[thelist] ignore xml whitespace?

Andrew Clover and-evolt at doxdesk.com
Sun Jun 27 00:26:37 CDT 2004

Diane Soini <dianesoini at earthlink.net> wrote:

> I've been struggling to use xml in javascript because of differences in 
> how browsers see whitespace. When I call hasChildNodes() one browser 
> counts whitespace as childNodes while another skips whitespace and 
> counts elements as childNodes.

This is true regardless of whether the document was parsed as XML or 
HTML. By my reading of the standards all browsers should preserve the 
whitespace Text nodes in HTML and XHTML (at least in elements with Mixed 
content), however IE typically does not.

In any case, your code will have to be aware of the possibility of 
whitespace nodes and work around them appropriately. A DOM Level 2 Range 
'NodeFilter' object would be one way of doing it but is not 
well-supported on browsers. Similarly you could use your own function to 
get the 'childElements' of a particular Node, eg:

   function childElements(parentNode) {
     var l= new Array();
     for (var i= 0; i<parentNode.childNodes.length; i++)
       if (parentNode.childNodes[i].nodeType==1)
         l[l.length]= parentNode.childNodes[i];
     return l;

Or you could even removeChild the whitespaces. But often, judicious use 
of getElementsByTagName, the HTMLCollection-based properties, and just 
skipping over text nodes may do the trick.

Andrew Clover
mailto:and at doxdesk.com

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