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Parkour Generations

Drupal Version 
Brief Overview 

The whole research, design and development process has been an absolute blast and we are now huge Drupal fans that will always recommend to anyone wanting to know. It has a great community and there is always help in the right places. Drupal is the way forward for real websites with real needs. Its the powerhouse in the CMS world.

Launch or Publication Date 
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Parkour Generations
Key Modules, Theme, and Distribution Used 
Views Ubercart GCal Events Flickr ImageCache MailChimp Backup and Migrate Colorbox Conditional Stylesheets Mollom Pathauto Profile pictures Redirect 403 to User Login Scheduler Secure Password Hashes Switchtheme Token Signup jQuery UI jQuery Update Wysiwyg Webform GMapEZ
Why these Modules, Theme, and Distribution were Chosen 

Among the key technologies that we incorporated into our website design were Drupal 6.20 and the 960 Grid system. Since it has a vast array of different sections, areas, features and functions it required a large number of modules to address each particular challenge.

Owner's Name 
Parkour Generations
Development Company 
Andy P.
Why Drupal Was Chosen 
As with many small companies, our original website didn't use a CMS and started to become more and more difficult to maintain over time. After exhaustive comparisons against other contenders, we decided to jump straight into the deep-end with Drupal. The primary features that we required in the management system included having good revision control, scalable architecture and a framework that allowed for complete customisation. Happily, Drupal delivered on all fronts and we're more than happy with the results.
Describe the Project (Goals, Requirements, and Outcome) 

 

Custom Modules

On top of contributed modules, we had to develop some custom modules to allow us to have features that we hadn't seen before. The most prominent being the 'youtube_embedder' module. The nature of our business involves a great deal of user submitted videos on YouTube that features Parkour practitioners displaying their skills. Rather than having to search on YouTube for relevant videos we wanted to build our own ecosystem of videos that anyone could submit to. We developed a method of tapping into the Google APIs and JSON interfaces to retrieve specific results that returned a large number of YouTube videos that could be displayed directly on our website. These searches are completely customisable and allow us to host many types of playlists, favourites, profiles and individual videos. It still needs improvements to add extended functionality but at it's core it is a very powerful module to incorporate blocks of YouTube videos. You can see the results of this module by heading over to the video section.

The Front Page

The most technically challenging part of the front page was, for obvious reasons, the slideshow. Combining some of the technical wizardry from Chris Coyer at http://css-tricks.com, some heavy customisation code along with Views integration, the slideshow works very well. It allows anyone with permissions to add new slideshow content with an image, title, article reference or external link. Additionally, they can pick a 'Panel' location, colour and opacity to float text over the top of the images. This is all picked up by views and output in a specific structure to allow the jQuery code to do its business.

The homepage also uses GCal to link to three individual google calendars that host all of our class, events and seminar timetables.

Other Hurdles

Class Bookings

One of the more notable challenges was developing the academy class bookings. We have daily classes that our customers can book online which allows us to determine numbers of attendees and how many instructors we will require. The 'Signup' module was finally used for the core of this functionality and works in conjunction with Views to display a list of current and scheduled classes.

Global Community

We have a thriving global community within the Parkour world and wanted to house a central location where everyone could be represented. Each global community can have an account with additional profile fields that allow them to input details (Name, logo, links, descriptions, location) on their groups, teams and companies. All of the groups are then displayed and listed using all of the collective data. We also used the GMapEZ module to display a custom world map with everyone's exact location. Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks we have encountered is that since Views is obtaining all of the data from user profiles we cannot add comments to each global community page. This will be one of the future improvements that may require us to convert these users into nodes to allow for comment ability.

Gallery

Every gallery image is hosted on our Flickr Pro account and dynamically retrieved to be embedded into the website. Whenever a new image appears in one of our sets or public pools on Flickr it will appear on the Parkour Generations gallery pages automatically. There have been some performance concerns that at this time will need to be addressed so that a form of caching is used to keep the images on site.
Since we can make custom lists of Flickr images we can also create 'Exhibitions' that are a mashup of photos and sets from any Flickr image on the Internet. Again, this is a very powerful tool to have on the website.

The Only Hiccup

The only real stumbling block that we have encountered is a clear, consise method for migrating servers and more importantly, databases. Once all of the coding and testing had been done there was a lack of knowledge behind real-world cases of moving from a development server to live. For newcomers this can be a very daunting and stressful experience that I believe the Drupal community could help remedy the situation. This is not actually a Drupal issue but rather an overall website issue that all web architects will have to encounter sooner or later.

The Final Review

The whole research, design and development process has been an absolute blast and we are now huge Drupal fans that will always recommend to anyone wanting to know. It has a great community and there is always help in the right places. Drupal is the way forward for real websites with real needs. Its the powerhouse in the CMS world.

Type of Nomination 
Website