Store Locator Plus 4.8.4 Released Today

In preparation for feature updates to our Premier (checkbox category selectors anyone?), Power, and Experience add ons, the free Store Locator Plus base plugin was updated to version 4.8.4 today.   All of the updates including the premier add on features will be rolled out in MySLP 17.10 to our monthly service users later this month.

Speaking of the MySLP service, for those that haven’t already heard, it is a version of Store Locator Plus that runs on any website or mobile application that supports embedded JavaScript.  That includes WordPress.   Our servers handle all the locator updates, location storage, and the overhead of managing the plugins.   The only thing you need on your WordPress site is to paste a JavaScript embed code in text mode while editing a page or post and the locator magically appears.   You don’t even need the Store Locator Plus plugin or add ons to make it happen.

Back to the Store Locator Plus WordPress plugin update for those that like to have full control and manage their own software and websites…

The following updates have been made in Store Locator Plus 4.8.4:

  • Fix apostrophe in description on editor.
  • Fix admin page detector. Fixes category icon/marker selector for the Power Add On.
  • Fix the admin pages related settings highlight.
  • Clean up some of the admin locations interface elements. Use jQuery base dialogues from Theme Roller.
  • Simplified object loader to reduce overhead.
  • Minor performance improvement on admin page saves.
  • Directory Builder no longer supported, it is part of the Power Add On.
  • Experience 4.8.3 or higher is required.
  • Dropped slp_save_map_settings_inputs filter.
  • A half-dozen old-school style map markers (pin_red, marker, icon_entertainment, bubble_person, box_teal_airport, box_gray_house, arrow) have been removed. They can be added to WP media manager or a newer style selected in its place.

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What’s Baking? Updates for SLP, Power, Experience, Premier

Store Locator Plus updates are ready to roll out for May  2017.   The updates will first come to the WordPress plugins.   MySLP will be updated in the next 3-4 weeks pending testing.   Here is what is coming in this series of updates.

Store Locator Plus

The base plugin that impacts all levels of MySLP service and the Store Locator Plus application stack.

Various updates have been made to allow the Style Gallery to better support additional user experience modifiers available in the Experience and Premier Add On packs.   For example the base plugin now has a Search Form Styles selection that provides access to built-in jQuery styling that makes things like drop down menus and autocomplete features look a little nicer.

The Default style in the Style Gallery has been updated.  You do not need to update the base plugin to take advantage of this update.  If you are already using the Default style select a different style from the Settings / View tab in Store Locator Plus (start with Advaned Options in MySLP) and switch it back to Default to pull the new style from the Style Gallery server.    If you have SLP 4.7.10 it will take advantage of some new HTML attributes to better style the search form layout, especially when dropping labels in front of some input fields on the locator.
Continue reading “What’s Baking? Updates for SLP, Power, Experience, Premier”

Store Locator Plus 4.7.7 Released

Version 4.7.7 of Store Locator Plus was released today.   The primary reason for this release is to patch a plugin activation bug that caused some sites to crash during the update process.   The bug was related to a case sensitivity issue that affected primarily Windows based servers.   If you were seeing an error noting recalculate initial distance as the culprit, this patch should resolve that issue.

In addition the plugin load has been revised using the “Minimalist Loader” best practices.   WordPress plugins can bolster overall performance of a website by including nothing more than the base plugin loader in the top-level directory for that plugin.   That loader file should contain the header information WordPress needs to set the name and version of the plugin and an include that loads the main code from a subdirectory.  The base Store Locator Plus plugin now follows this convention to reduce processing overhead across WordPress.   The more plugins that take this approach the faster your site will be.

General analysis of our plugin performance between versions. We run this as part of our 2017 QA process to ensure we do not introduce code that slows down base performance.

Smaller Payload “Feels” Faster With SLP 4.7.6

Store Locator Plus 4.7.6 is now out for WordPress and will be live later this week on My Store Locator Plus.   One of the bigger “behind-the-scenes” changes was a notable reduction in the JavaScript data request.   This is the part of the locator that is loaded up in a user’s browser every time they visit your locator page.   When the page is loaded the browser sends a request back to the server asking for the locations closest to them.

Prior to version 4.7.6 there were some extra options carried around with that request being sent from the user back to your server.    After reviewing the code we determined that the extra options were not needed to properly handle the location lookup.   We eliminated the extra data which reduced the size of that request to less than half the size it was in any 4.X version of Store Locator Plus.

While we expected a little less data I/O what we didn’t expect was for our performance tests to show notable changes to the time it takes to draw the first location in the results panel.    Running a set of SiteSpeed.IO tests on a standard data set we are seeing regular improvements of 19-42% on various performance metrics.

RUM Speed Index 19% faster down from 2375 to 1985.
First Paint is 31% faster down from 775ms to 589ms.
Backend Time is 52% faster down from 216ms to 152ms.

We’re not sure how this will look in the “real world” but we like unexpected surprises like this!   If your Store Locator Plus implementation “feels faster” with SLP 4.7.6, please share on our Twitter account @LocatorPlus.   If it is slower our Twitter account is @TheOtherLocatorGuys.