Executive Code When President Joe Biden…

Executive Code

When President Joe Biden took office this week, the official White House website was completely replaced β€” and it’s still using WordPress. Of course, this sparked a public conversation (and also some private ones) about the theme and plugins the revamped whitehouse.gov site is running, among other technical details.

One of the first things noticed was the addition of a dark mode, a high-contrast mode, and a large text mode along with other improvements aimed at inclusivity and accessibility. Prominently displayed on the site is an accessibility statement from the administration that they plan on working toward compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1, level AA criteria.

In terms of performance and page load, the site also appears to do well in Lighthouse scores β€” according to Wes Bos and some of the replies to his tweet.

Like others, I noticed a “hidden message” in the site source code for any developers interested in working in the Biden administration.

Unsurprisingly, the White House site uses a custom theme. The first plugin many spotted was Yoast in the sitemap index XML file. I also noticed fairly quickly the use of Bootstrap at the same time others confirmed the use of Sass and jQuery. The Rest API appears to be locked down.

Dave Amirault, Pagely Director of Marketing, and Jeff Matson documented many of the things that I discovered about the site as well. Check out their post, as it’s a nice collection of observations and theories β€” although not everything on their list is accurate. For example, I’ve been hearing from reliable sources that the site does not use the TablePress plugin. πŸ”Œ

I also observed whitehouse.gov is using WordPress multisite, primarily for the separate language versions of the site. (Currently, these are Spanish and English.)

The site does have its critics. Robert Jacobi notes that the site at launch apparently isn’t “fully functional if an ad blocker is running” although this isn’t completely confirmed yet.

As far as who or what agency was responsible for building the new WordPress site, there has been no official confirmation at the time of this writing. However, if you look at some comments on Twitter and in other spots, fingers point to 10up. πŸ™Œ

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