The Document Object Model, abbreviated DOM, is a powerful tree-like structure that allows programmers to conceptualize hierarchy and access the elements on a web page.

The DOM is one of the better-named acronyms in the field of Web Development. In fact, a useful way to understand what DOM does is by breaking down the acronym but out of order:

  • The DOM is a logical tree-like Model that organizes a web page’s HTML Document as an Object.

Note: There are other types of documents, such as XML and SVG, that are also modeled as DOM structures.

The DOM is a language-agnostic structure implemented by browsers to allow for web scripting languages, like JavaScript, to access, modify, and update the structure of an HTML web page in an organized way.

For this reason, we like to think of the DOM as the link between an HTML web page and scripting languages.


The diagram to the right illustrates how an HTML document is modeled as a tree-like structure accessed by scripting languages like Javascript.

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