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In this note series, we will understand about the difference between Shadow DOM and Virtual DOM in ReactJS. We discuss the key differences between the virtual DOM and the shadow DOM.
So Let’s begin.
The shadow DOM and virtual DOM are both fundamental to progressive web frameworks like Angular, Vue, and React. While the shadow DOM encapsulates the implementation of custom web components, the virtual DOM is used to differentiate changes and more effectively re-render UIs.
What is the Virtual DOM ?
The virtual DOM is an in-memory representation of the real DOM. Popular UI libraries like React and Vue implement a virtual DOM to more efficiently re-render UI components based on a “diffing” process. By comparing changes between a virtual DOM and the real DOM, rendering engines can more efficiently determine what actually needs to be updated. This avoids unnecessary redrawing of DOM nodes as only elements that have changed are redrawn. Without the virtual DOM, every element is redrawn regardless of whether or not it has changed. This adds a huge performance boost to DOM manipulation since redrawing elements is an expensive process.
What is the Shadow DOM ?
The shadow DOM is a way of encapsulating the implementation of web components. Using the shadow DOM, you can hide the implementation details of a web component from the regular DOM tree. A popular example is the HTML5 slider input. While the regular DOM recognizes this as a simple <input/> tag, there is underlying HTML and CSS that make up the slide feature. This sub-tree of DOM nodes is hidden from the main DOM to encapsulate the implementation of the HTML5 slider. Additionally, the CSS properties for the slider are isolated from the rest of the DOM. This provides an isolated scope that prevents the component’s styles from overriding other CSS properties defined elsewhere.
The isolated scope provided by the shadow DOM results in performance benefits. By isolating the CSS properties for a custom web component, the browser can more accurately determine what needs to be updated when the DOM is manipulated.
Shadow DOM vs Virtual DOM
While the shadow DOM and virtual DOM are seemingly similar in their creation of separate DOM instances, they are fundamentally different. The virtual DOM creates an additional DOM. The shadow DOM simply hides implementation details and provides isolated scope for web components.
In this note series, We understood about the difference between Shadow DOM and Virtual DOM in ReactJS. We conclude that both the shadow DOM and virtual DOM have played a key role in the development of progressive web frameworks. While both add performance benefits, the virtual DOM is used to efficiently redraw UIs whereas the shadow DOM encapsulates the implementation of custom web components.
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