Neuron Culture

Political Analysis via HTML

Gotta love this. The geeky (but attractive) blog Radio Bantik: Days in the Life of an Alpha Geek, runs a comparative politico-coding analysis of the  website engineering behind the McCain and Obama websites. Great stuff, brought to my attention by the Columbia Journalism review

I spent some time this morning examining the technology policies of Barack Obama and John McCain. Policies aside, I was immediately struck by the differences between their web sites. So what do the two sites say about the candidates?

Two Different Platforms

The candidates’ platforms could not be more different: JohnMcCain(.com) relies on corporate backing for his web site, which runs on Microsoft Internet Information Server and uses ASP. Barack Obama, in contrast, relies on widespread contributions from the community, in the form of open-source web technologies (PHP and Apache).


Ask McCain’s site for something that it’s not expecting, and it gets very confused. It readily admits that it has no idea what just happened: maybe the page moved, or maybe you mistyped the URL. This could even be the fault of a third-party web site operator. There’s helpful information provided if you happen to be the sysadmin for, but if you’re John Q. Webuser, you’re pretty much out of luck….

Obama’s site is more willing to admit that mistakes happen, and it’s not laying blame on anyone. Hell, it even injects a bit of humor into the thing. The fact that even his 404 page is polished and provides navigation options shows that despite the claims of right-wing rhetoric, Obama is more prepared in case of the unexpected.

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