Reading Source Code is Fun!

It’s interesting what you can find when you read the source code of websites!

I was curious to see what’s new at the White House today. I came across a page on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare (after the vote failed March 24). I read the source code to see what interesting—or hidden messages—I could find.

The first thing I noticed was that “fortyfour” appeared 61 times and “fortyfive” zero times. What could this mean? Barack Obama was the 44th President and Donald Trump the 45th.

I noticed that the site was developed in Drupal, so I did some more digging and found that has been a member for 4 years, 5 months, with its first commit posted on August 23, 2012. That would mean that the site dates back to the Obama Administration.

OK, no big deal, but it is interesting that the source code of the White House website references President Obama in a small way and references President Trump not at all.

source code of white house website

Source code of White House website

Part of the website is “Petitions,” which is described in the Drupal Projects, from October 19, 2012, as “President Obama is committed to creating the most open and participatory government in our nation’s history.”

White House Drupal Profile

White House Drupal Profile

I’m glad to see that the Petitions page is still live in President Trump’s Administration and that people are free to express their opinions there. However, it does say that they will keep We The People updated using the “White House Blog,” which, when clicked is “page unavailable.”

Reading the source code of websites is easy. I’m using Google Chrome on a Mac, but the steps are similar no matter the operating system or browser. In Chrome, go to View>>Developer>>View Source. This will bring up the source code of the website in a new window. Happy sourcing!