How to check if element exists in the visible DOM?

How do you test an element for existence without the use of the getElementById method? I have setup a live demo for reference. I will also print the code on here as well:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    var getRandomID = function (size) {
            var str = "",
                i = 0,
                chars = "0123456789abcdefghijklmnopqurstuvwxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQURSTUVWXYZ";
            while (i < size) {
                str += chars.substr(Math.floor(Math.random() * 62), 1);
            return str;
        isNull = function (element) {
            var randomID = getRandomID(12),
                savedID = ( : null;
   = randomID;
            var foundElm = document.getElementById(randomID);
            if (savedID !== null) {
       = savedID;
            return (foundElm) ? false : true;
    window.onload = function () {
        var image = document.getElementById("demo");
        console.log('undefined', (typeof image === 'undefined') ? true : false); // false
        console.log('null', (image === null) ? true : false); // false
        console.log('find-by-id', isNull(image)); // false
        console.log('undefined', (typeof image === 'undefined') ? true : false); // false ~ should be true?
        console.log('null', (image === null) ? true : false); // false ~ should be true?
        console.log('find-by-id', isNull(image)); // true ~ correct but there must be a better way than this?
    <div id="demo"></div>

Basically what the above code demonstrates is an element being stored into a variable and then removed from dom. Even though the element has been removed from the dom, the variable retains the element as it was when first declared. In other words, it is not a live reference to the element itself, but rather a replica. As a result, checking the variable's value (the element) for existence will provide an unexpected result.

The isNull function is my attempt to check for an elements existence from a variable, and it works, but I would like to know if there is an easier way to accomplish the same result.

PS: I'm also interested in why JavaScript variables behave like this if anyone knows of some good articles related to the subject.



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