localName (W3C DOM Core property)

Version Depr. Static Read-only
DOM2 No No Yes
Browser support (more…)
IE7 FF1.5+ SA1.3+ OP9+
None Full Buggy Full


var local = node.localName;

In the example above, if node is an h1 element then the local variable will have the value "h1"; if node is an xml:id attribute1 then local will have the value id; if it isn't an element or attribute then local will be null.

In HTML, element names are returned in all uppercase, and attribute names in all lowercase, regardless of the case used in the document; in XML the case used in the document is preserved.


The local name (ie. not including any namespace prefix) of a Element or Attr node; for other nodes this property is null.

DOM 1 methods such as getAttribute are not namespace aware, and identify nodes by their nodeName. Namespace aware DOM 2 methods such as getAttributeNS identify nodes by a combination of their namespaceURI and localName; the localName and prefix combined form a qualified name — a name which comprises the namespace prefix then the local name, delimited with a colon.

This property is readonly.


Internet Explorer Firefox Safari Opera
5.5 6.0 7.0 1.5 2.0 3.0 1.3 2.0 3.0 9.0 9.5
None None None Full Full Full Buggy Buggy Buggy Full Full

In Safari 1.3 and 2 this property returns null; except for Element nodes in XML, and created Element nodes in XHTML mode2.

In Safari 3 this property returns the nodeName of some nodes that aren't elements or attributes; for example, it returns #text as the localName of a Text node, rather than null.

Internet Explorer does not implement this property, and will return undefined.

: Behavior in HTML

Since localName is primarily an XML construct, it's only reasonable to judge its behavior in terms of XML (either on HTML pages in XHTML mode, or pure XML). The behavioral variations of browsers in HTML mode3 are documented here for interest and reference, but the support summary table above does not consider this behavior (ie. if the property is fully supported in XML then it's considered to be fully supported, with no notes).

In Opera, Firefox and Safari 3 in HTML mode, the localName property returns a qualified name, ie. the value includes any namespace prefix and is the same is its nodeName.


1 The W3C has published a recommendation for an XML attribute called xml:id, which is universally of type ID, and therefore if used would remove the need for implementations to perform validation, or rely on resource lookups or internal subsets. However only Opera 9 currently implements this attribute.

2 On XHTML pages served as application/xhtml+xml.

3 On XHTML or HTML pages served as text/html.

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