Manipulating the DOM

Once we’ve selected an element or set of elements, we typically want to do something to (or with) that element / those elements.

Altering the DOM

jQuery provides us with a variety of methods that we can chain onto the result of the jQuery function, by using the following notation:


As a result of that instruction, a class of foo would be added to the body element, changing the DOM, like so:

<body class="foo">

There are many of these methods for manipulating the DOM, listed in the jQuery API Documentation.

Reading the DOM

These “manipulation” methods are not only used to make changes to the DOM, they can also be used to read the DOM or something about the DOM.

For instance, $('body').hasClass('logged-in'); will check whether the body element has the class logged-in or not. This may not be all that useful on its own, but could be as a condition for an if statement:

var loggedIn = $('body').hasClass('logged-in');
// now the variable `loggedIn` will be set to either true or false
if(loggedIn) {
  // Do something

Reading or Altering the DOM

Some methods, like .attr() can be used to either get information about an element or elements, or to change something about that element / those elements.

Say we have this in our initial HTML:

<body id="about">

We could use the .attr() method to retrieve the id of the body like so:

var bodyID = $('body').attr('id');
// bodyID will be set to "about"

Or, we could use the same method to change that attribute:

$('body').attr('id', 'home');
// The body element will be changed to <body id="home">