Short for Document Object Model, the specification for how objects in a Web page (text, images, headers, links, etc.) are represented. The DOM defines what attributes are associated with each object, and how the objects and attributes can be manipulated. Dynamic HTML (DHTML) relies on the DOM to dynamically change the appearance of Web pages after they have been downloaded to a user’s browser.
Unfortunately, the two leading browsers — Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer — use different DOMs. This is one reason why their respective implementations of DHTML are so different. Both companies have submitted their DOMs to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for standardization, which now has the daunting task of specifying a standard DOM without alienating either of the browser giants. The W3C’s DOM specification will support both HTML and XML.