PHP and MySQL under the hood of a dynamic sports portal

Saven Technologies with its key partner helped a sports portal realise its dream to consolidate and present sports information, broadcast events and conduct electronic commerce for sporting enthusiasts at all levels. At the national level organisations have leveraged the online rich media to connect with the sports fans. However, such parallels are rarely available at the neighbourhood, county, district or the city level. Client wanted to change this, but they needed a cost effective way to deliver such a service. There is revenue potential in a venture of this type but large upfront costs of building a sophisticated sports portal can setback the plans.

This is when Saven Technologies and it partner jumped in to provide a unique value enhancing proposition. They offered the client an open source software solution delivered out of their global competency centre in Hyderabad, India. So the client could now enjoy elimination of big licensing fees and save costs due to the competitive cost structure that offshore delivery allows for.

Core Features:

Client’s portal is an aggregation point for sports information access and content delivery. It’s also a venue for e-commerce. The key features include the following:

  • Live Broadcast of events.
  • Sports Magazine with news and views.
  • Fine grained information on individual sports events and players.
  • Player social networking.
  • Coach Recruiting Network.
  • Match highlights.
  • Exclusive interviews and conversations.
  • Online store.

In terms of a software solution development effort, it translated to implementing the following:

  • A robust content management system.
  • User friendly content layout and presentation.
  • Fine grained access control.
  • Rendering and delivery of rich media artefacts, including videos, flash movies and audio files.
  • An eCommerce catalogue, Online payments and settlement system.
  • Personalization based on user preferences.
  • Live Streaming

In addition it implied the following non-functional but critical requirements:

  • Scalability, especially during surges caused by large user base during popular games.
  • Concurrency during content editing, which the content creators and managers indulge in on an ongoing basis.
  • Atomicity of content access during content update and simultaneous access.
  • Effective simultaneous delivery of video and audio content

The Tools and Libraries:

A combination of PHP and the open web standards, HTML, CSS and JavaScript were used to build the application. At the heart of the server side was a content management system. So, Drupal, a robust open source enterprise grade PHP based content management system was the obvious choice. The team at Saven Technologies is very conversant with Drupal and PHP, therefore quickly adapting and extending the tool to Client’s advantage was easy to do.

  • Rendering module was structured as a configurable template, so that designers and layout managers could own the specifics and not worry about its integration with the content system.
  • Fine grained access control allowed security definitions at every node within the content manager.
  • Data was migrated from legacy systems to this one. Batch jobs are now setup to run on timer driven triggers to keep the disparate data sources synchronized.
  • Dynamic advertisement banners were included and the PHP based web application was embedded with Flash runtime to facilitate video and audio transmission to the user. (Rich technologies like Adobe Flex where not used in this application, Saven Technologies has successfully combined PHP and Flex to create rich engaging interfaces.)

Global Delivery

The entire solution was built out of the Hyderabad, India based global competency center. The center employs some of the brightest web application developers who are adept at crafting high quality output within time and budget. As 

opposed to mass outsourcing, Saven Technologies concentrates on smaller team sizes and specific technology and domain areas to keep a strict quality control over project deliverables. Its employment policies and stringent selection process in its global center in India is no different from its processes in the Americas or in Europe. Saven’s customers have recognized it for this unique and outstanding value proposition within the cost competitive offshore delivery