DOM questions - unowned Nodes

John Cowan cowan at
Wed Dec 9 18:31:44 GMT 1998

Jon Dart wrote:

> I have a couple of question about DOM. Under what conditions
> can you have a Node with a null ownerDocument?

Only when the Node is itself a Document (an annoying special
case, IMHO).

> Also, how can
> you transfer ownership of a Node to another document?

Never under DOM Level 1.
> Since you can't ever insert a DocumentFragment itself into a
> document, it doesn't make sense to me for a DocumentFragment
> to have an "owner" document.

Being owned by a Document is not the same as being accessible from
the Document by tree walking.  A Node once created is always owned
by its ownerDocument whether it is currently in the tree or not.

> It would make sense to me to be able to "cut" some nodes
> out of a document, add them to a DocumentFragment (in which
> case their ownerDocument becomes null), and then
> subsequently "paste" them, possibly into another document,
> at which point they would have an ownerDocument again.
Level 1 can't cope with moving Nodes between Documents at all.

> If I can't transfer ownership of nodes this way, I don't see
> how you could build a cut and paste editor.

You can't.  Wait for a higher DOM level or roll your own.

> Another related problem occurs when you have a server
> application that may deliver DOM objects other that whole
> documents to a remote client.

Same answer.

Note: There is a specialized DOM mailing list: www-dom at

John Cowan		cowan at
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at
Archived as:
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list