What is DOM (Document Object Model) in Selenium?

Document Object Model in Selenium

DOM stands for ‘Document Object Model’. In simple words, the DOM is used by web developers to make changes in the document structure, style, and content of a web page. Thus, DOM in Selenium WebDriver is considered as an important component in web development using HTML5 & JavaScript. 

What is DOM and Its Importance In Web Development?

DOM defines a standard for accessing documents. Technically, DOM is an application programming interface(API) popular among web developers to access & manipulate web documents in HTML or XML using JavaScript. 

Document Object Model is basically a tree-like representation of HTML elements in a web page that gets loaded into the browser. It comprises the structure and content of a document on the web page. While Selenium IDE can use the Document Object Model to access the web page elements.

Big billion dollar companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, & even Adobe are involved in standardizing Document Object Model. Nonetheless, W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is the main international standards organization that formalizes DOM Standard & publishes it. 

Why is Understanding DOM Structure Important?

Understanding the Document Object Model(DOM) structure becomes important when you’re willing to build any website using JavaScript & its related technologies. Furthermore, DOM is extremely essential when developing complicated tasks in your website as mentioned below. 

  • Developing a webpage that automatically updates content without refreshing the entire page. Say, Cricbuzz live score updates are one such example.
  • Handling user interactions such as adding or manipulating content dynamically.
  • Building responsive web design/content in your website. Here, responsive web design means creating a website that adapts itself to look good on all devices, such as Android, iPhone, tablets & desktops, etc.
  • Developing web page content that gives personalized experiences to users. Such as greeting the users/customers by their first name while launching new offers on the web product. 

What are the Components of DOM in Selenium?

DOM is one of the locators available in Selenium Web Driver. Since it uses the structure of the web page to locate the elements, we need to know the 3 main components of DOM: 





A Window is a host object. It is implemented as the “global object” to complete an ECMAScript implementation. In simple words, the Window object represents the browser’s window. It basically represents an open window in a browser & supports almost all browsers. You’ll see that all the global variables are properties & functions are methods of the window object.

The window object contains the document object in a DOM. While it sits on top of everything as a global object.


The document sets the beginning of a DOM tree. It is the first node in a DOM. There are various methods and properties, whose scope applies to the entire document like URL, querySelector, getElementById, etc. While making a note that the document object is a property of the window object. So, typing window.document.write is the same as a document. write.


Element refers to any object represented by a node in a DOM tree of a document. Usually in HTML, the Element object represents HTML elements such as P(defines a paragraph), DIV(defines a division/a section), A(defines a hyperlink), TABLE(defines an HTML table), or any other HTML element. Elements act as containers to hold text, elements, attributes, media objects, or all of these. 

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Locating Strategies using DOM in Selenium IDE

We have four major ways to identify & locate a web element using DOM.

  1. getElementById
  2. getElementsByName
  3. dom: index
  4. dom:name


  • The getElementById() method is one of the most commonly used methods in the HTML DOM.
  • The getElementById() method will return an element with a specified value if the element exists with an Id.
  • The getElementById() method will return ‘null‘ if the element does not exist.
  • Syntax script: document.getElementById(“id of the element”)
  • Here, the ‘Id of the element’ refers to ‘the value of the Id attribute’ that is being accessed.
  • For example, while registration process in any website, we will define the Document Object Model value for the “Username” text box of any registration/login page as: document.getElementById(“email”)


  • The getElementsByName() method will return a collection of elements with a specified name.
  • The getElementsByName() method can return a NodeList(live).  
  • An array-like collection (list) of nodes is known as a NodeList.
  • All of these nodes in the list can be accessed by index. The list index starts at 0.
  • Syntax script: document.getElementByName(“name”)[index]
  • Here, “name” refers to the value of name attribute that is being accessed.
  • And, “index” refers to an integer value used to specify the location of the desired element.
  • For example, while the registration process through forms on any website, we will define the Document Object Model value for the “Username” text box of any registration/login page as: document.getElementByName(“email_id”)

3. dom:index

With this method, you can access a particular form control in the returned collection by using the index attributes. Again, consider a registration process through the form in any website, we will define the Document Object Model values with index as below.

  • Syntax Script : document.forms[index of the form].elements[index of the element]
  • Here, “Index of the form” refers to the integer value of the index (starting at 0) of the form with respect to the whole page.
  • And, “Index of the element” refers to the integer value of the index (starting at 0) of the form with respect to the whole form that contains it.

4. dom:name

Considering the same registration process in any website, we will define the Document Object Model values with “Name of the form” & “Name of the element”.

  • Syntax script: document.forms[“name of the form”].elements[“name of the element”]
  • Here, “Name of the form” refers to the value of the name attribute of the form tag that contains the element you want to access.
  • And, “Name of the element” refers to the value of the name attribute of the element you want to access.
  • Example: “document.forms[“homepage”].elements[“userName”]”
  • Make a note that this method is applied only to elements within a named form.

More about the DOM & its relevance can be understood by trying out Full-stack web development. Now, Jump into a professional career with 100% Job Placement Support on ZEN Class Career Program. 

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Lahari Chandana
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