← 4.3 ScriptingTable of contents4.3.2 The noscript element →
      1. 4.3.1 The script element
        1. Scripting languages
        2. Restrictions for contents of script elements
        3. Inline documentation for external scripts

4.3.1 The script element

Metadata content.
Flow content.
Phrasing content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where metadata content is expected.
Where phrasing content is expected.
Content model:
If there is no src attribute, depends on the value of the type attribute, but must match script content restrictions.
If there is a src attribute, the element must be either empty or contain only script documentation that also matches script content restrictions.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
interface HTMLScriptElement : HTMLElement {
           attribute DOMString src;
           attribute boolean async;
           attribute boolean defer;
           attribute DOMString type;
           attribute DOMString charset;
           attribute DOMString text;

The script element allows authors to include dynamic script and data blocks in their documents. The element does not represent content for the user.

When used to include dynamic scripts, the scripts may either be embedded inline or may be imported from an external file using the src attribute. If the language is not that described by "text/javascript", then the type attribute must be present, as described below. Whatever language is used, the contents of the script element must conform with the requirements of that language's specification.

When used to include data blocks (as opposed to scripts), the data must be embedded inline, the format of the data must be given using the type attribute, the src attribute must not be specified, and the contents of the script element must conform to the requirements defined for the format used.

The type attribute gives the language of the script or format of the data. If the attribute is present, its value must be a valid MIME type. The charset parameter must not be specified. The default, which is used if the attribute is absent, is "text/javascript".

The src attribute, if specified, gives the address of the external script resource to use. The value of the attribute must be a valid non-empty URL potentially surrounded by spaces identifying a script resource of the type given by the type attribute, if the attribute is present, or of the type "text/javascript", if the attribute is absent. A resource is a script resource of a given type if that type identifies a scripting language and the resource conforms with the requirements of that language's specification.

The charset attribute gives the character encoding of the external script resource. The attribute must not be specified if the src attribute is not present. If the attribute is set, its value must be a valid character encoding name, must be an ASCII case-insensitive match for the preferred MIME name for that encoding, and must match the encoding given in the charset parameter of the Content-Type metadata of the external file, if any. [IANACHARSET]

The async and defer attributes are boolean attributes that indicate how the script should be executed. The defer and async attributes must not be specified if the src attribute is not present.

There are three possible modes that can be selected using these attributes. If the async attribute is present, then the script will be executed asynchronously, as soon as it is available. If the async attribute is not present but the defer attribute is present, then the script is executed when the page has finished parsing. If neither attribute is present, then the script is fetched and executed immediately, before the user agent continues parsing the page.

The exact processing details for these attributes are, for mostly historical reasons, somewhat non-trivial, involving a number of aspects of HTML. The implementation requirements are therefore by necessity scattered throughout the specification. The algorithms below (in this section) describe the core of this processing, but these algorithms reference and are referenced by the parsing rules for script start and end tags in HTML, in foreign content, and in XML, the rules for the document.write() method, the handling of scripting, etc.

The defer attribute may be specified even if the async attribute is specified, to cause legacy Web browsers that only support defer (and not async) to fall back to the defer behavior instead of the synchronous blocking behavior that is the default.

Changing the src, type, charset, async, and defer attributes dynamically has no direct effect; these attribute are only used at specific times described below.

The IDL attributes src, type, charset, and defer, each must reflect the respective content attributes of the same name.

The async IDL attribute controls whether the element will execute asynchronously or not. If the element's "force-async" flag is set, then, on getting, the async IDL attribute must return true, and on setting, the "force-async" flag must first be unset, and then the content attribute must be removed if the IDL attribute's new value is false, and must be set to the empty string if the IDL attribute's new value is true. If the element's "force-async" flag is not set, the IDL attribute must reflect the async content attribute.

script . text [ = value ]

Returns the contents of the element, ignoring child nodes that aren't text nodes.

Can be set, to replace the element's children with the given value.

When inserted using the document.write() method, script elements execute (typically synchronously), but when inserted using innerHTML and outerHTML attributes, they do not execute at all.

In this example, two script elements are used. One embeds an external script, and the other includes some data.

<script src="game-engine.js"></script>
<script type="text/x-game-map">

The data in this case might be used by the script to generate the map of a video game. The data doesn't have to be used that way, though; maybe the map data is actually embedded in other parts of the page's markup, and the data block here is just used by the site's search engine to help users who are looking for particular features in their game maps.

