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Javascript: document.createElement('') & delete DOMElement

Posted by: admin November 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

If you create a element within a function like:

function makeDomElement()
{
   var createdElement = document.createElement('textarea');
}

And you do not append it anywhere in the DOM i.e. via .appendChild functions, does it still remain in memory? So would you have to do

function makeDomElement()
{
   var createdElement = document.createElement('textarea');
   delete createdElement;
}

I’m just curious 🙂

Answers:

It will vary from browser to browser however the javascript delete keyword has nothing to do with the DOM’s createElement method. There is no need to use delete.

What will happen is that the reference to the element currently held in the createdElement will get garbage collected. Now in the case of IE that will mean that the element will have its reference count dropped to 0 so it will destroy itself and release its memory. Other browsers do things differently typically the elements in the DOM are themselves garbage collected objects and will be removed during the same (or perhaps a DOM specific) GC cycle.

Had the element been added to the document then in the case of IE there would be another reference added to the element so when the reference in createdElement is removed the element object would still have a non-zero reference count and continue to exist.

In the case of other browsers where the elements themselves are garbage collected the element wouldn’t be collected since the collector would see it in the graph of objects connected to the document.

Questions:
Answers:

After the function terminates, there’s no longer any reference to the object, ie if the garbage collector works properly, it should be collected (there’s an IE bug that prevents objects with circular references to be collected if DOM nodes are involved).

Also, your code is broken as local variables can’t be deleted: trying to do so will even throw a syntax error in strict mode ES5.