A DOM manipulation library for ClojureScript
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What is Domina?

Domina is a jQuery inspired DOM manipulation library for ClojureScript. It provides a functional, idiomatic Clojure interface to the DOM manipulation facilities provided by the Google Closure library.

Warning: Domina is still beta-level software. Everything should work, but there may still be bugs, browser incompatibility or performance issues. Please report them!

Pull requests are extremely welcome.

You can obtain Domina by pulling from Clojars: [domina "1.0.3"].


Previously, there was no straightforward way to do DOM manipulation in ClojureScript. The Google Closure library is available, but it does not represent a fluid, functional approach to DOM manipulation that users of libraries such as jQuery are accustomed to. jQuery itself, as well as other DOM manipulation libraries, are not easy to use with ClojureScript due to incompatibilities with the advanced mode compiler.

However, a jQuery-esqe, functional approach to DOM manipulation is extremely well suited to ClojureScript. Domina, while it does not provide any innovations, attempts to provide a basic functional interface to DOM manipulation that feels natural in ClojureScript. For a good library that takes a novel, alternative approach to DOM manipulation inspired by Clojure's Enlive, consider Enfocus.

Key Concepts


Most of Domina's functions accept or return content, an abstraction that represents one or more DOM nodes, rather than DOM nodes themselves. Content is implemented as a protocol (DomContent) which responds to two methods, nodes and single-node. nodes returns a sequence of DOM nodes, single-node returns a single DOM node (usually the first one), if the content contains multiple nodes.

Entities which implement DomContent include:

  • Individual nodes
  • Sequences of nodes
  • Built-in HTML node collections such as NodeList
  • Strings (which are parsed into one or more nodes)
  • Selectors (such as xpath) create reified DomContent objects directly


Selector functions take a string and return a DomContent representing matching nodes. For example, the xpath function in the domina.xpath namespace:

(xpath "//div[@class='foo']/p[2]")

This expression returns a content containing all the paragraph elements in a document which are the second children of divs with an class of 'foo'.

The xpath function also takes an optional first argument (which can be any DomContent) representing the context node(s) from which XPath evaluation will start. This allows selectors to be chained:

(-> (xpath "//body")
    (xpath "div")
    (xpath "p")
    (xpath "span"))

The sel function in the domina.css namespace works the same way for CSS selectors:

(sel ".my-class")
(sel "#my-id")
(-> (sel "body")
    (sel "div")
    (sel "p")
    (sel "span"))
(sel "body > div > p > span")

Other selector functions include the core functions by-id and by-class which return a DomContent based on node id and node class, respectively.


Append a <div> to the body element:

(append! (xpath "//body") "<div>Hello world!</div>")

Move a <div> from the end of the document to the beginning:

(prepend! (xpath "//body") 
         (detach! (xpath "//body/div[last()]")))

Add a CSS class on a node with a particular id:

(add-class! (by-id "foobar") "baz")

Delete all nodes of a given class:

(destroy! (by-class "foo"))

Set some colors on all child nodes of <div> elements with a class of 'foo':

(set-styles! (xpath "//div[@class='foo']/*")
            {:background-color "black"
             :color "white"})

Set the text content of a node:

(set-text! (by-id "foobar") "Lorem ipsum...")

Get the values of all <input> elements on the page:

(map value (nodes (xpath "//input")))

For examples of every currently implemented function, see the test.cljs file in the code repository, which exercises each function in unit tests against a DOM page.

Event Handling

Domina contains a robust event handling API that wraps the Google Closure event handling code, while exposing it in a idiomatic functional way.

Event Propagation

In Domina, every event has a target. This is the DOM node that is logically "causing" the event. All events triggered by the browser (such as clicks or key presses) are associated with a node. User defined events must also specify a target node.

Event listeners are also attached to nodes, and may trigger on either the capture or bubble phases of event propegation. The capture phase starts at the root node of the document, and successively fires any listeners on ancestors of the target node from the top down, down to the event target itself. In the bubble phase, the process is reversed, first firing listeners on the target node, then on each of its ancestors in succession back to the document root.

Registering Event Listeners

Use the listen! function to register an event handler in the bubble phase, and capture! to register a handle for the capture phase. Both take similar argument: a Domina DomContent, the event type, and a listener function. They return a sequence of event handler keys (see section below on de-registering event handlers)

(listen! (sel "button") :click (fn [evt] (log "button clicked!")))

This above snippet adds an event handler to every <button> element on the page, which logs a message when the button is clicked.

Note that the content argument is optional: in this case, the listener is added to the root node of the document, and will catch all click events on the entire page.

(listen! :click (fn [evt] (log "button clicked!")))

Event Objects

When an event is triggered, it invokes the provided listener function, passing it an event object. The event object will implement ClojureScript's ILookup protocol, as well as the domina.events.Event protocol.

