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SLP 4.4 and the new Experience Plug-in bundled add-ons

Experience Plug-in is now available for Purchase

Experience 520x520
The new Experience Plugin will be the way to go to enhance your Store Locator Plus site. It includes the Enhanced Results, Enhanced Map, Enhanced Search and new and improved Widgets pack. Discounts will be available for those customers who bought an Enhanced plugin in the past 60 days and who want to upgrade to the new bundled Experience 4.4. Simply send an email to support, provide your order number, or purchaser name and request a coupon. Currently, active Premier subscribers are automatically signed up for these faster and improved features included in the Experience bundle.

The new features are explained in the below video. The Experience plugin introduces a new feature that will allow you to specify a map region with a short code map_region= on your locator page that will take precedence over the Map domain. It is an enhancement that should come in handy for international customers. The short code uses the country code TLD.

New Widget feature included with the Experience 4.4 Plugin

Another new feature is in the Widgets portion of the Experience Plug-in which allows a secondary drop-down selector with your location’s cities grouped under the state selector.

These features are ONLY available for the New Experience 4.4 subscriber. Documentation will be updated to reflect the way the Experience plugin appears behind the scenes (the back end). Watch this short video from the author for more information.

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2016 Store Locator Plus Add Ons

 2012_NYE_Fireworks_(8331173703) (2)

A lot of things are underway for 2016 that will provide a vastly improved experience for our users and your customers.   Changes will be made to the add-on pack offerings that will simplify the product selection process and eliminate some confusion as to what to buy and what packs complement each other to obtain the best results.  Additionally, negotiations are underway with one of the most-talented WordPress and SaaS development teams in the world to bring a new and improved “Software As A Service” version of Store Locator Plus online.   We will also be expanding our support and technical team in-house at Charleston Software Associates.

Add On Packs

There will be a number of changes designed to simplify the add-on selection process, create a better and stable plug-in environment, reduce redundancy, and simplify our product cycle allowing us to focus on product improvements versus overhead and maintenance.

Legacy Add Ons

Starting in early 2016 , the legacy add-on packs will enter the first transition phase.  The plugins that are selected will only receive bug fixes and security patches going forward.   All of the Charleston Software Associates (Store Locator Plus author) products will be classified as legacy products over the next few months, For example:

  • Contact Extender
  • Directory Builder
  • Enhanced Map
  • Enhanced Results
  • Enhanced Search
  • Pages
  • Pro Pack
  • Tagalong
  • Widget Pack

Customers that have purchased these products will still have access to the downloads and will receive updates whenever a new security patch or bug fix is released.

New Add Ons

When the legacy products enter this transition phase, they will no longer be available as a separate stand alone purchase by new customers.    In their place we will have three core add-on packs in addition to a group of “ala-carte” third party add-on packs available for purchase.    We will be simplifying the add-on pack selection by offering just 3 options, Power Users, Enhanced Experience, and Premier.

Users of the legacy products can opt to retain their prior add-on packs and operate as normal.  However, users that wish to take advantage of the new add-ons, simplifying the installation process will need to purchase them as a new product package.   Once the packages are installed the legacy products can be removed. More details will be available and reminders sent as that date approaches.

Power Users

The forthcoming “Power” package add-on will include all of the features and functionality of the current Pro Pack, Tagalong, Pages, and Contact Extender add-on packs.  The focus of this add-on is the administrative side of location management as well as various features that tend to be utilized by the power user.  As part of this new offering the Pro Pack user-interface-related “Experience / View” setting, which determines the overall layout structure of the Store Locator Plus interface (map on left, right, below search form, etc.) will be moved into the forthcoming Experience add-on.

The Power add-on will be selling for $250 per-site one-time fee.

Experience

The Experience add-on, being released in early 2016, will include all the features of the user-interface-centric features of the various Store Locator Plus legacy add ons.   This new add-on will include the features of Enhanced Map, Enhanced Results, Enhanced Search, and the Widget Pack.   It will also inherit the Experience / View setting from the Pro Pack.    This add-on will also make it far easier to deploy the built-in plugin styles as you will only require one plugin-in to achieve most of the visual updates.

The Experience add-on will be selling for $250 per-site one-time fee.

