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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 alpha-level software and is currently public only for testing and feedback. See the 'todo' section below for a list of known caveats and deficiencies.

Pull requests are extremely welcome!


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
  • HTML DocumentFragment objects.
  • Strings (which are parsed into a DocumentFragment object)
  • 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 epxression 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"))

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")

Delete all nodes of a given class:

(delete! (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. The test.html file loads and runs test.cljs in the context of the DOM.

Important note on IE compatibility

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

A fast implementation known to work is provided by Cybozu Labs at

Including it looks like this:

    <!--[if IE]><script type="text/javascript" src="cybozu-xpath.js"></script><![endif]-->

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

  • Potential licensing issues
  • Reduced code size. With a conditional comment, the script isn't even downloaded for browsers which support XPath natively, which is obviously not possible to determine at compile-time.


There's still a lot of work to be done:

  • Repackage for easier distribution
  • Comprehensive browser/OS testing (currently only tested against the latest Firefox and Chrome on MacOS 10.6.
  • Performance profiling and analysis.
  • Implement a css selector function.
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