Implementing the ILookup protocol makes it easy to pull values from browser events using ClojureScript's built in lookup functions such as get and contains?, as well as using keywords in function position. Note that although native events only have string keys, Domina will attempt to translate keywords to strings for lookup purposes.

(defn sample-click-handler [evt]
   (let [x (:clientX evt)
          y (:clientY evt)]
       (log (str "Click occurred at window coordinates " x "," y))))

The domina.events.Event protocol supports the following methods:

  • prevent-default Prevents the default action for an event from firing. For example, if you invoke prevent-default on a click event on a link, it will prevent the browser from navigating the browser as it normally would with a clicked link.
  • stop-propagation Prevents all future event listeners (in both the bubble and capture phases) from recieving the event.
  • target Returns the target node of the event.
  • current-target Returns the current target of the event (the node to which the current listener was attached).
  • event-type Returns the type of the event.
  • raw-event Returns the underlying goog.events.Event object, rather than it's Domina wrapper.

De-registering Event Handlers

There are several ways to de-register an event handler.

If you have the key returned by the registration function, you can de-register the handler by calling the unlisten-by-key! function, passing it the key as a single argument.

If you do not have the key in hand, you can remove all listeners from a node (or set of nodes) using the unlisten! function. It takes a DomContent, and an optional event type. If the event type is specified, it will only de-register handlers for that type, otherwise it will de-register everything from the specified node.

(unlisten! (sel "button") :click)  ; removes all click event handlers from all button elements
(unlisten! (sel "button"))  ; removes all event handlers of any type  from all button elements

There are also listen-once! and capture-once! variants of listen! and capture! which de-register themselves after the first time they are triggered.

Custom Events

In addition to native events dispatched by the browser, Domina allows you to create and dispatch arbitary events using the dispatch! function.

The dispatch! function takes an event target as a DomContent (assumed to be a single node), an event type, and an event map. Keys and values in the event map are merged in to the event object, and can be used to pass arbitrary data to event handlers.

(dispatch! (by-id "evt-target") :my-event {:some-key "some value"})

The event will be propegated through the capture and bubble phases just like a browser event, and can be caught in the normal way:

(listen! (by-id "evt-target") :my-event (fn [evt] (log (:some-key evt))))

Note that if you omit the event target when calling dispatch! (or when registering a listener), it will default to the root node of the document. This is often desirable when using custom application-wide events that have no logical mapping to any particular location in the DOM tree.

Important note on browser XPath compatibility (IE and Android).

Internet Explorer does not support DOM Level 3 XPath selectors. In order to utilize the domina.xpath namespace, you will need to include a pure-javascript XPath DOM Level 3 implementation.

A fast implementation known to work is provided by Cybozu Labs at http://coderepos.org/share/wiki/JavaScript-XPath. It is ignored on all browssers which already have native XPath support.

To include it on your page, enter the following line in your head element, before you reference any ClojureScript scripts.

    <script type="text/javascript" src="cybozu-xpath.js"></script>


The situation with the Android browser (version 2.x, it is fixed in version 3) is even worse. The browser does not support XPath, but erroneously reports that it does. To make Domina's XPath support work on an Android device, you must include the following code snippet on your HTML page before including the cybozu-xpath.js file:

    <script type="text/javascript">
      /* Android 2.x claims XPath support, but has none.  Force non-native
         XPath implementation in this case */
      if (document.implementation
           && document.implementation.hasFeature
           && document.implementation.hasFeature("XPath",null)
           && !document.evaluate) {
        window.jsxpath = {
          targetFrame: undefined,
          exportInstaller: false,
          useNative: false, /* force non-native implementation */
          useInnerText: true
    <script type="text/javascript" src="xpath.js"></script>

This script checks that if the browser claims XPath support, if it actually has it (via the presence of the document.evaluatefunction) and if not, sets a flag that tells Cybozu's XPath implementation to override native support.

If you're using a different XPath implementation, you'll need to use whatever means it provides to override native XPath handling.

We decided not to compile this functionality directly into Domina for two reasons:

  • Potential licensing issues
  • Reduced code size. With some server side conditions, it is possible to avoid downloading the script altogether for browsers which support XPath natively, which is obviously not possible to determine at compile-time.

Running the Tests

To execute the test suite ...

  1. Run lein cljsbuild test. This will generate a suite of test HTML files in the public directory (e.g., test_no_opt.html, test_advanced.html, etc.). Each file runs test.cljs in the context of the DOM, and each file represents a different compiler optimization setting.
  2. Open each of the public/test_*.html files in a browser and verify that all the tests pass.


See the projects Trello page

If you'd like to participate, please just let me know and I'll add you.


Copyright © 2012 Luke VanderHart

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License, the same as Clojure.