LukeP LukeP - 1 year ago 82
Javascript Question

Can a single MutationObserver object observe multiple targets?

I would like to use a

object to observe changes to some of my DOM nodes.

The docs give an example of creating a
object and registering it on a target.

// select the target node
var target = document.querySelector('#some-id');

// create an observer instance
var observer = new MutationObserver(function(mutations) {
mutations.forEach(function(mutation) {

// configuration of the observer:
var config = { attributes: true, childList: true, characterData: true };

// pass in the target node, as well as the observer options
observer.observe(target, config);

Say I have the code above, but just under it, I place this code:

var target2 = document.querySelector('#some-other-id');
var config2 = {attributes: true, subtree: true};
observer.observe(target2, config2);


  • now be observing 2 targets?

  • will it stop observing

  • will it decide not to observe

  • will it throw an error?

  • or will it exhibit some other behavior?

Answer Source

The observer will now be watching two targets - target and target2 per your definitions. No error will be thrown, and target will not be "unregistered" in favor of target2. No unexpected or other behaviors will be exhibited.

Here is a sample which uses the same MutationObserver on two contenteditable elements. To view this, delete the <span> node from each contenteditable element and view the behavior span across both observed elements.

<div id="myTextArea" contenteditable="true">
    <span contenteditable="false">Span A</span>

<div id="myTextArea2" contenteditable="true">
    <span contenteditable="false">Span B</span>

var observer = new MutationObserver(function(mutations) {
  mutations.forEach(function(mutation) {
      //console.log($(mutation.removedNodes)); // <<-- includes text nodes

      $(mutation.removedNodes).each(function(value, index) {
          if(this.nodeType === 1) {

var config = { attributes: true, childList: true, characterData: true };

observer.observe($('#myTextArea')[0], config);

observer.observe($('#myTextArea2')[0], config);

JSFiddle Link - demo

Note that I have recycled the same config for this first demo, but, placing a new config will be exclusive to that observed element. Taking your example as defined in config2, if used on #myTextArea2, you'll not see the logged node per the configuration options, but notice that the observer for #myTextArea is unaffected.

JSFiddle Link - demo - configuration exclusiveness