View Full Version : Best practices?: Modifying HTMLCollections in IE

07-08-2009, 05:17 PM
I just ran into a very weird IE quirk, and I'm wondering what the best practice would be regarding it. (I've only tested in IE7; it might show up in other versions.)

Before I had IE installed, I had to modify a form and then find my elements in it to modify them again, and the elements' names were the most convenient way to accomplish the second part. So of course I went for the form.elements collection, and this works fine in Firefox. But not only is this property actually the form itself in IE (http://www.claws-and-paws.com/node/1086), the developers apparently didn't read this part of the spec:
Note: Collections in the HTML DOM are assumed to be live meaning that they are automatically updated when the underlying document is changed.To demonstrate what this means, I threw together a small test page (post continues below):
<title>IE DOM modifications</title>
<script type='text/javascript'
<script type="text/javascript">
window.onload = function(){
var form = document.forms.namedItem('test');
var input = document.createElement('input');
input.name = 'foo';
input.type = 'hidden';
input.value = 'bar';
// form[input.name] = input;
<form name="test">

</html>If form[input.name] = input; (a very ugly hack) is commented, the first call to console.log works but the other two don't. Otherwise, the first two work but the last still doesn't.

So here's my question: Is this the best way to workaround this quirk? The idea of form elements being direct properties of the form isn't in the standard, and the standard namedItem function remains broken. I managed to still use namedItem by default, but I really don't like the hack at all.

Here's how I retrieved my element:
form.elements.namedItem(name) || form[name]

07-09-2009, 09:34 AM
not sure if trhis is relavent but I use this X-Browser method of creating form elements

function zxcFormField(tag,nme,type){
var el;
try {
el=document.createElement('<'+tag+(type?' type='+type:'')+' name='+nme+' >');
catch (e){
if (type) el.type=type;
return el;

07-09-2009, 03:19 PM
Thanks for replying at least. :) But that code is run just a little bit earlier than where my problem occurs. I'm concerned with adding an existing element to a form and later retrieving it, while your function returns the element that might later be added.

On a side note, I suggest that you get rid of the try...catch and only use the code in the current catch block. Creating attributes along with the tag is an IE extension to the standard; unless a browser-specific extension can be emulated in other browsers, web developers are best ignoring it until it has mainstream support (consensus among browsers or standardization).