NYC & Company Case Study

Case Studies

An Altova customer uses Altova MissionKit tools UModel, DatabaseSpy, DiffDog, and XMLSpy to institute a major company rebranding, and to create a one-of-a-kind, high tech interactive travel and tourism Information Center.

Overview

NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York. Its mission is to maximize travel and tourism opportunities, build economic prosperity, and spread the dynamic image of New York City around the world.

In 2008-2009, the company initiated a major rebranding, redefining their Web presence and launching an interactive multi-media center in Midtown Manhattan. At the center of this transformation, NYC & Company used development tools from the Altova MissionKit - UModel, DiffDog, DatabaseSpy, and XMLSpy.

The NYC & Company Web site and Information Center were created together with online powerhouses Google and Travelocity, reservation sites like Open Table, content providers Time Out, Greenopia.com, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and others.

The Challenge

As the single organization responsible for the marketing and tourism needs of the City of New York, NYC & Company has been tasked with meeting Mayor Bloomberg's January 2006 State of the City goal of luring 50 million visitors by the year 2015 - up from an estimated 43 million in 2006. A large part of the effort behind this push would be manifested in a general Web site rebrand/redesign coupled with the creation of an interactive Information Center.

NYC & Company chose to use existing tools and technologies as much as possible, leveraging their ColdFusion Web site architecture, the Eclipse software development platform, a SQL Server 2005 backend, and the Altova MissionKit. A new content management system was also implemented to manage the large amounts of data and associated workflow.

The Solution

The NYC & Company Web site redesign included a migration from nycvisit.com, which followed a typical convention and visitor bureau site structure, to the much more animated and multi-faceted nycgo.com, a design that promotes the dynamic nature of the resources available and of the city itself.

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nycvisit.com - February 2008

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nycgo.com - September 2009

UML Modeling

The new design components were drawn out as a UML class diagram, expanding on the data model that was created for the live Web site. NYC & Company used Altova UModel to map out the physical structure of nycgo.com, importing their XML Schema definition to ensure adherence to formatting rules.

The class diagram was used to represent the new Web site structure at a high level, and to model the objects that needed to be built into NYC & Company's content management system (CMS). UML design in UModel also enabled the company to generate documentation so that the developers could share the UI design with those not familiar with the intricacies of UML.

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UModel UML Class Diagram of the nycgo Web site

NYC & Company then worked with third party design vendor, HUGE, Inc., to further analyze the UML wire frames and predict user interaction scenarios for the nycgo Web site. Dynamic code was then delivered in JSP, implemented on JRun then subsequently converted to ColdFusion.

Code Differencing

NYC & Company chose to migrate their JSP templates to ColdFusion 8 for its rapid application development capabilities, rich feature set, and intrinsic simplicity.

DiffDog, Altova's diff/merge tool, was an integral part of the development process, helping the development team to ensure that the ColdFusion code was in line with the original JSP. NYC & Company could easily recognize and reconcile any crucial differences using DiffDog's straightforward text comparison interface.

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JSP/CFM code differencing in DiffDog

Database Migration

As part of their rebranding effort, NYC & Company successfully migrated their data from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005.

NYC & Company used Altova DatabaseSpy to connect to the database, structure queries, and for database analysis They also use the integrated SQL Editor to test their more complex SQL queries. This enabled them to do their database management and testing in-house, with non-technical and even non-DBA team members assembling complex SQL scripts with features such as auto-completion, syntax color coding, automatic formatting, and refactoring.

Building Out the Content Management System

NYC & Company used a third party CMS to manage workflow and collaboration for the newly-designed Web site.

The CMS was also modified to output XML feeds. Additionally, content sourced from NYC & Company's partners was validated against an XML Schema and then imported into the CMS. Every night, a scheduled task is initiated that delivers the formatted XML feeds to the interactive data center.

XMLSpy Altova's XML editor, provides NYC & Company with all of its XML editing needs - from validating and saving content, to managing and manipulating it as part of an integrated workflow.

Real-time XML Feeds

The XML feeds that are available on nycgo.com, and the interactive wall kiosks and tables at the Information Center are taken from data submitted by NYC & Company's numerous content partners and provide real-time information about attractions and events all around the city. Once information is accessed at the Information Center, it can be transferred to any mobile device via SMS.

Also at the Center, the walls display touch-screen FAQ stations that inform visitors about top New York City attractions and provide other useful information, like how much to tip a bellhop and places to exchange currency, in English and nine other languages. Visitors can also buy MetroCards and tickets to exhibits, shows and other popular events.

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The same real-time data is also fed to interactive tables, where visitors place a "puck" on a Google map of the city to select their area of interest. They then click on a category (e.g., dining, entertainment, etc.) to get more information.

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The Results

NYC & Company offers the latest in travel and tourism to New York City's visitors, which number well over 40 million in any given year, and provides a wealth of new experiences and up-to-date information to adventurous locals. The innovative new Web site design and interactive Information Center executes state-of-the-art hardware, software, and data management technologies to showcase every aspect of this multi-faceted, dynamic city to tourists from all walks of life and with all sorts of interests.

NYC & Company was able to leverage the Altova MissionKit to manage large amounts of disparate data from a variety of different sources — from the preliminary UML modeling, to code differencing, database management, and XML editing.

Find out how the Altova MissionKit can help with the end-to-end management of all of your data assets.