Presidential Campaign Analysis
My analysis of DNC and RNC websites as part of “Secrets In Websites” early in the year was (surprisingly) a rather popular topic, so I thought I’d do a little analysis of the popular presidential candidates for the geeks who found that interesting. It’s a little long as there are quite a few candidates out there.
It’s an interesting analysis but I wouldn’t base much on it. I don’t know if a candidates use of open source vs. a proprietary vendor says anything about their positions on patents, copyrights, DRM, net neutrality, or not. I do however think the content and depth of their site says a little bit about how they view the internet as an effective medium to reach potential voters.
I decided to take the time to do the research simply because it’s interesting to see high profile uses of technology, especially open source and I know I’m not the only one.
This is accurate as of Nov 24, 2007 (see “Data Collection” below for more info).
|Hillary Clinton||Microsoft-IIS/6.0 ASP.NET||Unknown|
|John Edwards||Apache on Unknown||Arcos for CMS.|
|Barack Obama||PWS/1.1.29 (please tell me that’s not Personal Web Server!)||PHP|
|Joe Biden||Zope/(Zope 2.7.8-final, python 2.3.5, linux2) ZServer/1.1||?Python?/PHP|
|Chris Dodd||Apache/2.2.3 (Debian) PHP/5.2.0-8+etch7||PHP (looks like Drupal)|
|Mike Gravel||Apache/2 on Unknown||PHP (looks like Drupal)|
|Dennis Kucinich||Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat)||PHP/5.0.4|
|Bill Richardson||Zope/(Zope 2.7.8-final, python 2.3.6, linux2) ZServer/1.1||PHP (looks like Drupal)|
|Candidate||Markup||Layout||Charset||HTTP Compression||Syndication Format|
|Hillary Clinton||HTML4 Trans||CSS||UTF-8||No.||ATOM|
|John Edwards||HTML4 Trans||CSS||UTF-8||No||RSS2|
|Barack Obama||HTML4 Trans||CSS||ISO-8859-1||Yes||—|
|Joe Biden||XHTML Trans||CSS||UTF-8||No||RSS2 via (not via
|Chris Dodd||XHTML Trans||CSS||UTF-8||No||RSS2|
|Mike Gravel||XHTML Trans||Mostly table based layout||ISO-8859-1||Yes||—|
|Dennis Kucinich||XHTML Trans||Mostly CSS based||ISO-8859-1||No||—|
|Bill Richardson||XHTML Trans||CSS||ISO-8859-1||Yes||RSS2|
|Candidate||Analytics||Notable Library Usage||Other Notes|
|Hillary Clinton||Google Analytics in the
||Prototype (commented out), SWFObject.||—|
|John Edwards||Google Analytics on the bottom of the page.||Prototype||Interestingly, John Edwards has a rather prominent note about the use of Creative Commons Licensing in the footer. The only candidate to do so.|
|Barack Obama||Google Analytics on the bottom of the page.||—||—|
|Joe Biden||Sitemeter on the bottom of the page.||SWFObject||—|
|Chris Dodd||Google Analytics in the head of the page.||jQuery||Chris Dodd seems to be part of the whole “drop the ‘www'” campaign. The only site that insists on redirecting to the non www url.|
|Bill Richardson||Google Analytics on the bottom of the page.||Prototype, SWFObject||—|
|Rudy Guliani||Apache/2.0.52 (CentOS)||PHP/5.1.6 (CakePHP)|
|Mitt Romney||Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat)||—|
WordPress (with podpress plugin)
|Tom Tancredo||Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat)||PHP/5.2.1
|Ron Paul||Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat)||PHP/5.2.5 (MoonPHP)|
|Candidate||Markup||CSS||Charset||HTTP Compression||Syndication Format|
|Rudy Guliani||XHTML Strict||CSS layout||UTF-8||No.||RDF (FeedCreator 1.7.2)|
|John McCain||XHTML (NO DOCTYPE)||CSS||ISO-8859-1||Yes||RSS2|
|Mitt Romney||XHTML Trans||CSS||ISO-8859-1||No||RSS2|
|Fred Thompson||XHTML Trans||CSS||UTF-8||No||RSS2 (via feedburner)|
|Mike Huckabee||XHTML Transitional / CSS layout||UTF-8||No||RSS2|
|Duncan Hunter||XHTML (No Doctype)||CSS||ISO-8859-1||No||—|
|Tom Tancredo||XHTML Trans||CSS||ISO-8859-1||No||Atom (found on blog)|
|Ron Paul||XHTML Trans||CSS||UTF-8||No||Atom /RSS (on blog with atom first)|
|Candidate||Analytics||Notable Library Usage||Other Notes|
|Rudy Guliani||Google Analytics and Quantcast on the bottom of the page.||Prototype, Scriptaculous||Interestingly has a Mobile CSS on the home page. Also no real “blog” since the blog mostly seems to point to other places.|
|John McCain||Hitbox on the bottom of the page.||—||Seems to have markup generated with Dreamweaver. See notes below on that. Also seems to be using a page scraper to static cache the home page as “PageScraperService” is seen on the bottom.|
|Mitt Romney||Omniture on the bottom of the page.||mootools||See notes below about analytics|
|Fred Thompson||Google Analytics (strangely loaded via SSL) in the head of the page.||JW FLV PLAYER||—|
|Mike Huckabee||Google Analytics on the bottom of the page.||SWFObject, Prototype.js, Scriptaculous||—|
|Duncan Hunter||—||ypSlideOutMenu||Seems to have markup generated with Dreamweaver. See notes below on that.|
|Tom Tancredo||Google Analytics and Quantcast on the bottom of the page.||Prototype, Scriptaculous||—|
|Ron Paul||Google Analytics on the bottom of the page.||Unobtrusive Flash Objects, Simple AJAX Code-Kit||—|
Dreamweaver: Surprisingly, there are a few sites in the mix that seem to have been made with Dreamweaver. The telltale sign is the following code:
Analytics: I included this because I found it particularly interesting. For a few reasons:
- Some use free services like Google Analytics (boy does Google know a lot about all the candidates traffic), some go open (Quantcast) and some apparently use server logs only.
- Positioning of the analytics code in the footer, which ensures a pageview means the entire page loaded, vs. the top where it’s possible a pageview is counted and a full page didn’t load but shows intent better. Both practices are common on the web, it’s a matter of preference.
- Some I saw even used Quantcast. This was very interesting as they give a fair amount of data regarding the traffic. For example Rudy Giuliani‘s traffic is currently:
fairly wealthy, more educated, slightly more female than male crowd.
Data collection method: The data for this blog post was mostly done on the evening of November 24, 2007 by myself. The character set was however Firefox 2.0.0.x interprets the page. HTML validation was checked by submitting to the W3C validator. All other analysis was done by eye. Some things were a little bit of a judgment call, such as CSS layout. I didn’t generally penalize if a table was used, it depends how it was used, and the context. I viewed source on all of them, and spent some time looking around while collecting data. I didn’t view every page on every site, since that would drive me insane. Most of the data is based on the homepages unless otherwise specified.
Hope you enjoyed my web analysis
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