[html5] Abbreviated title tags render a blank background?

Jukka K. Korpela jukka.k.korpela at kolumbus.fi
Mon Apr 11 02:20:22 PDT 2011

Nathan Neff wrote:

> I have a simple HTML page that has a blank <title> element that's
> expressed using <title />
> This is probably incorrect/invalid (x)HTML.

It is invalid in HTML 4.01 and predecessors. It is valid in XHTML 1.0 and 
relatives but not recommended - this shorthand should be used only for 
elements with EMPTY declared contents (i.e. elements that _must_ have empty 
contents by the syntax).

If you add the xmlns attribute as required by XHTML 1.0 and serve the 
document as application/xhtml+xml, then e.g. Firefox 4 correctly processes 
it by the XHTML 1.0 book, treating <title /> as equivalent to 

So things get rather complicated. The morale is: use <title></title>. Or, 
better still, a title element with suitable contents. (Even test documents 
benefit from it - or you benefit, when you play with minimized windows or 
tabs, showing the title element contents.) In HTML5, you could even omit the 
<title> element altogether, though this is not recommended for general use.

> <html>
>    <head>
> <title />
>    </head>
>    <body>
> If you <br />see this body, you're probably not using Chrome or
> Firefox 4. Chrome and Firefox 4 do not show this text.
>    </body>
> </html>
> Firefox 4 and Google Chrome only render a blank background.

They treat <title /> basically as <title> and all the rest as the contents 
of the <title> element.

> Is this behavior a rule of HTML 5?

As far as I can see (and the parsing rules are somewhat complex, for me at 
least), HTML 5 prescribes processing of <title> element content as raw text 
data, so yes. The element is only closed by an explicit </title> tag. If I'm 
not mistaken, this also applies to XHTML serialization of HTML 5.

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/ 

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