Athletic-Minded Traveler

Scope: 

Site Building
Custom Features
Visual Design
Web Hosting
Maintenance & Support

Introduction

Athletic-Minded Traveler logoThe Athletic-Minded Traveler (AMT) started in 2005 with the release of a best selling travel guidebook that focused on hotels across North America. Today, AMT has a website that takes the guesswork out of exercising and eating well on the road. Understanding the quality of work out facilities has always been a challenge. Often times you will see a hotel’s website touting that they have a “state of the art” gym but in reality, it turns out to be a small room with just a few work out machines. After researching and visiting thousands of facilities around the world, they have shared the best places for healthy-minded individuals to stay, workout, eat, purchase gear, and have fun traveling in their destination city.

Challenges

The AMT website was built with one of the most reliable, scalable, and secure content management systems, Drupal. In 2016, with the release of Drupal 8, support for Drupal 6 was coming to end. This means that the community at large will no longer be creating new Drupal 6 projects, fixing bugs in existing projects, nor will the security team provide support of Security Advisories for Drupal 6. With security and support being a major concern for the Athletic-Minded Traveler team, upgrading to a later version of Drupal was a necessity.

The target audience for the AMT website are people that are traveling to new destinations. Their users need the ability to look up places to eat, stores to visit, and activities on the move. The previous version of the site was not mobile responsive and this made it very difficult for users to surf the site on the road from their mobile devices. The site was in desperate need of a responsive theme in order to provide the same user experience that users of the desktop website have enjoyed.

Healthy places to eat in San Diego according to AMT

While the AMT website is open for anyone to purchase a subscription to access the content on their site, the organization also has corporate partners. These corporate partners offer access to the website free of charge to their employees. To gain access, employees can use their company usernames and passwords to log on using Single Sign-On (SSO) technology. Its imperative that this workflow continues to work in the new version of the website.

Solutions

In 2016, while Drupal 8’s alpha version was available, there were still a lot of contributed modules that the AMT website utilized that had not been ported to the latest version. With this in mind, Skvare opted to build the new version of the site in Drupal 7. Drupal 7 is the current Long Term Support version of Drupal which means it will continue to get bug fixes and security support until its End of Life. Drupal 7’s end of life is unknown at this point in time, but in the past, the core team maintains the latest two (major) versions of Drupal. Support will most likely end a few months after Drupal 9 is released.

To help provide the infrastructure to make the website theme mobile responsive, Skvare used the Adaptive Theme as a base theme. The adaptive theme provides tools to help set column layouts per breakpoint, re-order how rows are laid out per breakpoint and provides built-in responsive menu styles. Drupal’s theme system allows sub-themes to be created which inherit the parent’s base theme settings. This allows the theme to be customized without touching the theme’s core files. Creating a Drupal sub-theme has its security advantages as well. If the theme developers release a fix, the base theme can be upgraded and the sub-theme will inherit the updates without the need to re-apply your custom theme code.

Adaptive Theme for Drupal's tablet breakpoint configuration page

AMT’s corporate partners have access to the website content with some slight variations. For example, the corporation may choose a “preferred vendor” for some of the cities/categories. These listings are floated to the top of the listings and a flag is applied to identify that they are preferred by the corporation. To access the customized version of the site, users must log in with the company’s SSO service. The corporate partners utilize Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) as the service provider for their Single Sign-On service. To help integrate the service, the SAML Service Provider Drupal 7 module was used to reduce custom development efforts. This module allows for different Identity Providers (IdPs) to be utilized instead of the standard Drupal login. The module provides a configuration page that allows developers to enter the settings and certificate required by the IdP to authenticate, making it easy to update certificates from year to year.

Drupal 7 SAML module configuration page

Other Key Features

Memberships

The Athletic-Minded Traveler website offers expert travel recommendations on where to stay, where to work out, where to eat (healthy), where to buy athletic gear, and attend athletic or fun activities in the US and abroad. Users can choose to sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription or even a temporary subscription that lasts for 3 weeks, perfect for someone that doesn’t travel for business, but wants access to the AMT directory for a planned vacation. The website uses the MoneyScripts Membership module to allow users to sign up and gain access to the content immediately. The module allows website administrators to collect membership dues via popular payment gateways such as PayPal, manage memberships, and provide reports to the AMT staff.

Geocoded maps

When visiting a city that you are unfamiliar with, a map can be your best friend. The AMT website allows for administrators to add pinpoints to an interactive map so the user can get a sense of the exact location of each listing. The Location module allows website admins to simply enter the vendor’s physical address and then geocodes/translates the address to latitude and longitude so it can be mapped. To customize the appearance of the map, Skvare leveraged the Leaflet JS library. There is a Drupal module available that provides Views integration to plot data points on the map and can provide a field formatter that can show a map for fields that contain geospatial data.

Places to eat in San Diego according to Athletic-Minded Traveler

Conclusion

The latest version of the Athletic-Minded Traveler website has been upgraded to a new version of Drupal to comply with the latest security trends and provide growth for the website in years to come. The new responsive design theme allows users to search for listings from their phone and provides the same user experience that they enjoy on their desktop computers. Existing functionality such as single sign-on for their corporate clients, managing memberships, and browsing listings have been updated and utilize contributed modules which are actively maintained and updated. Be sure to visit the AMT website the next time you travel for business or pleasure.

Tags: