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It’s no secret that the rollout of, the site that is supposed to enable consumers to purchase health insurance under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, has been dismal. It seems very few users have been able to purchase insurance. So what went wrong from a development perspective?

The problem doesn’t appear to be a lack of funding. So far, development on the has cost more than $300 million—far, far more than most private sector Web development projects. With that money, the government hired 55 different contractors, and perhaps that led to part of the problem. Managing work performed by that many different developers is a gargantuan task in itself.

Writing for SDTimes, Larry O Brien notes, “An initial analysis of the static part of the website shows mistakes both trivial (too many connections downloading non-minified JavaScript) and petty (removing attribution in the Open Table library, a violation of its GPL v2 and BSD licenses).” He adds, “The finger-pointing has begun and things are obscure, but one theme seems to be a lack of integration testing between the Jekyll-generated front end, an identity validation module (provided by Experian), and CGI Federal’s components. There’s also the usual nonsense, from the disingenuous (‘We were shocked—Shocked!—to discover the requirements were incomplete’) to the perverse (people claiming that the project was underfunded).”

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