Premier

Technically now a “new” plugin but one that will carry over from the legacy model to the new model, the Premier add-on will continue to be the flagship plugin where new “never been done before” features are added.    While the Power and Experience add-ons will occasionally see a new feature added, anything that is completely new and introduces more complex features to the product will appear in the Premier add-on.   The Premier add-on is only available to users with a Premier subscription.

Speaking of the Premier Subscription, users with an active subscription will get the new Power and Experience add-ons as soon as they are available and will have access to the prerelease versions of both products.   There are not changes anticipated for the Premier Subscription in 2016.   An exclusive first-response Premier Forum, access to our real-time Slack channels, and access to all plugins and themes crafted by Charleston Software Associates remains in the plan.

The Premier Subscription will retain the current $250 sign-up + $30/month pricing.

Third Party Add Ons

Due to our compensation agreements with third party authors, the third party plugins will remain online in their standard ala-carte form.   These plugins will have a new forum where all 3rd party plugin questions will be answered and supported by both the original author and, as needed, Charleston Software Associates.  The following plugins will remain as ala-carte options:

  • Extended Data Manager
  • Event Location Manager
  • Social Media Extender
  • Gravity Forms Integration
  • Gravity Forms Locations
  • MultiMap

Most third-party add-ons are priced at a $50 one-time fee.

End Of Life Offerings

The following offerings will be going away in 2016.

All Icon Packs will be replaced with a more efficient loading process to be introduced in 2016 and added to the Premier plugin.

The Experience Package is going away.  This will be replaced with the Experience plugin.

The Kitchen Sink Package is going, going, gone as a separate purchase.  Users wishing to get all of the nifty features and more should subscribe to the Premier Subscription as a one-year subscription. It is less than the price of the Kitchen Sink package and provides more benefits.

 

The SaaS Project

Work will begin in earnest on a subscription-based Store Locator Plus service.    This should not be confused with the Premier Subscription.  Purchases and subscribers  of the Premier Subscription will not be automatically enrolled in the SaaS system .   The SaaS (Software As A Service) product will allow companies to sign up via a new website and use a simplified interface for managing their locations and tweaking their user interface.    When everything is ready the user will be given a short JavaScript snippet or iFrame code to place on ANY site, not just WordPress sites.

This new service will look-and-feel much like the Store Locator Plus WordPress plugin with some big visual improvements.   However, users of this system will no longer need to worry about updates to ensure they have the latest version, backing up their locations, moving their installs from a staging to live site, or other management tasks related to maintaining their locator plugin.

Pricing is yet to be determined.   Initial models include a free tier for a handful of locations and $30/month for most sites.

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Store Locator Plus 4.3.15 Google API Server key for Developer Consoles , Enhanced Results 4.3.02 Ordering and Email link patches

Sula sula nesting in Heliotropium foertherianum

Store Locator Plus

The recent Store Locator Plus 4.3.15  update has been released with minor changes to the code  and  a Google Developer  Console has been added to support the Google API key.  This feature is NOT needed for most users and will not effect your current settings.   The  change aides developers with API keys and effects Google server upload time outs that may occur for those sites with large import lists. This setting can be found under the General tab in Store Locator Plus user interface bar. For more information please refer to the below video.

Enhanced Results

A bug was discovered in Enhanced Results 4.3 that was not caught during testing of the pre-release.  The Sort order by Name was not performing correctly when there were no ranked locations. Version 4.3.02 has patched the ordering results. The second patch  to Enhanced Results  concerns the display of the  email link. The selected display style was not properly executing. That bug has also been fixed.

Note:  Anyone who owns SLP or any of its add-on plug-ins are welcome to test the pre-release versions available in your Downloads page.  By testing the pre-releases, you aid the developer in catching any issues prior to release of the production version. To see which Store Locator Plus version(s) and add-ons that you may have installed, go to your SLP admin panel under the Info tab and click on the Plug-in Environment tab.  For more information on these changes and other useful tips by the author and developer of Store Locator Plus, please view the videos in the Documentation playlist.  The videos for the recent updates ; Store locator Plus 4.3.15 and Enhanced Results v 4.3.02 is below. As always, thank you for using Store Locator Plus and if you have any questions, please post in the forums and be sure to follow the posting guidelines.