The following sample shows how a script element can be used to define a function that is then used by other parts of the document. It also shows how a script element can be used to invoke script while the document is being parsed, in this case to initialize the form's output.

 function calculate(form) {
   var price = 52000;
   if (form.elements.brakes.checked)
     price += 1000;
   if (form.elements.radio.checked)
     price += 2500;
   if (form.elements.turbo.checked)
     price += 5000;
   if (form.elements.sticker.checked)
     price += 250;
   form.elements.result.value = price;
<form name="pricecalc" onsubmit="return false" onchange="calculate(this)">
  <legend>Work out the price of your car</legend>
  <p>Base cost: £52000.</p>
  <p>Select additional options:</p>
   <li><label><input type=checkbox name=brakes> Ceramic brakes (£1000)</label></li>
   <li><label><input type=checkbox name=radio> Satellite radio (£2500)</label></li>
   <li><label><input type=checkbox name=turbo> Turbo charger (£5000)</label></li>
   <li><label><input type=checkbox name=sticker> "XZ" sticker (£250)</label></li>
  <p>Total: £<output name=result></output></p>
</form> Scripting languages

The following lists some MIME type strings and the languages to which they refer:

JavaScript. [ECMA262]
JavaScript with ECMAScript for XML. [ECMA357] Restrictions for contents of script elements

The textContent of a script element must match the script production in the following ABNF, the character set for which is Unicode. [ABNF]

script        = data1 *( escape [ script-start data3 ] "-->" data1 ) [ escape ]
escape        = "<!--" data2 *( script-start data3 script-end data2 )

data1         = <any string that doesn't contain a substring that matches not-data1>
not-data1     = "<!--"             

data2         = <any string that doesn't contain a substring that matches not-data2>
not-data2     = script-start / "-->"  

data3         = <any string that doesn't contain a substring that matches not-data3>
not-data3     = script-end / "-->"

script-start  = lt       s c r i p t tag-end
script-end    = lt slash s c r i p t tag-end

lt            =  %x003C ; U+003C LESS-THAN SIGN character (<)
slash         =  %x002F ; U+002F SOLIDUS character (/)

s             =  %x0053 ; U+0053 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER S
s             =/ %x0073 ; U+0073 LATIN SMALL LETTER S
c             =  %x0043 ; U+0043 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER C
c             =/ %x0063 ; U+0063 LATIN SMALL LETTER C
r             =  %x0052 ; U+0052 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER R
r             =/ %x0072 ; U+0072 LATIN SMALL LETTER R
i             =  %x0049 ; U+0049 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER I
i             =/ %x0069 ; U+0069 LATIN SMALL LETTER I
p             =  %x0050 ; U+0050 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER P
p             =/ %x0070 ; U+0070 LATIN SMALL LETTER P
t             =  %x0054 ; U+0054 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER T
t             =/ %x0074 ; U+0074 LATIN SMALL LETTER T

tag-end       =  %x0009 ; U+0009 CHARACTER TABULATION (tab)
tag-end       =/ %x000A ; U+000A LINE FEED (LF)
tag-end       =/ %x000C ; U+000C FORM FEED (FF)
tag-end       =/ %x0020 ; U+0020 SPACE
tag-end       =/ %x002F ; U+002F SOLIDUS (/)
tag-end       =/ %x003E ; U+003E GREATER-THAN SIGN (>)

When a script element contains script documentation, there are further restrictions on the contents of the element, as described in the section below. Inline documentation for external scripts

If a script element's src attribute is specified, then the contents of the script element, if any, must be such that the value of the text IDL attribute, which is derived from the element's contents, matches the documentation production in the following ABNF, the character set for which is Unicode. [ABNF]

documentation = *( *( space / tab / comment ) [ line-comment ] newline )
comment       = slash star *( not-star / star not-slash ) 1*star slash
line-comment  = slash slash *not-newline

; characters
tab           = %x0009 ; U+0009 CHARACTER TABULATION (tab)
newline       = %x000A ; U+000A LINE FEED (LF)
space         = %x0020 ; U+0020 SPACE
star          = %x002A ; U+002A ASTERISK (*)
slash         = %x002F ; U+002F SOLIDUS (/)
not-newline   = %x0000-0009 / %x000B-10FFFF
                ; a Unicode character other than U+000A LINE FEED (LF)
not-star      = %x0000-0029 / %x002B-10FFFF
                ; a Unicode character other than U+002A ASTERISK (*)
not-slash     = %x0000-002E / %x0030-10FFFF
                ; a Unicode character other than U+002F SOLIDUS (/)

This corresponds to putting the contents of the element in JavaScript comments.

This requirement is in addition to the earlier restrictions on the syntax of contents of script elements.

This allows authors to include documentation, such as license information or API information, inside their documents while still referring to external script files. The syntax is constrained so that authors don't accidentally include what looks like valid script while also providing a src attribute.

<script src="cool-effects.js">
 // create new instances using:
 //    var e = new Effect();
 // start the effect using .play, stop using .stop:
 //    e.play();
 //    e.stop();