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Here you will find ideas and code straight from the Software Development Team at SportsEngine. Our focus is on building great software products for the world of youth and amateur sports. We are fortunate to be able to combine our love of sports with our passion for writing code.

The SportsEngine application originated in 2006 as a single Ruby on Rails 1.2 application. Today the SportsEngine Platform is composed of more than 20 applications built on Rails and Node.js, forming a service oriented architecture that is poised to scale for the future.

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Anatomy of an Overnight Website

03/28/2011, 3:17pm CDT
By Isaac Sorensen

What did it take to compete in the 2011 'Overnight Website Challenge'?

Phew. That was one crazy, fun and crazy-fun “Overnight Website Challenge” weekend.

After taking most of Sunday “off” to recover from the event, I think I might have enough of a handle on my sleep deprivation to blog somewhat coherently. So, here it goes…

Our crew of 10 designers, developers and copywriters at TST Media teamed with Bloomington United for Youth (BUY) to take on 17 of the best teams in web design and development at this year’s “Overnight Website Challenge” for non-profit organizations. As the 24 sleepless hours came to an end, all 18 deserving non-profits went home tired, but happy, with a professionally crafted new website.

And, along with collaborating to put together an amazing site, The event gave us at TST Media a great opportunity to showcase five of our core values –

  • Be Honorable
  • Cultivate Family
  • Work Hard-Play Hard
  • Value Craftsmanship
  • Leave Everyone in Awe

But, how exactly did we pull off completing an entirely fresh, content-rich website in less than one weekend? Our content management system and innovative design? A cohesive team? The fact we all had matching T-shirts featuring E.T., our 11th man?

Probably all the above, but let’s break it down.

Development. Because the entire team was from TST Media, we work together in close proximity everyday. Instead of spending precious time delegating responsibilities, we were on the same page with process and workflow from the start. Understanding our daily roles at the office helped in transplanting that teamwork to the U of M campus for the 24-hour event.

“It all boiled down to our organization,” said Andy Stevens, developer extraordinaire. “We knew who would be doing what before the challenge even started.”

Design. Through a combination of luck, skill and foresight, were able to accurately anticipate the challenges of the “Overnight Website Challenge.” From there, we embraced the opportunity to start building BUY’s new website from the ground up on the nimble NGIN platform.

Working from scratch, we were able to delegate tasks and the time needed for each individual process. From first developing a moodboard  unique to the organization and then establishing a brand identity to match; our designers we able to replicate and implement that process across the site extremely well…we even hooked them up with a new logo.

“The driving factor behind the BUY logo redesign was reinforcing the idea of many pieces coming together to create a whole new design,” said Drew Doorn, web designer. “I feel that our logo design captures that idea extremely well and displays it in a way that appeals to BUY's target market, the youth of Bloomington.” 

Content. With our development process established, we could create content using tools that were already in place. Our web platform allowed the flexibility to do everything from within the site almost immediately, cutting down on the time it took to migrate content from their old site to the new.

Additionally, working with David and Ishan from BUY really infused passion and brand knowledge. Along with being two good dudes, they were great at creating rich copy on the fly.

“Based on their knowledge, we were able to smoothly and swiftly incorporate our copy into the design elements,” said Libby Hewitt, lead content creator and ahi tuna expert (you find a lot out about a person when sitting next to them all weekend long).

IdentityStores, the secret weapon.  In the quiet and early hours Sunday morning, TST Media and BUY weren’t alone in their make-shift home of folding tables and masking-tape. As part of our unique fundraising functionality for the site, we’ve teamed with IdentityStores, the new online one-stop shop for BUY apparel. In fact, with a much-needed 2 a.m morale boost, John Michaelson of ID Stores not only swung by with newly-created BUY swag, but a veggie tray to boot.

Coming up in the clutch. Nice.

So there you have it…

Finally, thanks so much for all the amazing, humbling and oh-so appreciated support from all of our friends on Facebook and Twitter. When that countdown timer seemed to start laughing at us, you guys truly helped pull us through.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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