Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

What would you like to do?
Detect previousElementSibling/nextElementSibling


My team likes to use the previousElementSibling and nextElementSibling methods as it saves them having to filter out TEXT_NODES (which the majority of the time - when sifting through the DOM - they don't have to worry about).

Internet Explorer <= 8 doesn't support either method, but it's current DOM implementation ignores TEXT_NODES (when using previousSibling and nextSibling) so they already act like previousElementSibling and nextElementSibling.

But when checking over my teams code I noticed that they would use a conditional code branching in every instance where they wanted to use previousElementSibling and nextElementSibling, so to try and help keep their code DRY I just used a very basic feature detection script to abstract these methods into two separate functions for them to use instead.


This feature detection assumes the head and a body tags are available at the time of the script executing.

var prevElementSibling = (function(){
var supported = !!document.body.previousElementSibling,
prev = (supported) ? 'previousElementSibling' : 'previousSibling';
return function(currentElement) {
return currentElement[prev];
var nextElementSibling = (function(){
var supported = !!document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].nextElementSibling,
next = (supported) ? 'nextElementSibling' : 'nextSibling';
return function(currentElement) {
return currentElement[next];
var head = prevElementSibling(document.body);
var body = nextElementSibling(document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0]);
Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment