picture of me, Brian Douglas

Brian Douglas


An Irish software engineer. Focused on Javascript and the web platform.

ES6 DOM Scripting Tricks

In this post we are going to make use of some ES6 features in regards to DOM scripting. Features like destructuring, the spread operator, and the for..of loop lend themselves well to DOM scripting.

I have put together examples below, I hope that they will prove useful to you.

Using Destructuring to Select Elements By ID

Did you know that element ids get stored as global variables?

Every element id in the DOM gets attached to the window object. Let’s say you have an article tag with an id of my_article. This article element will get attached to the window object with the key my_article. Allowing us to use destructuring to pluck that element from the window object. You can see this in action below using both destructuring and a standard value assignment.

<article id="my_article">
    <h1>Hello World</h1>
// assign directly from the window object
const my_article = window.my_article

// or

// use object destructuring
const { my_article } = window

console.log(my_article) // the above article will get logged

Object destructuring is a much better approach. It’s more concise, it allows for renaming, and it allows for multiple assignments. You can see an example of these below.

<article id="first_article">

<article id="second_article">

<article id="BADDLY formatted id">
// multiple assignments
const { first_article, second_article } = window

// assign and rename
const { "BADDLY formatted id": renamed } = window

// logs the first two articles
console.log(first_article, second_article)
// logs the third article

Convert a NodeList to an Array

Let’s say we have a list of articles that we need to iterate through. Each article has a class of blog-post and we will select them using the following code.

const articles = document.querySelectorAll(".blog-post")

The value of the articles variable is a NodeList. To use array methods like map, filter, and forEach on this David Walsh recommends doing one of the following to convert the NodeList to an Array.

var nodesArray = Array.prototype.slice.call(document.querySelectorAll("div"));

// or

var nodesArray = [].slice.call(document.querySelectorAll("div"));

If you are using ES5 then this is a valid approach. ES6 makes this much easier by introducing the spread operator.

Using the spread operator we can covert the NodeList to an Array using the following code.

// select the blog-posts
const articles = document.querySelectorAll(".blog-post")

// use spread operator to convert `articles` to an array
const nodesArray = [...articles]

// we can now use array methods on the NodeList
    .filter(node => node.classList.contains('some-class'))
    .forEach(node => node.classList.toggle('some-class'))

Iterating a NodeList With The for..of Loop

Although I recommend the above approach when iterating a NodeList it’s also achievable using the for..of loop. The for..of loop allows you to iterate over arrays, strings, and any other iterable.

We can see an example of this used to iterate an unordered list below.

  <li class="list-item">1</li>
  <li class="list-item">2</li>
  <li class="list-item">3</li>
  <li class="list-item">4</li>
  <li class="list-item">5</li>
const listItems = document.querySelectorAll('.list-item')

// loop through the NodeList
for(let item of listItems) {
  // logs the list item

// or

// loop through getting the item and it's index
for(let [index, item] of listItems.entries()) {
  // logs the list item and it's index
  console.log(index, item)

Check if an Element Has a Certain Class

ES6 has introduced some useful array methods to the language. Notably the contains method. This checks if the given value is present in an array and returns a boolean value.

We can use this to check if an element has a certain attribute or class as shown in the example below.

// select the button with an id of 'submit_button'
const { submit_button } = window
// check if it has the 'disabled' class
const isDisabled = submitButton.classList.contains('disabled')

if(isDisabled) {
    // do something