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.
The My Store Locator Plus subscription service is ready for Stripe. Stripe provides better coupon management, account upgrade and downgrade prorated fees, and direct credit card billing. During our testing we have also found that subscription changes are instantaneous which eliminates the “in limbo” state that was problematic with some PayPal accounts.
All new accounts will go through Stripe. Pre-existing accounts that wish to switch to Stripe can contact us to assist with changing their processor to Stripe after they cancel their PayPal subscription. We will make sure all account data and settings remain intact and that you have as little downtime as possible. Most accounts will have ZERO downtime should they choose to change over to Stripe. Existing accounts that choose to stay with PayPal will be able to do so.
Along with this update are several minor updates such as improved history logging on all accounts to better track what is going on with subscription renewals, account upgrades, and the current state of the subscription.
2017-05-16 Maintenance Window
The MySLP website will experience a brief period of downtime on Tuesday May 16th 2017 from 11AM EST until 11:20AM EST. Customer Maps may be offline for up 2 to 3 minutes during part of the upgrade process.
The latest version of the MySLP service is now online and includes the latest versions of the Store Locator Plus application stack.
This update also includes a revised dashboard that has an improved interface for upgrading your account level and performing other account features. Changing your account level or restarting a suspended subscription is now a one-click process from My Profile when logged into the MySLP Dashboard.
We are well underway with the 17.6 release of the MySLP service. This coming release brings direct credit card billing through Stripe services for all new accounts. Existing accounts will be able to request assistance if they wish to migrate from PayPal to direct credit card billing for their service.
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.
My Store Locator Plus will be undergoing a brief maintenance window at 3:15PM EST while we update the sign up and subscription management system. Map services should not be impacted by this update. Access to MySLP login and dashboard functionality may be impacted for 5 to 10 minutes during the update process.
The updates improve the interface with the PayPal subscription system to make it easier to setup a new account or extend a subscription for existing users.
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:
Minor performance improvements when logging into the dashboard and when the locator interface is being pushed from our server to your website.
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.