Updates To Address WordPress 4.8.2 Issues

WordPress 4.8.2 was automatically updated on millions of websites worldwide yesterday.  Some of those sites, including those using the Power add on for Store Locator Plus, lost functionality of some key features during the update.    Today, our WordPress plugins Store Locator Plus 4.8.6 and Power Add On 4.8.6 have been released to address these issues.

We are also testing and getting ready to launch MySLP 17.10 with these updates for our managed MySLP service users to ensure the security patches made in the core platform make it onto our dashboard.

Fixing Your Install

Most Store Locator Plus sites will only experience minor feature loss such as category filtering on locations no longer working properly.   Upgrade to the latest Store Locator Plus 4.8.6 or higher release then update the Power add on to 4.8.6 or  higher.

What Changed?

WordPress 4.8.2 secured internal database queries and in doing so disabled a basic data query lookup that imposed no security risks.  However the change broke some parts of Store Locator Plus.    The Store Locator Plus code was updated to match the new WordPress 4.8.2 data query specification.

WordPress 4.8.2 Impact

Some users have upgraded Store Locator Plus in the past 48 hours and think their website broke due to the Store Locator Plus plugin update.    Unfortunately more plugins and themes than just Store Locator Plus have stopped working with the WordPress 4.8.2 automatic update.  If you disabled the Store Locator Plus plugin and your site is still not working you need to enable the debug logging on your WordPress site and talk to other plugin and theme developers that may have been impacted by this change.

MySLP users will not be impacted by these unrelated changes unless they are deploying the managed locator service on a WordPress site that uses a plugin or theme not compatible with WordPress 4.8.2.

Category Checkboxes In Locator 4.8.4

Store Locator Plus adds the ability to select categories of locations using checkboxes with the Premier add on and Power add on installed.

For WordPress plugin users, you will need an active Premier Subscription to enable the new feature.  It will also require SLP, Power, and Premier to be updated to version 4.8.4 or higher.

MySLP Enterprise level users will be getting these updates in the 17.10 upgrade to the service later this month.

Premier + Power = Category checkboxes with 4.8.4

Related Updates

The Power add on category manager map marker and icon selector has been fixed.

The Premier add on results pagination has been fixed.

 

MySLP Service Levels

Power includes the Power add on features.

Enterprise includes the Power, Experience, and Premier add on features.

MySLP updates are coordinates as part of our monthly maintenance plan.   MySLP users will automatically get the patches and new features.

A Note About Migrating And Updating A WordPress Site

For those of you using the Store Locator Plus WordPress Plugins (WPSLP) , here is something to be aware of when migrating and upgrading sites.    The correct process is to first MIGRATE the Store Locator Plus installation THEN update the plugins.

Some site administrators are first installing the latest version of the WPSLP plugin stack on the new site THEN bringing over the data.   This can cause some settings to start “seeing ghosts”.   This will manifest itself in unanticipated ways, such as the map behaving as the old setting is active when it is not set on the admin settings interface.

Details

This particular issue cost me some time when testing new features with the Experience 4.8.3 update coming out later this week.     I was playing with the show/hide home marker at startup feature but despite havign unchecked that box it still behaved as if it was enabled (not showing the home marker when the map loads).

It turns out that my settings had not “migrated” from the old-school serialized options to the newer Smart Options architecture.      If the old serialized options are still in the data they will take precedence.  This is by design to avoid backward compatibility issues.

Normally when you install a newer version of an SLP add on, such as the Experience add on, it will detect the new Smart Option then locate the legacy option to get the value of the setting and delete it.  From this point on the Smart Option is the only setting in play.   Everything will work by “magic”.

However if you first upgrade the plugins then port your data over from an older system you are also bringing over the add on version data.    Since much of WordPress, including our add ons and plugins, rely on accurate version data to trigger events (or more importantly to NOT keep running events over-and-over again that should only happen ONCE during an upgrade) this will skip things like settings being upgraded from “legacy” to Smart Options.

What Is “Data”

For WPSLP users the data that you migrate is both the location data, including all relevant category mapping and extended data table, plus select rows from the WP_Options table that store the settings for the SLP add ons.    When migrating your sites first make sure you bring over all the proper data values THEN install the same version of your SLP plugins, then update the plugins to ensure all the data values follow the proper migration path.

This should be the standard process for ANY site migration as many plugins and themes use data migration and upgrade techniques similar to those found in SLP.  We did not invent these techniques, in fact much of what we build into our architecture come from WordPress veterans.    You will find our methodologies in many other WordPress products.

For MySLP Users

This does not apply to MySLP service users.    We manage the settings and installation for you and since you only need to worry about deploying your JavaScript snippet there is no “site migration”, just paste your JavaScript code on the new site and you are ready-to-go.

Tweaking The Locator Style

A new video that highlights how to change the locator style as we continue our MySLP Weebly example for the South Carolina Ice Cream Quest 2017 site has been posted.   You can follow along with the sister article on the our SLP Documentation site.     The content is also applicable to WordPress plugin users that have the Experience add on.

 

How Caching Can Break Websites After Updates

Caching of your site tends to create a superior user experience as pages are served to your site visitors more quickly.  In the modern technological world of “NOW!”, where we expect our requests from technology to delivery immediately, anything that takes longer than a few seconds to deliver what the user asked for is considered slow, useless, or obsolete.

Caching of live WordPress sites is something that used to be a rare occurence.   With more informative articles, better hosting companies, and the user community “leveling up” their technical expertise, caching of WordPress sites has become more commonplace than ever before.   That is a good thing.

Many other web presence services and hosting companies have deployed caching for years.    Some are more advanced than others with their deployment process.   The better web presence platforms will manage flushing the cache for you.

If you are managing your own hosting and caching solutions here are some things we’ve encountered on our own WordPress sites and MySLP deployments.

Security or Proxy Service Caches

A security or proxy service is a “website request agent” that sits between your site and the real world.   It is like the bouncer that only lets the “good people” gain access to your site.    Many, like Sucuri, also have performance options built in.   These “performance” settings are a proxy cache.   They store a copy of the non-dynamic pieces of a website like CSS and sometimes JavaScript on their servers and send those resources from that copy.

That means you will need to clear these third party caches any time you update your site with something that changes the CSS or JavaScript.   Some caching services are more aggressive than others and cache ALL JavaScript files and CSS files.   Some are great at detecting file changes immediately while others could take an hour, day, or even a week to detect the changes.
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Gravity Forms Locations 4.7.10

In preparation for the of Store Locator Plus 4.7.10 for WordPress, we have release an updated version of DeBaat’s Gravity Forms Locations add on.    The SLP 4.7.10 release will be dropping some legacy methods and functions in the base plugin in order to increase performance and reduce the memory footprint of the base plugin.

Supported plugins including Gravity Forms Locations, Power, Experience, and Premier have been updated to ensure compatibility with the 4.7.10 release.   Legacy add ons including Enhanced Map, Enhanced Search, and the Widget Pack are no longer supported.  Users of Enhanced Map, Enhanced Search, and the Widget Pack should upgrade to theExperience Add On which includes all 3 legacy add ons as well as Enhanced Results and some new features.

Interested in Gravity Forms Add Ons for Store Locator Plus?  Here is a video on how it can be used to allow users to add locations to your site: