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JScript Tree List Control v3.0

, 6 Dec 2002
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Completely rewritten and much more versatile than my two previous tree list controls, this version includes dynamic branch loading, user-specifiable tree column, and more!

Sample Image - treelistcontrol.v3.gif


This is my third attempt at making a TreeListControl for Internet Explorer-based web applications. The first was very slow and required ASP to generate a tree. The second has lots of features, and even resizable columns, but, while it did not suffer from the freeze-up delays that occurred in the first one, was generally sluggish in operation if there were more than a few nodes on the screen. This latest version has tighter code and is generally more versatile all round. It doesn't have resizable columns, but it shouldn't be too hard to put them in. If I do that, I'll upload the updated version here. The only other major limitation of this control is that it is fixed-width. That is, you have to specify the exact width of each column, and this determines the control width.

Features that version 3.0 has are:

  • Enable/disable column headings
  • Enable/disable root node
  • The ability to choose which column the tree appears in
  • Dynamic loading of branches via XML files
  • Completely dynamic updating of the tree structure after it has been generated, including:
    • remove nodes
    • add new nodes
    • remove nodes and re-add them somewhere else
    • insert before or after a specified node
    • expand/collapse branches
  • optional row onclick action
  • row highlights while being pointed at
  • prevent specified columns from firing the row onclick event (e.g. for a column of checkboxes)

To use the control, simply include treelistcontrol.js and treelistcontrol.css in your html file, then, inside the element (body tag, div tag, or where ever) you want to render the tree inside, place a script tag and build the tree according to the API. A demo of how to do this is inside the included zip file.


See the API below for explanations of the tree's objects, and the file demo.htm for an example of how to use the tree.

  1. Create a tree control
  2. Create and add the columns to the tree
  3. Add all the initial nodes to the tree
  4. document.write the tree object to the page

Tree List Control v3.0 API


TreeListControl(strRootNodeLabel, strRootNodeIconSrc, boolHideColumnHeadings, boolHideRootNode)

  • strRootNodeLabel: the label to use for the root node
  • strRootNodeIconSrc: the path to the node's icon
  • boolHideColumnHeadings: don't show the column headings
  • boolHideRootNode: don't show the root node


  • showColumnHeadings: hide/show the column headings. The visibility of the column headings will automatically change depending on the state of this property.
  • showRootNode: hide/show the root node. The visibility of the root node will automatically change depending on the state of this property.
  • all: this is a collection (array) contain references to all the nodes that were assigned a non-null refKey when added to the tree. usage: mytree.all['mynoderefKey']
  • allNodes: this is a collection containing references to every node in the tree, indexed by the node's automatically assigned ID property.
  • rootNode: a reference to the tree's root node. This is of type TreeListControlNode.
  • iconPath: the path to the location where the tree's images are stored. The default is 'tlcimages/'.


  • addColumn( oColumnObject ): adds a column to the tree. Do not use this once the tree has been rendered to the page. Pass in a reference to a TreeListControlColumn object that defines the column's parameters.
  • add( oNodeObject ): appends a node to the children of the root node. Pass in a reference to a previously created node.


TreeListControlColumn (intWidth, strTitle, boolPreventRowClickEvents)

  • intWidth: the width, in pixels, of the column.
  • strTitle: the heading/title of the column. Use a zero-length string if no title is desired.
  • boolPreventRowClickEvents: when a row is clicked, it fires the onclick event for that row. Setting this parameter to true will prevent clicks in this row from firing that event.


TreeListControlNode (boolShowChildren, strIconSrc, strXMLSrc, strReferenceKey)

  • boolShowChildren: this specifies the initial expand/collapse state for the node.
  • strIconSrc: the path to the icon image to use.
  • strXMLSrc: if the children of this node are to be loaded at run-time when the node is expanded, this parameter should contain the URL of the XML file. Set to null or '' if not used.
  • strReferenceKey: if you want to use your own identifiers for each node, instead of the automatically-assigned ID that each node has, specify the identifier here. It can be an integer or a string, and, once the node has been added to the tree, you can access the node via the all property of the TreeListControl object.


  • onclick: the javascript to execute when the onclick event fires for that node. Only set this before the node has been added to the tree.


