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Get An Invite To Our New Locator Service

Go ahead and sign up for our Early Access Program to the My Store Locator Plus service.

My Store Locator Plus is an online subscription service that brings Store Locator Plus to ANY web technology stack.  WordPress, Django, Ruby, ASP.Net.    As long as you are hosting a site that can run JavaScript then My Store Locator Plus will work.

We are currently in the very early stages of development; what we call our “alpha release”.  It is far from being the final product but it IS functional and has been tested on various web technologies to see how well it can bring the Store Locator Plus service to non-WordPress sites.

We are now opening up our private invite to the Alpha Release of My Store Locator Plus.   The select few users that are granted access will help guide us in the features and overall user experience that will make it into our initial public launch coming in early 2017.

MySLP Locations July 2016 Alpha Release
MySLP Locations July 2016 Alpha Release

Continue reading Get An Invite To Our New Locator Service

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WordPress and Store Locator Plus News

WordPress 3.7 Banner

Store Locator Plus : Janitor Released

A new add-on pack has been published in the WordPress Plugin Directory: the Store Locator Plus Janitor add-on.  This add-on pack helps “clean up the mess” that may have been left behind by an older installation of Store Locator Plus or by a backup-and-restore used to move a Store Locator Plus enabled site to another server.    The Janitor will go into the WordPress options table and delete all of the Store Locator Plus and add-on options that it knows about.  It is a destructive operation, so use with care.

Store Locator Plus Janitor
Store Locator Plus Janitor

WordPress 3.7 Enters Release Candidate Stage

WordPress 3.7 is imminent with release candidate 2 (RC2) now out for testing.    I am up-to-date with the latest nightly build on my development systems and have not had any issues with Store Locator Plus compatibility.   If any issues are discovered I anticipate having a patch out very close to the WordPress 3.7 release date.    What is coming in 3.7?

Backround Updates appears to be the big feature.   This is an active update system that will apply any minor release patches to your core WordPress files unless you explicitly disable the feature.   Great for keeping WordPress more secure, as long as no new bugs get pushed to your site.   This is very similar to how most of your modern web browsers and desktop apps are working these days, constant minor updates without requiring your input or approval.

WordPress 3.7 Background Updates
WordPress 3.7 Background Updates

 

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SLP4 and Add On Packs Entering Beta

WordPress Bug Squash Banner

Store Locator Plus 4 and all of the add-on packs will be going into formal beta release tomorrow.   At this point all features in the product are frozen.    The next 4 weeks will be spent on fixing bugs and making minor non-functional adjustments to the base plugin and all CSA derived add-on packs.

Getting On The Beta Test Group

I am still accepting people into the SLP4 beta program.

To qualify for the program you…

  • Purchased a premium add-on within the past 12 months.
  • Have a test/staging server for your WordPress site.
  • Know how to check error logs and provide details on any problems you encounter.
  • Can describe how to reproduce a problem in a step-by-step fashion.
  • Can perform testing over the next 30 days.

If you meet these criteria you can get the SLP4 versions of the base plugin and the add-on packs by using the MailChimp sign up form and filling out these details:

  • Your CSA order number for the premium products.
  • Your first and last name for the mailing list.
  • Your email address to be used on the MailChimp mailing list.

Anyone that signs up in the first week of testing and is accepted to the program will be given access to all of the SLP4 add-on packs in beta format.    Participating in the beta program does NOT grant you free access to the final production release of the add-on packs.     Store Locator Plus 4 add-on packs will be paid upgrades when the final release is completed.

Beta Group Communication

I anticipate sending an email sometime before 7PM EST (UTC-5) to the private SLP4 Beta Test Group mailing list.  It will have basic information on the program, how to communicate with the beta test group, and include the downloadable zip files for the SLP4 base plugin and add-on packs.

If  have been approved as a Beta Test Group member but do not get your email tomorrow evening please contact me.   Make sure you check your spam folder first.

