May 20, 2023

A Dominator is a term used in web development to refer to a node in the Document Object Model (DOM) that is a parent to all other nodes in the same subtree. The purpose of identifying Dominators is to optimize the process of garbage collection in web browsers.


Garbage collection is an important process in web development that helps to manage memory usage in web browsers. When a web page is loaded, the browser creates a DOM, which is a tree-like structure that represents the page’s HTML structure. The DOM is made up of nodes, which can be elements, attributes, or text.

As a user interacts with the web page, the DOM can change dynamically. This means that nodes can be added or removed from the DOM over time. When a node is no longer needed, it is removed from the DOM, but the memory it occupies is not immediately released. This is where garbage collection comes in.

Garbage collection is the process of identifying and removing unused objects from memory. In the context of web development, this means identifying nodes in the DOM that are no longer needed and removing them from memory.

However, the process of garbage collection can be resource-intensive and can negatively impact the performance of web applications. Therefore, it is important to optimize the process of garbage collection to minimize its impact on performance.

One way to optimize the process of garbage collection is to identify Dominators in the DOM. A Dominator is a node in the DOM that is a parent to all other nodes in the same subtree. For example, in the following DOM:

  <p>Hello world</p>

The div element is a Dominator because it is a parent to the p element.

Identifying Dominators is important because when a Dominator is removed from the DOM, all nodes in its subtree are also removed. This means that garbage collection can be optimized by starting the process of removing unused nodes from the Dominator and working downwards. This approach is more efficient than starting at the root of the DOM and working upwards.


Identifying Dominators in the DOM can be useful in a number of ways. For example, it can help to optimize the performance of web applications by minimizing the impact of garbage collection. It can also be useful in identifying memory leaks, which occur when memory is allocated for objects that are no longer needed.

One way to identify Dominators in the DOM is to use a tool such as the Chrome Developer Tools. The Chrome DevTools provide a number of tools for inspecting the DOM and identifying Dominators.

To identify Dominators using the Chrome DevTools:

  1. Open the Chrome DevTools by pressing F12 or by right-clicking on the page and selecting “Inspect.
  2. Select the “Elements” tab.
  3. Right-click on a node in the DOM and select “Show DOM Tree”.
  4. In the DOM Tree, select the node you want to inspect.
  5. In the “Properties” pane, scroll down to the “Object” section and expand it.
  6. Look for the “dominator” property. If it exists, the selected node is a Dominator.

Alternatively, you can write JavaScript code to identify Dominators programmatically. The following example shows how to identify Dominators using JavaScript:

function findDominator(node) {
  // Traverse up the DOM tree until we find a node with no parent
  while (node.parentNode != null) {
    node = node.parentNode;
  return node;

// Select a node to inspect
var node = document.getElementById("my-node");

// Find the Dominator for the selected node
var dominator = findDominator(node);

In this example, the findDominator function traverses up the DOM tree until it finds a node with no parent, which is the Dominator. The node variable is the node we want to inspect, and the dominator variable is the Dominator for the selected node.