Can the tag not be self closed?

I had this code in my website

<script type="text/javascript" src=""/>
<script type='text/javascript' src='/lib/player/swfobject.js'></script>

swfobject was not working (not loaded).

After altering the code to:

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type='text/javascript' src='/lib/player/swfobject.js'></script>

It worked fine.

The document was parsed as HTML5.

I think it’s funny. Okay, granted a tag that is closed and a self-closing tag are not the same. So I would understand if jQuery couldn’t load (although I find it ridiciulous).

But what I do not understand is that jQuery loads but the following, correctly written tag, doesn’t?


Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

In HTML, there are tags which are always self-closed. For example, <hr>Some content here</hr> does not make any sense. In the same way, there are tags which cannot be self-closed. <script> tag is one of them.

I am not sure about the reason of no self-closed <script> tags, but the reason might come from the fact that the tag was intended to always contain code inside. Again, I’m not sure.

Method 2

Because it gets parsed as:

Line 1: Start tag for script

<script type="text/javascript" src=""/>

Line 2: JavaScript (really broken JavaScript!) to execute if the external script mentioned on line 1 fails to load

    <script type='text/javascript' src='/lib/player/swfobject.js'>

Line 3: End tag for script started on line 1


Okay, granted a tag that is closed and a self closing tag are not the same.

They are the same (if there is no content), but only in XML documents. An XHTML document served as application/xhtml+xml is an XML document. In an HTML document, thanks to a legacy of improper implementations by browsers, a self-closing tag is just a start tag (and so is only OK when the end tag is forbidden).

Method 3

David Dorward’s answer explains this from one angle, but there is a deeper reason why you can’t do this:

A slash at the end of a tag does not make it self-closing in HTML

The self-closing syntax is part of XML. In a normal HTML document, it has no meaning.

Method 4

@Joe Hopfgartner: Did you alter the code to test if

<script type="text/javascript" src="" />
<script type="text/javascript" src="/lib/player/swfobject.js" />

works? 😉


Run the code and the <p> element gets hidden, so…looks like it works?


<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
<html xmlns="">
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />

<script type="text/javascript" src=""/>
<script type="text/javascript" src="4531772.js"/>


<p class="test">Testing...</p>


JavaScript (4531772.js)

$(document).ready(function() {

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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