Enhanced Results 4.3.02 video

Store Locator Plus 4.3.15 video

Change Log for SLP

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Store Locator Plus Premier Release 4.3.02 Adds New Search and Results Layout and Styling Functions

Store Locator Plus‘ latest release for Premier subscribers adds and enhancement to the results layout functionality and style.

Add Tables in the Results Layout

This new feature allows additional table structure design features with Word Press themes and Store Locator Plus styling, specifically to allow tables without the HTML wrappers that are built into the SLP base plug-in structure. Further discussion and instructions can be found in the 2 minute tutorial video at Premier 4.3.02 Video

Additional functionality in results Layout gives you option to eliminate wrapper
Additional functionality in results Layout gives you option to eliminate wrapper

Add Headers in the Results Layout

Ability to add results headers at the top of each column and allows flexibility in your custom design.

Add Drop down styling in the Search Layout

Adds the ability to change the Drop down style found within the Experience/Search panel using applicable “jquery smooth list themes”.
4.3.08 Pre 4.3.02 Search Drop down style

Also New SLP Plugin Style “Skywalk” coming to premier next. See preview in the following video.

 

Important! For additional details and technical information, please watch the short Tutorial Video on how to use, modify and enhance the users experience using the new features.

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Store Locator Plus 4.3.07 release patches the results listing, closest to farthest, and adds new feature for Enhanced layouts

I eat bugs
I eat bugs

Store Locator Plus has published the version 4.3.07 and is available to download

The major change was a patch to fix the reversed order of the location listings. The default setting is back to the norm of “nearest location first” if location sensor is on.

The other major change fixes the settings in the premier 4.3.01 plug-ins only.
There was a glitch discovered during recent testing. Settings that were checked were resetting when a new location was added or a new page was added. For premier members there are settings to enable cluster markers, boundary definitions, google guesses, country guess and other features only available with a Premier subscription. This has been fixed so your settings should now remain as you saved them.

New features

A new option that is available for those of you who have Enhanced Results or Enhanced Map. The Layout panel under the Experience tab is where you may change the default layout structure if you so desire for those SLP members who have the referenced add-on packs installed. There is a new option that allows for https to be added in the layouts instead of the url weblink. Please view the short video for more information.

Word Press 4.3 INFO

The latest version release of WP 4.3 created an issue that effects the way the CRON jobs were recorded in the WP option tables. This will slow down your server. There is information available, contact us via email for a link to that information and/or search the info and news that is published under SLP blog. WP knows about the glitch and expects to have it fixed in a future release. We do not have an ETA for that release date.

Important Video for Technical users, site administrators and forum members

The video contains important information concerning WP bugs, updates, plug-in environment information,CRON, bug fix to the order of the location results (were reversed from closest to farthest) has been updated to fix the glitch as well as premier add-on packs settings.

Change Log

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Locator Styles Update SLP 4.3.03

SLP 4.3.03 Genesis Plugin Style

Update 4.3.03 was released for Store Locator Plus today.   The update includes a patch to the plugin styles (formerly known as themes) and simplifies the process of applying those styles.     Shortcodes that were appearing in the results for some plugin styles has been fixed.   The directions link has also been fixed.

Change Log

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Store Locator Plus 4.3 Release Schedule

4.3 RC Status Aug 6 AM

Store Locator Plus 4.3 is expected to be released into production during the week of August 17th along with 4.3 versions of all add-on packs.

4.3 RC Status Aug 6 AM
4.3 RC Status Aug 6 AM

Store Locator Plus is now in Release Candidate status.  You can download the prerelease near-production-ready version from the StoreLocatorPlus.com website.   The prerelease version is available at no cost from the store.  If you’ve already added the prerelease version to your account you can login and download; no need to re-purchase.

Most add-on packs are now in RC status as well.   If you have purchased the production version of an add-on pack you can download the prerelease version by logging in to you StoreLocatorPlus.com account.

The more people that can test version 4.3 of the Store Locator Plus plugin and add-on packs the faster it can be released to production.    Prerelease, including RC versions, of the plugin should not be used on a production system without first testing your environment on a staging (testing) copy of your site.  Companies like WP Engine make creating staging copies of your live site very easy.  If you do not employ staging sites as part of your website management strategy you really should consider switching to a hosting company that supports easy site cloning for testing purposes.

