DocumentFragment in DOM Level 2 Core

The DocumentFragment interface represents a "lightweight" or "minimal" Document object.

For more information see

Inherits from:

Instance Properties

name type description
attributes NamedNodeMap (read only) [from Node]
childNodes NodeList (read only) [from Node]
firstChild Node (read only) [from Node]
lastChild Node (read only) [from Node]
localName String (read only) [from Node]
namespaceURI String (read only) [from Node]
nextSibling Node (read only) [from Node]
nodeName String (read only) [from Node]
nodeType Number (read only) [from Node]
nodeValue String [from Node]
ownerDocument Document (read only) [from Node]
parentNode Node (read only) [from Node]
prefix String [from Node]
previousSibling Node (read only) [from Node]

Instance Methods

name returns description
addEventListener(type,listener,useCapture) (none) [from EventTarget]
appendChild(newChild) Node [from Node]
cloneNode(deep) Node Return a new copy of the node. [from Node]
dispatchEvent(evt) Boolean Dispatches an event to the invoking object. [from EventTarget]
hasAttributes() Boolean [from Node]
hasChildNodes() Boolean [from Node]
insertBefore(newChild,refChild) Node [from Node]
isSupported(feature,version) Boolean [from Node]
normalize() (none) [from Node]
removeChild(oldChild) Node [from Node]
removeEventListener(type,listener,useCapture) (none) [from EventTarget]
replaceChild(newChild,oldChild) Node [from Node]



DocumentFragment is a "lightweight" or "minimal" Document object. It is very common to want to be able to extract a portion of a document's tree or to create a new fragment of a document. Imagine implementing a user command like cut or rearranging a document by moving fragments around. It is desirable to have an object which can hold such fragments and it is quite natural to use a Node for this purpose. While it is true that a Document object could fulfill this role, a Document object can potentially be a heavyweight object, depending on the underlying implementation. What is really needed for this is a very lightweight object. DocumentFragment is such an object.

Furthermore, various operations -- such as inserting nodes as children of another Node -- may take DocumentFragment objects as arguments; this results in all the child nodes of the DocumentFragment being moved to the child list of this node.

The children of a DocumentFragment node are zero or more nodes representing the tops of any sub-trees defining the structure of the document. DocumentFragment nodes do not need to be well-formed XML documents (although they do need to follow the rules imposed upon well-formed XML parsed entities, which can have multiple top nodes). For example, a DocumentFragment might have only one child and that child node could be a Text node. Such a structure model represents neither an HTML document nor a well-formed XML document.

When a DocumentFragment is inserted into a Document (or indeed any other Node that may take children) the children of the DocumentFragment and not the DocumentFragment itself are inserted into the Node. This makes the DocumentFragment very useful when the user wishes to create nodes that are siblings; the DocumentFragment acts as the parent of these nodes so that the user can use the standard methods from the Node interface, such as insertBefore and appendChild.

Methods that return a DocumentFragment

name of object description
createDocumentFragment() Document
createElement(tagName) Document