JavaScript Lesson #8
hierarchy of Objects

Use these to jump around or read it all

The Concept What We Mean Objects Effect Deconstructing hierarchy
What You've Learned Your Assignment

The Concept

Whoa! Let's pause and review. We know that JavaScript has objects, which are like nouns or things. We know that objects have properties that describe how objects look, just as adjectives describe nouns. We refer to properties as

We also know that objects have methods, or actions that can be performed to the object. All methods have (parentheses) and are referred to as object.method(). Different objects have access to different properties and methods.
     Now we'll learn the secret to understanding JavaScript, the hierarchy of Objects.

DON'T TELL A SOUL, but once you understand this, you've conquered JavaScript!

What We Mean

The Hierarchy of Objects Effect

All references begin with the top object, the Window (the browser screen), and go down. Windows and frames both belong to the Window object. You do not need to reference these unless there is more than one! Top, self, parent, and frames are built-in names for windows. Don't worry too much about these. Just know they exist.

Here are some examples. Notice they follow the hierarchy above, from top to bottom.

document.mypic.src = "pic1.gif"
"Window" is not needed at the very beginning. It is assumed that all this is inside of the window. This references an image named "mypic", changing its contents to "pic1.gif." Did you follow that? Document is the page the item is on, mypic is the item's name, and SRC is the item's source.
write() is a method of the document object. Location.href displays the full URL of the window. Notice that Location and Document are at the same level (both are in green). That means that you get the location of that same-level document.

Deconstructing the Hierarchy of Objects

  • What's most confusing about this is that some objects are also properties.
  • Windows is just an Object.
  • Document is a property of Windows, but it is also an Object.
  • Form is a property of Document, but it is also an Object with its own properties!
  • Note that Value and SRC are just Properties!
  • Not all Objects and Properties are displayed here. However, this should be enough to help you understand this concept... that all references start at the top with Windows and go down. Thus you cannot write document.mytext.myform or mypic.src.document. Those are not in correct order, biggest to smallest from left to right.
  • A very important concept: To display the contents of a form field you must use the property Value, e.g., document.myform.mytext.value! Just writing document.myform.mytext will give information about the form field, but not its contents!

    Think of "value" as a reading of what something is or is not at a specific time. A checkbox can have a value of "on" or "off" depending on if it's been clicked. A TEXT field can have a value of "hidden" if you don't want the user to see it. And, as noted above, a TEXT field can have input written to it. That's that field's value. Get it?

What You Have Learned

Your Assignment

Type in the full reference, starting with Window, even though it is not necessary. Note the picture name is mypic and the form name is myform.

  1. Reference the entire form:

  2. Reference the contents of lname:

  3. Reference the contents of fname:

  4. Change the picture to "marigold.gif":


The Concept What We Mean Objects Effect Deconstructing Hierarchy
What You've Learned Your Assignment

On To JavaScript Lesson #9