 

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Premium Updates for Store Locator Plus

Several premium add-on packs for Store Locator Plus have been updated this afternoon.   Most updates are minor patches with revised hyperlinks, typo fixes, or language file updates.    The patches bump the version of the add-on packs to ensure that all sites are updated to the latest release due to a series of version control system updates that were not being reported to all users.   The heightened security on one of the CSA servers prevented the version reference file from updating, in turn stopping update notices from getting out to all users.

Directory Builder 4.2.10

A Dutch language file update is included in this release.

Users that missed the 4.2.09 update notice will also get the 4.2.09 feature that allows nonces to be disabled for better SEO performance of the directory listings.

Enhanced Map 4.2.07

Minor updates to the hyperlinks and typo fixes.

Users that missed the 4.2.06 and 4.2.05 update notices will get the new Google JSON Style rules feature for maps as well as the custom map markers patch for per-location map markers.

Enhanced Results 4.2.07

Minor updates for hyperlinks and typo fixes.

Users that missed the 4.2.06 update will laos receive the new popup email formatting and CSS rules set in SLP 4.2.48.

Enhanced Search 4.2.09

Not updated today, this release was pushed to production again to ensure all users get the update.   It includes patches for the state and country dropdown selectors.  Also set autocomplete to not fire until at least 3 characters are entered when “address zip autocomplete” is enabled.   Includes the Dutch translation update.

Widget Pack 4.2.04

No update today.  4.2.04 updates the widget pack to work with Enhanced Results 4.2.06+.

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Several Locator Updates Released Today

Cartographer Map Table 800 x 380

Several updates to Store Locator Plus, one of the most popular WordPress locator plugins available today, were published today.  The updates include the base Store Locator Plus plugin as well as several add-on packs.    Some of the updates work hand-in-hand.  If you are using any of the premium add-on packs listed you should upgrade all of the components starting with the base plugin.

Store Locator Plus

Updates to version 4.2.57 include general cleanup of unused variables in the JavaScript processor and the PHP engine running on WordPress.   The changes are minor but every unused variable and defunct function that is eliminated reduces the memory footprint and can increase execution speed of the plugin.

Minor CSS adjustments were made to the administrative interface as work progresses to modernize the admin interface and bring it inline with the core WordPress user experience.

Communication timers for the premium add-on packs have been increased to allow more time for update processing and news-and-info posts to be retrieved by the server.

Several internal updates were made to assist in shifting all functionality of the Disable Initial Directory feature to the Enhanced Results add-on pack.

Enhanced Results

Enhanced Results version 4.2.07 resolves the issue with disable initial directory not functioning as expected.   This version works in conjunction with Store Locator Plus 4.2.57 to take over full control of the disable initial directory feature.   The processing uses WordPress 4.2 framework standards to provide a more consistent and faster processing experience when utilizing advanced interface features like hiding real-time output from the base plugin.

Version 4.2.07 has also been updated to use the SLP 4.2 add-on framework for testing the validity of settings and utilizes the frameworks user interface manager.  Both provide experience consistency and a reduced memory footprint.

This update requires SLP version 4.2.57

Widget Pack

The Widget Pack has been updated to version 4.2.04 in order to ensure that searches coming in from the widgets will show results on the map page when a user employs the Disable Initial Directory option in Enhanced Results.  All users should upgrade to the new version of the Widget Pack, but if you are using this feature of Enhanced Results you must upgrade the Widget Pack for the widget to work properly.

The updated widget pack has additional changes to remove unused methods and simplify the communication with Store Locator Plus.   The update moves more of the legacy Widget Pack functions in line with the Store Locator Plus 4.2 add-on framework for improved consistency and performance.

This update requires SLP version 4.2.57

Enhanced Map

Enhanced Map was updated to 4.2.06.  This update is a minor update that removes some of the methods in the add-on pack in favor of using the built-in SLP 4.2 add-on framework methods.  This improves consistency and performance.

This update requires SLP version 4.2.56 or higher.

 

Change Logs

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Improved Location Exports

Computer Racks Banner

The Pro Pack for Store Locator Plus was updated to version 4.2.13 today.    The update includes a significant rewrite of the location export routine.   The hosted CSV file functionality has been rewritten to make that feature more user friendly.   More importantly, the new export routine takes advantage of an update to Store Locator Plus 4.2.54 to prevent memory exhaustion during updates.

