The DIY Auto website was launched by TM this week and it’s a project we’re very proud of. This build required us to construct an extensive custom software platform, allowing TM to exercise our technical knowledge and creative expertise. The level of customization involved in the DIY Auto build was extraordinary, so we were excited to get our hands dirty.
A Bump in the Road
Starting as Do-It-Yourself custom car modding forum for auto enthusiasts, DIY Auto was initially built on vBulletin software. vBulletin is a is a flexible software solution out-of-the-box, but it wasn’t quite flexible enough for DIY Auto’s aspirations. They were ready to take their concept to the next level, but no existing web software was capable of delivering their vision.
TM produced a website where users could easily find, share, and fine-tune information about car modification. Its online community functioning as the ultimate resource for car enthusiasts. People no longer needed to browse the web for hours looking for How-To demonstrations; DIY Auto provided one central hub for it all.
Serving as a one-stop-shop for all of their website, business, and online marketing needs, TM consulted with DIY Auto’s team to provide valuable insight on how to monetize their vision, build and grow the DIY Auto brand.
Filling in the Potholes
A website build of this magnitude always presents challenges – but also provides the most rewarding work. Our initial challenge was to decide which platform to build on.
WordPress, a CMS (content management system) we build websites on frequently, was ruled out due to relationship complications between various pieces of data.
It turned out that developing completely custom software on Laravel’s framework was the way to go. Laravel, known as “The PHP Framework For Web Artists” isn’t a CMS; it’s a barebones framework that allows developers to build their own CMS.
The TM team constructed a custom environment specifically tailored to DIY Auto’s vision. We developed an easy-to-use interface where site administrators can easily manage the website, while also allowing users to use and interact without any technical web development knowledge.
Proper Data Execution Was a Must
TM’s biggest challenge, however, was proper data execution. In order to store, organize, and display specific car and modification data based on a multitude of variables and complicated relationships, DIY Auto needed a massive database.
Consider a database full of every vehicle model, car engine, transmission, and all the trimmings. On top of it all, the information needed to be quickly accessible to users, no matter what vehicle information they searched for.
Utilizing Laravel’s Eloquent ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) gave TM the ability to model the database data, set up complicated relationships between the data, and work with the site’s data as a whole. We used AngularJS to dynamically bind all of this data to the front-end interface and have engines, transmissions, and trims switchable from the front-end. AngularJS was also used so the user would have the ability to add and edit information from the front-end of the website.
Delivering a Smooth Ride
Using the DIY Auto website is quite simple.
- Choose a manufacturer &
- Specify the desired model
Once that’s selected, you can edit all of the specs related to your vehicle:
- Performance specs
Each vehicle has a section for “Builds and DIYs,” which are user-submitted articles relating to customization. Browse YouTube videos, articles, reviews, and external links to learn more, or upload your own!
End of the Road
DIY Auto is a community-driven website that has created a better-connected and modernized experience for users and administrators alike. Every part of the website has a relationship with another part, allowing curated information to be presented easily, and provides a wonderful building block to continue to offer customized features for users.
Happy with the completed project, DIY Auto put TM on retainer for brand building, as well as continued website development and customization. The DIY Auto vision has just come to life and we’re excited for what comes next!
If you have a website idea, or an existing website that’s not meeting your expectations, let us know. No matter how simple, or complicated, your project may be – we’re the ones for the job!