Primary communication including reporting of issues will be via the Beta Test Forum.  Please use that method of communication so others in the Beta Test Group can see any known issues.  This will help reduce duplicate issue reports.

SLP4 Upgrade Fees

Anyone that has purchased a premium add-on pack within 12 months of purchasing the SLP4 production release will be given a 75% discount.    Purchases of add-on packs made within 30 days of the final production release will be allowed to upgrade to the SLP4 version at no cost.  I will also be giving out free upgrades including at least one Kitchen Sink Version 4 package to the most active beta test group members.   

The current target release for SLP4 and the add-on packs is early October.

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New Google Maps Coming…

Google Maps Preview Banner

I recently was approved for the upcoming Google Maps interface changes and I must say I like it a LOT more than the previous interface.  Going back to the current interface that is the “official release” everyone uses at http://maps.google.com seems old and clunky now.    This gives me some new UI design to aim for with the Store Locator Plus product line.

Here is the invite with the link to the preview site.  You’ll need to sign up and get approval before you can use the new Google Maps site.   It took 3-days to get my request approved. Your results may vary.

Google Maps Preview
Google Maps Preview
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Store Locator Plus 3.10 Enters Beta

Store Locator Plus was released to the beta test community earlier today. I will be testing while they are. Hopefully the new release squashes more bugs than it creates and passes testing quickly. If all goes well there should be a new release out next week.

Store Locator Plus 3.10

Pro Pack Separated

3.10 is entering testing with a general release planned for early next week.  That should give the beta test group a more realistic opportunity for testing.   Barring any major bug reports I plan to expand the release cycle to a monthly update with an ever-expanding beta test window.   Eventually I hope to have beta testing running fora  month prior to final release.  We’ll see.

Pro Pack Separated.  This is the first release with a COMPLETELY SEPARATE Pro Pack.    It is no longer a license key enabled product.  With 3.10 no license key will be needed.    It will still be a premium product but it will now work like all the other premium add-on packages as a completely separate install.

Other Fixes/Revisions.   The other revisions are notable but relatively uneventful.    A significant bug was fixed that caused the map to misbehave when no locations were returned from search.    Another notable bug that cause add-on packs to prevent all other plugins for rendering detailed info was fixed.  The hours field is now a textarea, allowing for newline characters.

If you have a chance to test this and run into any problems, please report them in the forums.   Again, if you test and have NO issues, please let me know so I can gauge Beta Test Group interest.


Store Locator Plus – Pro Pack 3.10

Here It Is…

The new Pro Pack add-on as a separate install file.   If you want to test Pro Pack features you will need this.

Nothing new has been added, but I’m sure some things have changed in how the work.    I have spent a lot of time getting this ready and Pro Pack has operated as a separate entity within the Store Locator Plus install, but I’m sure I missed a semi-colon somewhere.

Basic testing indicates all is well with the new add-on pack, but I’m sure you will let me know if that is not the case.


Success? Failure?

Please let me know either way.

If you have had a chance to test the beta versions attached here, please let me know.   Whether it worked for you or you had issues, it helps me to know in either case.   Please login and post in the forum even with a “SLP latest beta worked for me.” message.

The Beta Forum is here:
/forums/forum/beta-testers/
Users that have public testing reports posted on the beta forum will be invited to private beta tests for future products.   If you want a preview of future releases of ANY Charleston Software Associates products, post your test results in the forum.

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Store Locator Updates / CrowdFunding

New Version Betas

Store Locator Plus 3.9.4 and Enhanced Search 0.6 has been released to the Beta Test list for testing.   Want to help with beta testing, get pre-release copies of the base plugins and add-on packs?   Sign up here.   All beta releases are announced and distributed via the MailChimp managed email list.

I will begin testing the new updates within the next 24 hours.   If all goes well the new updates will be published by the start of next week.

Crowd Funding

I’ve been getting a lot of customization requests lately, some for larger projects.   While I got nearly ZERO response from the general community of users about implementing a crowd funding option, several of the companies that have asked for new features have indicated they would be interested in this option.

