The Attr interface represents an attribute in an Element object. Typically the allowable values for the attribute are defined in a document type definition.
Attr objects inherit the Node interface, but since they are not actually child nodes of the element they describe, the DOM does not consider them part of the document tree. Thus, the Node attributes parentNode, previousSibling, and nextSibling have a null value for Attr objects. The DOM takes the view that attributes are properties of elements rather than having a separate identity from the elements they are associated with; this should make it more efficient to implement such features as default attributes associated with all elements of a given type. Furthermore, Attr nodes may not be immediate children of a DocumentFragment. However, they can be associated with Element nodes contained within a DocumentFragment. In short, users and implementors of the DOM need to be aware that Attr nodes have some things in common with other objects inheriting the Node interface, but they also are quite distinct.
The attribute's effective value is determined as follows: if this attribute has been explicitly assigned any value, that value is the attribute's effective value; otherwise, if there is a declaration for this attribute, and that declaration includes a default value, then that default value is the attribute's effective value; otherwise, the attribute does not exist on this element in the structure model until it has been explicitly added.
Note that the nodeValue attribute on the Attr instance can also be used to retrieve the string version of the attribute's value(s).
In XML, where the value of an attribute can contain entity references, the child nodes of the Attr node may be either Text or EntityReference nodes (when these are in use; see the description of EntityReference for discussion). Because the DOM Core is not aware of attribute types, it treats all attribute values as simple strings, even if the DTD or schema declares them as having tokenized types.