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.
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.