What is it?   It is a way for multiple organizations to share the development costs of creating new stuff.   Stuff?  Yeah, stuff.    In this case, code stuff.   Like new plugins, add-on packs for existing plugins, or even just extending an existing add-on pack or plugin.   This provides a way to spread out the costs of developing a feature while gathering enough funds to ensure smaller projects get put on the development radar.

Look for new crowd funding options on the Charleston Software Associates website soon.

 

 

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Daily Update, Store Locator Plus 3.9.3 Beta

Still testing Store Locator Plus 3.9.3, but I think it is close.

Store Locator Plus Testing…

Today SLP 3.9.3 passed all testing on the standard installation of WordPress using Firefox.  However the testing failed on my live WPMU site due to a location sensor timing issue with Chrome.    I don’t think this has anything to do with code changes, though the JavaScript file that drives the map was updated.

The problem has been in the code for a while but the updated script is executing a bit faster thanks to performance tweaks.   So the new plugin version is a tad faster, which is a good thing, but that means the inherently slower mode of past builds was hiding a bug.   Turns out the new map interface is loading faster than the remote location sensor service in the browser engine on Chrome.    In some cases the map is saying “where are you” and the location sensor is MIA.    Then it breaks.

I’ve re-coded the way this stuff works, but now I need to re-run the test suite on the dev box, the test rig on standard WordPress and WPMU.  If all goes well everything will pass and I can release SLP 3.9.3 tonight.

Enhanced Add-Ons

Then it is on to testing the “Enhanced” add-on packs.  Those packs all need to be updated to work with SLP 3.9.3.    They should work in their current form with SLP 3.9.3 but they will be much happier if the upcoming versions are married to the SLP 3.9.3 base engine.  Especially since some new features require the 3.9.3 engine and I’ve moved some of the action hooks around.

Side Note

As a side note… don’t ever update your virtual machine engine, or at least VMWare Workstation in the middle of a build cycle.   I wasted a full day last week making my dev box work properly again after what VMWare deemed a “minor update”.    Then I lost another day between last night and this morning updating my test rig thanks to the “minor update”.

So for those of you that receive a “minor update” of my plugins and it breaks stuff… trust me, I feel your pain and try to keep you from feeling it when using my products.

Back to the testing…

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Store Locator Plus 3.9.3 with Add-Ons in Beta

The Beta Testing group just received their copies of the latest beta release of Store Locator Plus 3.9.3 along with the corresponding Enhanced Map, Enhanced Results, and Enhanced Search add-on packs.   Documentation and testing will commence on my systems soon as well.

If all goes well the release should be out in the next 48 hours.

Store Locator Plus 3.9.3

Better translation support, multiple bug fixes.

* Enhancement: Better debugging with Debug Bar hooks.
* Enhancement: Drop duplicate language files in ./core/languages.
* Enhancement: Load textdomain (for language support) in the proper place (init).
* Enhancement: Give pot/po/mo language files the proper name and the proper directory (./languages).
* Enhancement: Get rid of unused PHP script, lessens security vulnerabilities.
* Enhancement: Eliminate unused variables and speed up front end UI a tick.
* Enhancement: Default CSS theme is now Default, Old.
* Enhancement: Default CSS theme has been updated to take elements I liked from Clean Simple White.
* Enhancement: Immediately show locations now shows home marker where base of search is centered.
* Enhancement: [Pro Pack](/product/store-locator-plus) report downloads are now AJAX based, lighter & less risky.
* Enhancement: [Hooks & Filters](/documentation/technical-documentation/store-locator-plus/slp-action-hooks-and-filters/) add slp_manage_expanded_location_columns.
* Enhancement: [Hooks & Filters](/documentation/technical-documentation/store-locator-plus/slp-action-hooks-and-filters/) add slp_manage_priority_location_columns.
* Enhancement: [Hooks & Filters](/documentation/technical-documentation/store-locator-plus/slp-action-hooks-and-filters/) add slp_settings_results_locationinfo.
* Enhancement: [Hooks & Filters](/documentation/technical-documentation/store-locator-plus/slp-action-hooks-and-filters/) add slp_search_default_address filter.
* Change: Image URL field has been removed form base product (was not being used), is now in [Enhanced Results]/product/slp4-enhanced-results/).
* Change: No Results message customization moved from [Pro Pack](/product/store-locator-plus) to [Enhanced Results]/product/slp4-enhanced-results/).
* Fix: Stop [Pro Pack](/product/store-locator-plus) reporting JavaScript from loading on all pages.
* Fix: Got the locale setting working again.
* Fix: Multiple map settings fields can now have ‘ as valid field data.
* Fix: Immediately show locations works again.


