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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President 2.0

Posted by on Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 8:11 PM

At roughly the same time PRESIDENT Obama took the oath of office today, change.gov became whitehouse.gov, taking the same "Web 2.0" design and principles from Obama's campaign and transition websites to the website of the new president.

Some noteworthy things about this change:

  • • The website is valid XHTML Transitional*
  • • The previous version of the site had a robots.txt file with 2400 lines of disallow rules. The new site has a single disallow rule.**
  • • All third-party content on the site will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
  • • There's a blog.

These are very nice and all—one a sign of a web team that cares, two are symbols of high-tech transparency, and one is.. a blog—but the real changes are to be found in a blog post announcing the new site and the new administration's policy towards information.

The President's executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review...

Citizen participation will be a priority for the Administration, and the internet will play an important role in that. One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.

Ideally, this would not be remarkable, but it is.

* almost.
** These rules inform search engines which content is not to be indexed. Hat tip to Slog-regular NaFun.

 

Comments (18) RSS

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1
If I can't post comments on the President's blog, why go there?
Posted by elenchos on January 20, 2009 at 9:09 PM · Report this
2
WHAT ABOUT LOW-INCOME FQTBLG WHO DON'T HAVE INTERNET ACCESS? DISABLED DYKES? LESBIANS OF SIZE?

AS LONG AS IT'S SOMETHING GAY WHITE MEN CAN ACCESS, THE REST OF US ARE UNDER THE BUS
Posted by SEXUAL SEPARATIST on January 20, 2009 at 9:48 PM · Report this
3
The robots.txt thing is a cheap shot and I've battled it everywhere I've seen it.

If you look at the long contents of the Bush version of it, it all points to */text directories. Which probably are the text file contents for pages that are displayed as HTML, etc. There's no reason to make the source text files themselves searchable when that White House wanted you to view them on their full multi-media page layouts.

Sure, I want to believe they are hiding something. But really, there's a sound technological reason for what they did.
Posted by amy! on January 20, 2009 at 9:58 PM · Report this
4
The one line of disallow on the Obama robot file is on test only/printer-friendly pages, so it's only intention is to block double pages from appearing.

Posted by Doctor Professor on January 20, 2009 at 10:01 PM · Report this
5
Why link to NaFun and not kottke? NaFun might be your BFF, but he's got the first post here.

And amy!, what are you on about? The fact that they needed to special case every text file shows a profound misunderstanding about graceful degradation, accessibility, etc.

And as some have pointed out, Obama's new page isn't really very semantically meaningful, which isn't a big deal, but isn't really WEB 3.0 BETA OMG either.

Also, JQuery ftw.
Posted by Jason Petersen on January 20, 2009 at 10:20 PM · Report this
6
Democracy By the People, Of the People, and For the People. My My what a novel concept. At last it's happening.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 20, 2009 at 11:29 PM · Report this
7
Netcraft www.whitehouse.gov

92.122.82.135 Linux Apache 17-Jan-2009

However, it's Akamai, which means it could be running anything...

#5: Yeah, I saw that they were using JQuery -- amazing stuff. They have a better customer list than Microsoft these days...
Posted by JQuery Rules (Literally) on January 20, 2009 at 11:29 PM · Report this
8
I feel incredibly stupid right now.

I suppose that's justified.

(Am I the only who is completely baffled by what they're talking about? Sure, I have to type by hitting my forehead against the keyboard, but I didn't think I was THAT dumb.)
Posted by TVDinner on January 20, 2009 at 11:35 PM · Report this
9
Does this mean you guys can remove "The George Bush White House" from the Enemies list?
Posted by Jennifer in Chicago on January 20, 2009 at 11:43 PM · Report this
10
Many websites impress at the time of launch.

Come back in a few months to see if it's still a vital, fresh place to visit, or just another pretty, zombie site.
Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber on January 21, 2009 at 2:53 AM · Report this
11
Why have a fucking robots.txt file at all? Since all this is paid for by the tax payer all of it (with the exception) of national security (in the strictest possible sense) must be searchable and indexable.
Posted by BahHumbug on January 21, 2009 at 5:51 AM · Report this
12
These are very nice and all—one a sign of a web team that cares, two are symbols of high-tech transparency, and one is.. a blog—but the real changes are to be found in a blog post announcing the new site and the new administration's policy towards information.. There's no reason to make the source text files themselves search able when that White House wanted you to view them on their full multi-media page layouts. And as some have pointed out, Obama's new page isn't really very semantically meaningful, which isn't a big deal, but isn't really WEB 3.0 BETA OMG either....
Posted by dini on June 29, 2009 at 3:00 AM · Report this
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