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
Premier Members now have access to the 4.7.11 update of the Premier plugin. This update allows you to set location lookup limits per IP address. This will help keep competitors from scraping your locations list from your site. All Premier Members with an active membership can download the latest release and activate IP filtering on their sites today.
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.
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”→
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:
Version 4.7.10 of the Power Add On for Store Locator Plus was released today to patch an issue with recording new category assignments for locations. Version 4.7.9 introduced an issue that broke the mapping between locations and new category assignments.
If you have existing locations that “lost their categories” you will need to re-assign the categories. For most installations you can edit each location via the admin edit page for the location; the location categories should appear as being checked. Saving the location will re-assign the proper category numbers to the category mapping table.
We have also revised our test suites to ensure the category tests are properly included in the Power Add On testing process. We are not certain why the testing scripts became disconnected from our Power Add On Test Suite but we have rebuilt the suite to reduce the chances of an issue like this from happening in the future.
MySLP users, other than those on the Advanced level which does not include category features, have already received the patched files. Users of our WordPress add on should update the Power Add On before working with location categories.
Version 4.7.9 of Store Locator Plus as well as the Experience, Premier, and Power add ons was released for WordPress today. The features and updates will roll out on the MySLP platform in the next 30-60 days after it passes full integration testing on the MySLP service.
The 4.7.9 update focuses on bringing the new Premier URL Control module functionality to the locator application. The URL Control module adds two new features to the Store Locator Plus application: passing in a location ID via a URL and passing in location limits via URL. These features can be enabled or disabled globally on a per-site basis.
Location ID via URL
With this feature enabled adding a ?location=<#> parameter to a URL will highlight that location. The location will be set as the center of the map and the marker will be clicked which will bring up the info bubble by default.
Limits via URL
With this feature enabled adding a ?limit=<#> parameter to a URL will set the initial map loading and search results limit on locations returned. Passing in ?location=<#>&limit=1 will highlight and only show that location on the map.
Premier members with an active subscription will be able to turn on the URL Control module which will load in the code necessary to add new Location ID and Limits via URL features.
Directory Builder Updates
The Power add on directory builder, invoked with the [slp_directory] shortcode on a page, has also had updates that work in conjunction with the new Premier URL Control module. You can now add a locator_data attribute to the shortcode to override the standard parameter passing when linking to a landing page. The default behavior is to link to the locator and filter results to match the given shortcode “by” attribute. For example [slp_directory by=”city” locator_page=”/map/”] would pass ?city=<city-name> to the map and show only locations in that city.
If you had one location in each city you could not pass [slp_directory by=”city” locator_page=”/map/” locator_data=”sl_id”] which would pass in the ?sl_id=<id> to the map. If the Location ID via URL feature is enabled this would allow people to see a list of cities and when clicking on a city bring up the map page highlighting that location on the map.
There have been a few minor patches as well as updates to the base Store Locator Plus plugin and Experience add on that ensures all the major components communication with each other properly on how to build the data queries properly when various parameters like location_id is passed in via a URL. Older legacy add ons will not have the necessary code updates and may conflict with the latest Power and Premier updates. Mixing-and-matching the Experience, Premier, or Power add ons with the legacy add ons is not recommended and is no longer supported.
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.
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:
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.