Penske Media Corporation (PMC) is a leading digital media, publishing, and information services company that engages with audiences across the web, television, mobile, print and social media. PMC publishes more than 22 brands, including the GoldDerby which is a odds and predictions game site for Films and TV Awards.

Project Goal

PMC reached out to Ndevr to help them migrate the GoldDerby website from a custom cakePHP site to their WordPress platform while adhering to WordPress.com VIP coding standard so the site can potentially be hosted on WordPress.com VIP. Ndevr was responsible for developing the gameplay portion.

Challenges

As the gameplay would involve various odds calculations and prediction data, the complexity of the data architecture would go beyond WordPress data system. Custom database tables would have to be created to accommodate the intricacy.

The gameplay site require numerous dynamic content rendering and updating. This would require handle most of the transaction on the front end layer.

The initial requirement was to move the gameplay logic and calculation algorithm as is. However, the legacy logic was developed over many years and would potentially cause performance issues.

While Ndevr was working on the gameplay portion of the site, PMC’s internal development team concurrently worked on migrating other content sections. Both teams needed to be proactive in communications to make sure the code merge process would not cause too much overhead.

Our Solution

Ndevr created a data architecture able to leverage the WordPress database structure while creating the admin workflow necessary for content and data managers. This architecture would need to perform well with the active gameplay and calculation logic requirements.
For dynamic content updates Ndevr implemented custom endpoints using the WP REST API which gives a much more dynamic user experience while creating predictions and other gameplay functionality on the site. In addition to an improved user experience there were significant performance improvements compared to the standard full page refresh.

The Ndevr team also revisited the legacy odds/prediction and calculation logic to design the algorithm that would be more concise and efficient. After extensive investigation by both the developers of the legacy system and Ndevr the team decided Ndevr should re-write the logic from the scratch to enhance the process and the system.

To work concurrently with the PMC’s development team without creating conflicts on merging code, both team communicated any updates or changed frequently. A dedicated slack room was create to be on communication at any time and had weekly status meeting to make sure all the blockers are getting resolves in timely manner. This open communication help minimizing any conflicts that could cause the delay of the project.

Results

One of the primary issues of the former gameplay system was the accuracy and timing of the odds and results. By using a custom-built task manager Ndevr was able to process odds and results at nearly real-time, giving the players an up-to-date view of their games and a better user experience.

Aside from the gameplay user experience benefits, the gameplay editors have an updated administration interface to manage more robust games and contests with greater ease.

From a code management perspective, Ndevr was able to deliver a gameplay codebase which is far more manageable to maintain and add features. This was accomplished by adhering to code quality standards and implementing a process of automated code linting and peer review.