  • expand: shows the node's children.
  • collapse: hides the node's children.
  • setText( strColumn1, strColumn2, ..., strColumnN ): sets the node's text in each column.
  • setColumnText( intColumn, strText ): sets the text for the node in the specified column.
  • add( oNodeObject ): appends a node object to this node's children. DO NOT use this method if this node has not yet been added to the tree.
  • insertBefore( oNodeObject ): inserts the supplied node immediately before this node.
  • insertAfter( oNodeObject ): inserts the supplied node directly after this node.
  • remove(): removes this node from the tree completely and returns a reference to the node so that it can be reinserted elsewhere if desired.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Nathan Ridley
Web Developer
Australia Australia
Web application developer, graphic designer, aspiring entrepreneur, snowboarder and electronic music afficianado.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralAfter upgrading IE to v6 resizing columns does not work Pinmemberlilya29-Mar-05 23:06 
GeneralRe: After upgrading IE to v6 resizing columns does not work PinmemberNathan Ridley29-Mar-05 23:38 
GeneralHide both root node and column headings yields UI bug PinmemberKyle Secrist12-Jan-05 6:27 
GeneralRe: Hide both root node and column headings yields UI bug Pinmembernguyenzoro29-Sep-05 17:33 
GeneralRe: Hide both root node and column headings yields UI bug Pinmembernguyenzoro2-Oct-05 20:23 
QuestionWould you explan more about how the UI refresh works? PinmemberKyle Secrist11-Jan-05 13:00 
Generalresizable column Pinmemberysahin10-Jan-05 6:53 
GeneralRe: resizable column PinmemberNathan Ridley10-Jan-05 9:29 
GeneralCan't load nodes at run-time by using strXMLSrc in TreeListControlNode Pinmembertblyplus10-Aug-04 22:03 
GeneralRe: Can't load nodes at run-time by using strXMLSrc in TreeListControlNode PinmemberNathan Ridley12-Aug-04 2:05 
GeneralExplorer view Pinmemberneejurk30-May-04 20:54 
GeneralRe: Explorer view PinmemberNathan Ridley30-May-04 21:12 
GeneralDramatic slowdown Pinmembersneathd24-Mar-04 5:35 
GeneralRe: Dramatic slowdown PinmemberNathan Ridley16-Aug-04 17:15 
GeneralNot worked on Netscape PinmemberRuslan A Dautkhanov22-Mar-04 1:17 
GeneralRe: Not worked on Netscape PinmemberNathan Ridley22-Mar-04 2:08 
GeneralRe: Not worked on Netscape PinmemberNathan Ridley22-Mar-04 2:10 
Generalcolumn resize PinsussZG_6610-Mar-04 8:23 
GeneralRe: column resize PinmemberNathan Ridley10-Mar-04 12:30 
GeneralXML node auto-expand Pinmemberolard19-Feb-04 2:38 
Questionhow to adjust the table to fit on the screen Pinmemberlrolandot20-Jan-04 14:16 
Answerupdated code for 100% width PinmemberNathan Ridley28-Jan-04 3:47 
GeneralFeature Request PinmemberFlorian Lagg12-Jan-04 0:44 
QuestionMoving the TreeList into a Web? PinsussDave Comer20-Oct-03 12:41 
AnswerRe: Moving the TreeList into a Web? Pinsussdcomer20-Oct-03 13:08 
QuestionHOW TO BUILD A DYNAMIC DATABASE-DRIVEN TREE PinmemberNathan Ridley15-Sep-03 3:23 
Questionhow to convert this code into .net PinmemberGopakumar R14-Sep-03 21:42 
Generalicon src PinsussAnonymous11-Sep-03 2:38 
Questionhow to create .xml to show the tree control? Pinmemberyanlinzhang2-Sep-03 0:04 
Generalit's so good PinsussAnonymous3-Aug-03 18:13 
GeneralFreeze up Pinmemberpobrob23-Jul-03 12:32 
GeneralRe: Freeze up Pinmembertigertoy18-Dec-03 10:25 
GeneralRe: Freeze up Pinmemberpobrob19-Dec-03 7:44 
I was using IE 5, 5.5 and 6.0. Also with MSXML 2 and 3. I suspect I know what the problem is related to. I think it is due to the fact that the web server is not caching the images because the images are added dynamically. None of the preloading tricks seems to prevent this. Adding several very small gif images seems to cause the problem. I have found a few reference to this type of problem. I don't really have a solution that doesn't screw up the performance of the tree. Putting a bunch of statements that delay things at the bottom of recalc_images helped it but did not solve it completely. The following
describes a similar problem. He solved it by calling his function with a set-timeout 0 which would launch each in a separate thread. Perhaps calling recalc-images that way would work.
Let me know what you find.
GeneralRe: Freeze up PinsussOliver Haskell28-Jan-04 3:25 
GeneralTreeListControlHandler.allTrees.6.showRootNode is Null or no Object PinsussM.E.-P._Germany16-Jul-03 23:28 
GeneralRe: TreeListControlHandler.allTrees.6.showRootNode is Null or no Object Pinmemberpobrob17-Jul-03 4:49 
GeneralRe: TreeListControlHandler.allTrees.6.showRootNode is Null or no Object PinmemberM.E.-P._Germany17-Jul-03 11:00 
GeneralRe: TreeListControlHandler.allTrees.6.showRootNode is Null or no Object PinmemberNathan Ridley17-Jul-03 15:01 
GeneralRe: TreeListControlHandler.allTrees.6.showRootNode is Null or no Object PinsussM.EP_Germany17-Jul-03 22:26 
GeneralRe: TreeListControlHandler.allTrees.6.showRootNode is Null or no Object PinmemberNathan Ridley29-Apr-04 20:15 
GeneralHad to change Status to 200 Pinmemberpobrob16-Jul-03 6:42 
GeneralRe: Had to change Status to 200 PinmemberNathan Ridley16-Jul-03 13:30 
GeneralRe: Had to change Status to 200 Pinmemberrcolonia19-Jul-03 12:05 
GeneralVery Good Pinmembereugenesun15-Jul-03 1:04 
Generalwired tree behavior Pinmemberiwavelet10-Jul-03 12:01 
GeneralRe: wired tree behavior PinmemberNathan Ridley10-Jul-03 13:29 
GeneralRe: wired tree behavior Pinmemberiwavelet14-Jul-03 6:42 
GeneralClipped checkboxes + SOAP + XML PinsussOla Strandberg26-Jun-03 2:01 
GeneralWhich Versions of IE Pinmemberpobrob25-Jun-03 10:06 
GeneralRe: Which Versions of IE PinmemberNathan Ridley25-Jun-03 13:40 

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