Enhanced Map 0.4

Better translation support, multiple bug fixes.

* Enhancement: language support for i18n/l10n.
* Fix: map center function, requires SLP 3.9.3
* Fix: tests for SLP is active now works on WPMU sites.


Enhanced Search 0.5

Better translation support, multiple bug fixes.

* Enhancement: new option “allow addy in URL”, allows ?address=blah to pre-load search.
* Enhancement: new shortcode attribute allow_addy_in_url=’true|false’ does the same.
* Enhancement: Add languages support for l10n/i18n.
* Change: Update to work with SLP 3.9.3
* Fix: tests for SLP is active now works on WPMU. 

Enhanced Results 0.7

Better translation support, multiple bug fixes.

* Enhancement: language support for i18n/l10n.
* Enhancement: Results string can now contain shortcodes.
* Enhancement: New [[slp_location <fieldname>]] shortcode for use in result string only
* Enhancement: Start localization/language support.
* Enhancement: Add ability to attach an image URL to a location.  Can use Results String to output.
* Enhancement: Add ability to customize the “No Results” message under the map, including message with single quotes.
* Fix: tests for SLP is active now works on WPMU.

 

Success? Failure?

Please let me know either way.

If you have had a chance to test the beta versions attached here, please let me know.   Whether it worked for you or you had issues, it helps me to know in either case.   Please login and post in the forum even with a “SLP latest beta worked for me.” message.

The Beta Forum is here:
/forums/forum/beta-testers/

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Tagalong and SLP 3.9.2 Beta

It is time to test the Tagalong premium add-on and SLP 3.9.2 beta.   If you are on the beta test list, please check your email coming from MailChimp shortly for the download links.   You should NOT install beta apps on a live site.

Store Locator Plus 3.9.2

SLP 3.9.2 has some notable behind-the-scenes changes as I continue to work toward a more stable platform and something that is far more extensible that the original base product.     The three primary core changes, which should have little-if-any impact on the user experience are:

  • Start of a new locations class.

    This creates an “in memory” representation of store locations.     In the past this has been handled by completely independent variables within the application. Every page, every menu tab, every search result was handled slightly differently.    The new location class will create a single in-memory object and a defined interface for getting and setting location data.    This new class is only in use in a few places but over the coming updates I will continue to work toward replacing ALL independent variables with the location class object.

    End result: faster, smaller, more stable, more extensible code.

  • Introduction of new SLPlus class.

    This will do the same for the overall plugin as the locations class does for locations.    It gives a structured way to access things that relate to how the plugin operates, moving ALL elements of the admin and user experience into the control of a single code structure.   Most WordPress plugins use an ad-hoc approach, which leads to user experience inconsistency and bugs when elements of the plugin are changed.  Store Locator Plus was originally built in ad-hoc mode and I’ve slowly been replacing each component with proper objects.   This new high-level SLPlus class will now start connecting all those pieces together so the entire plugin works as a cohesive unit.

    Again: faster, smaller, more stable, more extensible as this gets implemented over the next few months.

