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The Document Object Model (DOM) is an object-oriented representation of the web page, representing the document as nodes and objects (HTML tags), which can be modified with a scripting language.
DOM is a programming API for HTML and XML documents.
The DOM is created when the webpage loads inside the browsers, HTML you write is parsed by the browser and turned into the DOM.
So, if you are using Ajax to get content from elsewhere, the DOM is going to be very different than your original HTML, similar happens with client side templating.