A host environment provides platform-specific objects and functions additional to the language core. Web browsers give a means to control web pages. Node.js provides server-side features, and so on.
There’s a “root” object called
window. It has two roles:
- Second, it represents the “browser window” and provides methods to control it.
For instance, here we use it as a global object:
And here we use it as a browser window, to see the window height:
There are more window-specific methods and properties, we’ll cover them later.
document object gives access to the page content. We can change or create anything on the page using it.
Here we used
document.body.style, but there’s much, much more. Properties and methods are described in the specification:
- DOM Living Standard at https://dom.spec.whatwg.org
The DOM specification explains the structure of a document and provides objects to manipulate it. There are non-browser instruments that use it too.
For instance, server-side tools that download HTML pages and process them use the DOM. They may support only a part of the specification though.
CSS rules and stylesheets are not structured like HTML. There’s a separate specification CSSOM that explains how they are represented as objects, and how to read and write them.
Browser Object Model (BOM) are additional objects provided by the browser (host environment) to work with everything except the document.
- The navigator object provides background information about the browser and the operating system. There are many properties, but the two most widely known are:
navigator.userAgent– about the current browser, and
navigator.platform– about the platform (can help to differ between Windows/Linux/Mac etc).
- The location object allows us to read the current URL and can redirect the browser to a new one.
Here’s how we can use the
alert/confirm/prompt are also a part of BOM: they are directly not related to the document, but represent pure browser methods of communicating with the user.
BOM is the part of the general HTML specification.
Yes, you heard that right. The HTML spec at https://html.spec.whatwg.org is not only about the “HTML language” (tags, attributes), but also covers a bunch of objects, methods and browser-specific DOM extensions. That’s “HTML in broad terms”. Also, some parts have additional specs listed at https://spec.whatwg.org.
Talking about standards, we have:
- DOM specification
- Describes the document structure, manipulations and events, see https://dom.spec.whatwg.org.
- CSSOM specification
- Describes stylesheets and style rules, manipulations with them and their binding to documents, see https://www.w3.org/TR/cssom-1/.
- HTML specification
- Describes the HTML language (e.g. tags) and also the BOM (browser object model) – various browser functions:
locationand so on, see https://html.spec.whatwg.org. It takes the DOM specification and extends it with many additional properties and methods.
Additionally, some classes are described separately at https://spec.whatwg.org/.
Please note these links, as there’s so much stuff to learn it’s impossible to cover and remember everything.
When you’d like to read about a property or a method, the Mozilla manual at https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/search is also a nice resource, but the corresponding spec may be better: it’s more complex and longer to read, but will make your fundamental knowledge sound and complete.
Now we’ll get down to learning DOM, because the document plays the central role in the UI.