MySLP Update Notice 2017-Mar-27

March 17th, 2017 11:30AM EST (GMT+4)

The MySLP service may experience a temporary service disruption expected to last no more than 5 minutes while we upgrade the system to our 17.3 release.   This update focuses on the subscription renewal process as it deals with an issues some of our subscribers have had with their PayPal recurring payment not properly extending their subscription.  In addition this update will include the following service refinements:

All Levels

Minor performance improvements when logging into the dashboard and when the locator interface is being pushed from our server to your website.

Enterprise Accounts

Addresses issues with the Advanced Options interface for importing locations.   Some users could have experienced issues with the import not starting when clicking “upload” depending which features were checked.

 

 

 

4.7.8 of Store Locator Plus / Power Add On for WordPress

Store Locator Plus and the Power Add On for WordPress were released today.    The updated versions will be published to the MySLP service in the next 30 days once we have completed testing on that platform.

Store Locator Plus, the base plugin for the locator application, includes a minor update that cleans up some basic CSS issues on the admin interface that showed up on a handful of WordPress themes.    This version now uses minified CSS files for the admin pages, slightly reducing the network overhead and allowing WordPress enqueue to work more efficiently.

Power Add On, an extension that manages power features including basic reporting has been patched to fix an issue with the report export feature.   We finally tracked down an issue in an external JavaScript library that is included in this add on that would stop executing scripts on the report tab.   It turns out that the WordPress Core update to a newer version of jQuery was causing problems.    An updated script has been included in the 4.7.8 release of the Power add on.    The features in the Power Add On are also part of the Power subscription level for MySLP which will be updated to 4.7.8 once testing is complete.

 

Where Is My Conference Hotel? Improving Conference Sites With Maps

Attending a conference almost always means travel.   Love it or hate it, the travel experience goes with the territory.  As a conference director, one of the best ways to increase the satisfaction level of conference attendees is to provide not only killer content but to also make them feel as though they are a welcomed guest in the host city.    Providing resources that help get people acquainted with the host city as quickly as possible is one way to make travel more of a perk than a pain for the attendee.    Do a good job playing host in your city and people will want to return year-after-year.

A great way to do this is by providing a resource directory that includes more than a map showing people where the venue is and how to get there.    In our “Hosting Conferences and Events” series we are going to walk through various ways you can build a great online resource that shows people around your city without making it a full time job for you or your online content authors.    The primary tool we are going to use is the My Store Locator Plus SaaS service.    By using the service effectively you can keep costs down while providing easy-to-use interactive maps for your attendees.

In our first video on presenting local resources for a conference we are going to focus on the upcoming SyntaxCon that is coming up in May 2017 in Charleston, South Carolina.   One of the first things people are going to look for is places to stay that are convenient to the main venue.  With that in mind we are going to show how to setup an appropriate level of service and add some hotels to our map then simulate deployment on a live site.    As we add to this series we will show how to refine the user experience and finally deploy to the general public.

 

On a related note, if you are planning on hosting a venue and are in need of a full-service consulting shop to help you get a site setup, please contact our Cyber Sprocket Labs consulting division and we’ll get you setup at a fair price.

Store Locator Plus Planned Maintenance (2017-MAR-11 830A-12P EST GMT+5)

Store Locator Plus will be undergoing planned maintenance later today from 830AM until 12PM ET (GMT+5).   The following services may be affected as follows:

Websites

All Store Locator Plus websites including the marketing sites, demo site, documentation sites, and upgrade servers will be offline for 10 minutes starting at 830AM.

WordPress Plugin Updates

Update service will be offline for 10 minutes starting at 830AM.

My Store Locator Plus

Maps will not be served for 10 minutes starting at 830AM.  This is one of several updates necessary for a fault-tolerant system where we are aiming for 99.999% uptime for serving MySLP maps.

Dashboard login and the main marketing site will undergo several changes that may take them offline intermittently for up to 20 minutes at a time through 12PM EST.  This should have very minimal, if any, impact serving maps to your application or website.

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.