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Adding an element to the end of a set of elements with vanilla JavaScript

Yesterday, we looked at how to insert an element to the beginning of a set elements inside a shared parent with vanilla JS. Today, let’s look at how to add elements to the end of a set of elements.

Just like yesterday, we’re going to look at two ways to do this:

  1. The traditional way.
  2. The ES6 way.

The traditional way #

Unlike adding an element to the beginning of a list, the traditional way of adding elements to the end of a list is actually really easy, thanks to the appendChild() method.

// Create a new element
var newNode = document.createElement('div');

// Get the parent node
var parentNode = document.querySelector('#some-element');

// Insert the new node after the last element in the parent node
parentNode.appendChild(newNode);

The appendChild() method is supported back to at least IE6.

The ES6 Way #

ES6 introduces append() as a complement to the prepend() method we looked at yesterday. It works basically the same as appendChild().

// Create a new element
var newNode = document.createElement('div');

// Get the parent node
var parentNode = document.querySelector('#some-element');

// Insert the new node after the last element in the parent node
parentNode.append(newNode);

Browser Compatibility #

Unlike appendChild(), append() only works in newer version of Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. It has no IE or Edge support.

You can extend support back to IE7 with this polyfill from polyfill.io.

var _mutation = (function () {

    function isNode(object) {
        // DOM, Level2
        if (typeof Node === 'function') {
            return object instanceof Node;
        }
        // Older browsers, check if it looks like a Node instance)
        return object &&
            typeof object === "object" && 
            object.nodeName && 
            object.nodeType >= 1 &&
            object.nodeType <= 12;
    }

    // http://dom.spec.whatwg.org/#mutation-method-macro
    return function mutation(nodes) {
        if (nodes.length === 1) {
            return isNode(nodes[0]) ? nodes[0] : document.createTextNode(nodes[0] + '');
        }

        var fragment = document.createDocumentFragment();
        for (var i = 0; i < nodes.length; i++) {
            fragment.appendChild(isNode(nodes[i]) ? nodes[i] : document.createTextNode(nodes[i] + ''));

        }
        return fragment;
    };
}());

Document.prototype.append = Element.prototype.append = function append() {
    this.appendChild(_mutation(arguments));
};

The polyfill literally just passes your node into appendChild(), so in most cases, honestly, I would just use that instead. Better browser support, less code.


🔥 Hot off the press! I just launched a new pocket guide. Learn how to build interactive web apps with vanilla JavaScript.

Have any questions or comments about this post? Email me at chris@gomakethings.com or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.

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