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jQuery document.createElement equivalent?

Posted by: admin November 2, 2017 Leave a comment


I’m refactoring some old JavaScript code and there’s a lot of DOM manipulation going on.

var d = document;
var odv = d.createElement("div");
odv.style.display = "none";
this.OuterDiv = odv;

var t = d.createElement("table");
t.cellSpacing = 0;
t.className = "text";

I would like to know if there is a better way to do this using jQuery. I’ve been experimenting with:

var odv = $.create("div");
// And many more

But I’m not sure if this is any better.


here’s your example in “one” line.

this.$OuterDiv = $('<div></div>')
        .attr({ cellSpacing : 0 })

Update: I thought I’d update this post since it still gets quite a bit of traffic. In the comments below there’s some discussion about $("<div>") vs $("<div></div>") vs $(document.createElement('div')) as a way of creating new elements, and which is “best”.

I put together a small benchmark, and here’s roughly the results of repeating the above options 100,000 times:

jQuery 1.4, 1.5, 1.6

               Chrome 11  Firefox 4   IE9
<div>            440ms      640ms    460ms
<div></div>      420ms      650ms    480ms
createElement    100ms      180ms    300ms

jQuery 1.3

                Chrome 11
<div>             770ms
<div></div>      3800ms
createElement     100ms

jQuery 1.2

                Chrome 11
<div>            3500ms
<div></div>      3500ms
createElement     100ms

I think it’s no big surprise, but document.createElement is the fastest method. Of course, before you go off and start refactoring your entire codebase, remember that the differences we’re talking about here (in all but the archaic versions of jQuery) equate to about an extra 3 milliseconds per thousand elements.

Update 2

Updated for jQuery 1.7.2 and put the benchmark on JSBen.ch which is probably a bit more scientific than my primitive benchmarks, plus it can be crowdsourced now!



Simply supplying the HTML of elements you want to add to a jQuery constructor $() will return a jQuery object from newly built HTML, suitable for being appended into the DOM using jQuery’s append() method.

For example:

var t = $("<table cellspacing='0' class='text'></table>");

You could then populate this table programmatically, if you wished.

This gives you the ability to specify any arbitrary HTML you like, including class names or other attributes, which you might find more concise than using createElement and then setting attributes like cellSpacing and className via JS.


Creating new DOM elements is a core feature of the jQuery() method, see:



since jQuery1.8, using $.parseHTML() to create elements is a better choice.

there are two benefits:

1.if you use the old way, which may be something like $(string), jQuery will examine the string to make sure you want to select a html tag or create a new element. By using $.parseHTML(), you tell jQuery that you want to create a new element explicitly, so the performance may be a little better.

2.much more important thing is that you may suffer from cross site attack (more info) if you use the old way. if you have something like:

    var userInput = window.prompt("please enter selector");

a bad guy can input <script src="xss-attach.js"></script> to tease you. fortunately, $.parseHTML() avoid this embarrassment for you:

var a = $('<div>')
// a is [<div>​</div>​]
var b = $.parseHTML('<div>')
// b is [<div>​</div>​]
$('<script src="xss-attach.js"></script>')
// jQuery returns [<script src=​"xss-attach.js">​</script>​]
$.parseHTML('<script src="xss-attach.js"></script>')
// jQuery returns []

However, please notice that a is a jQuery object while b is a html element:

// [<div>​123​</div>​]
// TypeError: Object [object HTMLDivElement] has no method 'html'
// [<div>​123​</div>​]


I feel using document.createElement('div') together with jQuery is faster:

$( document.createElement('div') ,{
    text: 'Div text',
    'class': 'className'


I’m doing like that:

    text: 'Div text',
    class: 'className'


Though this is a very old question, I thought it would be nice to update it with the recent information;

Since jQuery 1.8 there is a jQuery.parseHTML() function which is now a preferred way of creating elements. Also, there are some issues with parsing HTML via $('(html code goes here)'), fo example official jQuery website mentions the following in one of their release notes:

Relaxed HTML parsing: You can once again have leading spaces or
newlines before tags in $(htmlString). We still strongly advise that
you use $.parseHTML() when parsing HTML obtained from external
sources, and may be making further changes to HTML parsing in the

To relate to the actual question, provided example could be translated to:

this.$OuterDiv = $($.parseHTML('<div></div>'))
        .attr({ cellSpacing : 0 })

which is unfortunately less convenient than using just $(), but it gives you more control, for example you may choose to exclude script tags (it will leave inline scripts like onclick though):

> $.parseHTML('<div onclick="a"></div><script></script>')
[<div onclick=​"a">​</div>​]

> $.parseHTML('<div onclick="a"></div><script></script>', document, true)
[<div onclick=​"a">​</div>​, <script>​</script>​]

Also, here’s a benchmark from the top answer adjusted to the new reality:

JSbin Link

jQuery 1.9.1

  $.parseHTML:    88ms
  $($.parseHTML): 240ms
  <div></div>:    138ms
  <div>:          143ms
  createElement:  64ms

It looks like parseHTML is much closer to createElement than $(), but all the boost is gone after wrapping the results in a new jQuery object

var mydiv = $('<div />') // also works

var div = $('<div/>');
div.append('Hello World!');

Is the shortest/easiest way to create a DIV element in jQuery.


It’s all pretty straight forward! Heres a couple quick examples…

var $example = $( XMLDocRoot );

var $element = $( $example[0].createElement('tag') );
// Note the [0], which is the root

id: '1',
hello: 'world'

var $example.find('parent > child').append( $element );


I’ve just made a small jQuery plugin for that: https://github.com/ern0/jquery.create

It follows your syntax:

var myDiv = $.create("div");

DOM node ID can be specified as second parameter:

var secondItem = $.create("div","item2");

Is it serious? No. But this syntax is better than $(“<div></div>”), and it’s a very good value for that money.

I’m a new jQuery user, switching from DOMAssistant, which has a similar function: http://www.domassistant.com/documentation/DOMAssistantContent-module.php

My plugin is simpler, I think attrs and content is better to add by chaining methods:

$("#container").append( $.create("div").addClass("box").html("Hello, world!") );

Also, it’s a good example for a simple jQuery-plugin (the 100th one).


It seems that element creation will only get you so far. Once you start chaining, the performance difference is negligible.


Am I missing something?


jQuery out of the box doesn’t have the equivalent of a createElement. In fact the majority of jQuery’s work is done internally using innerHTML over pure DOM manipulation. As Adam mentioned above this is how you can achieve similar results.

There are also plugins available that make use of the DOM over innerHTML like appendDOM, DOMEC and FlyDOM just to name a few. Performance wise the native jquery is still the most performant (mainly becasue it uses innerHTML)