Obamacare Site Source Code Has Non HIPPA Compliant Comments

Oh the horror.

Truthfully I don’t even know what that title means. Comments in code cannot be HIPPA compliant or not, because they don’t do anything.

As a developer, perhaps I should explain. Software code is often complex. Developers can add “comments” to the code. This is just text that no one sees except the next developer trying to figure out what the code does. It doesn’t appear to the user, it’s not even part of the system at all. It’s the developer equivalent of a sticky note to remember to pick up the laundry.

Different languages have different syntax to indicate a comment. I code mainly in C#. You can put // at the beginning of a line which means the whole line is a comment. Or you can put /* somewhere and everything in the code until */ is a comment (good for really long, multiline comments.

But it’s not always explanatory comments. Sometimes you have a chunk of code, maybe you copied it from somewhere else, and you realize that part of it isn’t applicable. Or maybe you aren’t sure if it’s applicable. So you don’t delete it, you comment it out. Same thing, at that point it’s just not part of the system anymore.

In HTML (basic web site) code, comments always use the code block approach (like /* … */ above). For HTML the syntax is <!–  to start the comment and -–> to end it.

comment

This is the chunk of code that Rep. Joe Barton (R – Tex.) went ballistic over in the house hearings today. The highlighted part in line 1408 is what he objected to (click to zoom). But note the beginning of line 1406 and the end of line 1411. This is a comment block. It was probably boilerplate code used on many sites that the developer commented out. Honestly, I have no clue what it was, but it’s not part of the actual system.

Can we officially state that folks in Congress have no business discussing computer source code?

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