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October 1, 2008

Frommer's Community

After 11 years of using Web Crossing, Frommers.com expanded its community today by migrating over to Pluck. Instead of just message boards, the new suite added blogs, photos and video (coming in the future). It also integrated other portions of the site such as commenting and recommending of articles.

After researching a couple of vendors, Pluck turned out to be the best choice for the site. Technically, it was the most difficult to implement, but it was more important to develop correctly than plug into a quick out-of-the-box solution that would limit things in the future. The technologies used were JavaScript widgets, Direct Access API (DAAPI) and Representational State Transfer (REST) via ColdFusion. Customization was very technical as changes depended heavily on injecting code or overriding existing CSS. It helped that Frommers.com ran on ColdFusion technology because that opened up the options to solving each problem to going with either JavaScript or CFML.

Such a large addition to the site without a full redesign presented a problem because it had so many modules and there was no way to fit everything into the currrent 800x600 design. The Community section was expanded to 1024x768, but with only a subtle change to the top navigation to avoid disrupting user experience as people clicked into and out of the new section. It's essentially the same, but ther was more space added to the left and right of the row of section buttons. The buttons then had left and right edge definitions added.

Related: Frommers.com Community, Pluck Sitelife

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