Document.documentElement

The Document.documentElement read-only property returns the Element that is the root element of the document (for example, the <html> element for HTML documents).

Syntax

var element = document.documentElement;

Example

var rootElement = document.documentElement;
var firstTier = rootElement.childNodes;

// firstTier is the NodeList of the direct children of the root element
for (var i = 0; i < firstTier.length; i++) {
   // do something with each direct kid of the root element
   // as firstTier[i]
}

Notes

This property is a read-only convenience for getting the root element associated with any document.

HTML documents typically contain a single child node, <html>, perhaps with a DOCTYPE declaration before it. XML documents often contain multiple child nodes: the root element, the DOCTYPE declaration, and processing instructions.

That's why you should use document.documentElement rather than document.firstChild to get the root element.

Specifications

License

© 2016 Mozilla Contributors
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License v2.5 or later.
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-us/docs/web/api/document/documentelement