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   DOM questions - unowned Nodes

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  • From: Jon Dart <jdart@tibco.com>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Wed, 09 Dec 1998 09:41:26 -0800

I have a couple of question about DOM. Under what conditions
can you have a Node with a null ownerDocument? Also, how can
you transfer ownership of a Node to another document? 

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. However, the spec indicates
that the only way you can create a DocumentFragment is via a
factory method off a Document. Also, in the description of
the ownerDocument attribute, the only case mentioned in
which it can be null is the case of a Document node. 

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.

If I can't transfer ownership of nodes this way, I don't see
how you could build a cut and paste editor. But the DOM
appears to disallow this. E.g. ownerDocument is a readonly
attribute. And if you can't detach the nodes from their
owner document, it seems that the paste would have to fail

Another related problem occurs when you have a server
application that may deliver DOM objects other that whole
documents to a remote client. If you transmit a NodeList or
DocumentFragment, it doesn't really have an owner when it
arrives on the client end, because the document of which
it is a part is on the server and is not serialized. This
appears to be a useful thing to do but, again, DOM doesn't
seem to allow unowned Nodes.

Comments (and especially clarification) on these issues 
would be appreciated.

Jon Dart                               jdart@tibco.com
TIBCO Software Inc.              650-846-5099

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