Unnecessary HTTP requests happen in Internet Explorer, but not in Firefox. In Internet Explorer, if an external script is included twice and is not cacheable, it generates two HTTP requests during page loading. Even if the script is cacheable, extra HTTP requests occur when the user reloads the page.
One way to avoid accidentally including the same script twice is to implement a script management module in your templating system. The typical way to include a script is to use the SCRIPT tag in your HTML page.
An alternative in PHP would be to create a function called
<?php insertScript("menu.js") ?>
In addition to preventing the same script from being inserted multiple times, this function could handle other issues with scripts, such as dependency checking and adding version numbers to script filenames to support far future Expires headers.
[Steve Souders is Yahoo!'s Chief Performance Yahoo!. This is one in a series of Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site. This article is based on Steve's book High Performance Web Sites, published by O'Reilly.]