
nodePrincipal Yes — 462 ? ? ? ? ?
nodeType Yes12 ? ? Yes ?
nodeValue Yes12 ? ? Yes ?
outerText No ? ? ? No ?
ownerDocument Yes12



64 Yes ?
parentElement Yes129 Yes5 Yes Yes
parentNode Yes121 Yes Yes Yes
prefix No12

1 — 482


Yes5 No Yes
previousSibling Yes12 ? ? Yes ?
rootNode No ? No ? No ?
textContent11229 Yes3
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes1 Yes1 ?4 Yes1 Yes1 Yes
baseURI Yes Yes ? ? ? ? Yes
baseURIObject ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
childNodes Yes Yes ?4 Yes Yes Yes
firstChild Yes Yes ?4 Yes Yes Yes
getRootNode5454 No534110.1 ?
innerText Yes Yes ?45 Yes4 Yes
isConnected5151 ?453810.16.0
lastChild Yes Yes ?45 Yes Yes Yes
localName Yes — 462 Yes — 462 Yes45 Yes Yes Yes
namespaceURI Yes — 462 Yes — 462 Yes45 Yes Yes Yes
nextSibling Yes Yes ? ? Yes ? Yes
nodeName Yes Yes ? ? ? ? Yes
nodePrincipal Yes — 462 Yes — 462 ? ? ? ? Yes
nodeType Yes Yes ? ? Yes ? Yes
nodeValue Yes Yes ? ? Yes ? Yes
outerText No No ? ? No ? No
ownerDocument Yes Yes Yes



Yes ? Yes
parentElement Yes Yes Yes9 Yes ? Yes
parentNode Yes Yes Yes4 Yes Yes Yes
prefix No No Yes9 No ? No
previousSibling Yes Yes ? ? Yes ? Yes
rootNode No No ? No No ? No
textContent Yes Yes Yes ? Yes ? Yes

1. WebKit and old versions of Blink incorrectly do not make Node inherit from EventTarget.

2. This API was moved to the Element and Attr APIs according to the DOM4 standard.

3. The ownerDocument of doctype nodes (that is, nodes for which Node.nodeType is Node. DOCUMENT_TYPE_NODE or 10) is no longer null. Instead, the ownerDocument is the document on which document.implementation.createDocumentType() was called.

4. See MSDN.

5. Only supported on Element.

6. this property was read-write; starting with Firefox 5.0 it is read-only, following the specification.