  • Custom Page Type : store_page

    The custom page type, store_page, is now a core element of the Store Locator Plus plugin, not just created and invoked when the Store Pages add-on is available.   Using the WordPress custom post types is a far better solution to providing extended data attributes on locations versus continually extending and updating the custom SLP locations table.     This will allow for a number of add-on packs in the future that can add custom field types, sorting, filtering, and other elements.   Tagalong is using this to store category relations.

    This does NOT mean store pages are now enabled and freely available.  The extended store_page data is active in the WordPress database but there is no admin UI or public interfaces to those pages UNLESS someone purchases the Store Pages add-on pack.   The nice thing about using this method, however, is that if you do use Store Pages or add it at a later date, any of the extended data will be readily available.  Things like store categories assigned via Tagalong will be readily accessible to the Store Page.

Other changes that are notable:

  • CSS Themes for Store Locator Plus are now in the free base product, not just the Pro Pack.
  • The search form newlines have been stripped to keep the search form layout happy with poorly written themes.
  • Code commenting has been updated and new Code Docs are now being published online.
  • Some basic CSS updates to give devs more control over UI elements.

 

Tagalong

Tagalong now works with Store Locator Plus 3.9.X.    There have been a significant number of changes in the guts of Tagalong, but I did not get nearly as far as I’d have liked with the feature set.    The main focus was on making sure the plugin works 100% without the Store Pages add-on pack. While the Store Pages add-on pack will still provide some extra interface and location management options, it is not longer required to add some of the extended features for this plugin.

Map markers have been fixed (again) as have some of the hooks to set the icons.

Getting the medium icon in the results output did NOT make it in this release, however I decided it was better to get a 3.9 compatible version out the door and work on extensions next week than hold it up to add some new features.    Tagalong work will continue next week in the 0.8 release (or possibly even 1.0 ready-for-production release).

 

 

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Wohoo… 3.9 is almost ready

I am wrapping up 3.9 and getting ready to go into beta testing (hopefully) tomorrow.  For those interested in helping to test the new SLP 3.9 release and the Store Pages 3.9 release that is coming out at the same time you can do so by signing up for the Beta Tester Mailing List.

Version 3.9 focused almost exclusively on making Store Pages a completely isolated premium add-on.  That makes the main product lighter & faster.  It also meant improving the hooks & filters system so other 3rd party devs can create more cool stuff for SLP.    It also meant I was able to do some things I couldn’t before.

The list of items updated in the main plugin for 3.9 is already on the updates road map.

It wasn’t all Store Pages though.   A few notable bugs were also fixed along the way:

  • WPMU installs should not be better behaved
  • Some sites having problems with map markers due to “unfriendly themes should not error out in the JavaScript.
  • Multiple location deletes on location manager is fixed.
  • Better address geocoding messages are in place for add/edit locations.
  • Some extra “fat” has been trimmed, making manage locations and page rendering a tick faster.

Beta Testers will want to keep these links handy:

For now I am starting to prepare for 3.9 beta.  If you want to help test you should sign up now.

In the meantime I am going to play some racquetball after a 30+hour coding weekend… then back to take some updated screen shots.     Sometime by tomorrow afternoon 3.9 BETA should be out for testing.

 

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Become A Beta Tester

After a recent issue with one of the plugin releases, I am once again putting invites out to the Beta Testing Program.   Last time around I got ONE person on the list.   It is a LOT more work to go through a beta test cycle with a group of external beta test sites.  Since I had limited interest and involvement I shut down the program.    While I would LOVE to have a lot of people testing the product there seems to be little interest.

Since one person noted they’d like to do beta testing (doubling the overall total), I will give this another try.   Maybe there will be better results this time around.

If this works out the release cycle for plugins will be extended to one/month BUT the releases should be more stable and have more features.   We will see how it goes.

For now, if you are interested in receiving pre-release copies of the plugins, especially Store Locator Plus, via email, please sign up for my Beta Tester email list.  Makes sure you can receive zip file attachments up to 5MB (typical size is 1MB).

If you want to get almost-daily updates on what I am working on please visit (and like) my Facebook page.