Exporting Large Lists

As noted in the Store Locator Plus 4.2.54 update article, exporting large lists of locations can fail on servers that do not have enough working memory to contain the entire locations database at one time.    The WordPress database engine aggressively caches data read operations.  In the case of a location export it would convert a SELECT * statement into an operation that would result in every single location detail being loaded into memory at one time.    For a database with 500 locations that is not a problem even on smaller servers.   For clients that are hosting 250,000 locations it is a much bigger issue.   The problem is even more prevalent if you are on a high traffic site where the memory resources may be in use by hundreds of active website visitors at one time.

Pro Pack 4.2.13 implements a new methodology to ensure that only a single location record is loaded into memory at one time during the export process.   In various tests the new methodology appears to be no slower than the fully-cached method that is employed by WordPress.   On a few systems the one-at-a-time method appears to execute slightly FASTER than the fully-cached method.

More importantly, on sites with large lists of locations the export process runs to completion.   In the past a large-list could simply stop.  No errors or warnings given by WordPress, PHP, or MySQL were logged which made it nearly impossible to catch and report on the issue from within the plugin.    Customers serving large lists of locations should now be able to export, update, and re-import these large lists with all of the associated location data included in a single export file, Tagalong categories and Enhanced Results featured location settings included.

Hosted Exports

A feature introduced in a prior update to the Pro Pack was the “hosted CSV file” setting on the location bulk action menu.  The hosted CSV file was being stored in the WordPress-defined temporary file store location.   On many servers this was in the /tmp directory which could be cleaned up by the operating system automatically, losing the download file before it could be accessed.    This update locates the download file in the WordPress-defined uploads directory within an slp sub-directory to prevent operating-system janitorial functions from clearing out the file prematurely.

In addition to the new location, a new administrative user interface element provides a direct link to the downloadable file.    The link can be shared via copy-and-paste so the download file location can be shared with other members of the IT or technical team without having to re-run the export process.

Pro 4.2.13 Hosted Download Interface
Pro 4.2.13 Hosted Download Interface

Filtering Exports

Did you know you can filter which locations are exported with the Pro Pack?   This feature has been built into the product since the earliest 4.2 release of the product.

Go to the Manage Locations Filter menu and select “filter with these properties”.    After you set a filter, for example to show only locations in the state of “SC”, you can now go to Bulk Actions / Export and get an export of only those locations that match the filter.

PRO 4.2.13 Filter Locations Export
PRO 4.2.13 Filter Locations Export

Change Log

 

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Store Locator Plus Better Mobile UI On Admin Interface

SLP Tabs Banner

Store Locator Plus 4.2.48 was released today representing the first step toward an improved admin interface.   The current update removes the side panel on all of the Store Locator Plus admin pages and places the submenu links under the main tabs.   An update to the location edit/delete/pages icons as well as the info markers on the settings pages in the admin panel also improve mobile interface design.  The updated plugin relies on custom font files versus sprite graphics files making for a lighter weight admin interface that renders faster and more consistently across browsers.   This is the first step toward an improved admin UI that is planned for development over the next few months.

SLP 4.2.48 Locations Interface
SLP 4.2.48 Locations Interface

Users that upgrade to SLP 4.2.48 should also upgrade the Pro Pack and Enhanced Results add-on packs that were released earlier today.    The add-on packs will function without updating to the latest release but can override the updated admin interface changes that are part of the base plugin.    An update to Store Pages is in testing and will be released soon with similar patches to maintain UI consistency with the base plugin.

Change Log

 

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WordPress Store Locator Featured Results Fix

Locate Our Beer Banner

Store Locator Plus 4.2.46 was released today with a patch that fixes extended data element processing.   The patch directly addresses the Enhanced Results featured locations listings, rank ordering, as well as some of the add-on pack features of the extended data packs.  The patch does not require an update to Enhanced Results,  though a update is imminent for that product to extended internationalization/localization and WPML compatibility.

SLP 4.2.46 ER 4.2
Featured Locations on Store Locator Plus 4.2.46 with Enhanced Results 4.2.05

Store Locator Plus Changelog

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Enhanced Results Featured Location Sort Fixed

Enhanced Results Banner

Enhanced Results version 4.2.03 for Store Locator Plus fixes a long-standing issue that was hiding in the codebase for years.    A recent update to Store Locator Plus created a more efficient back-end solution for processing MySQL queries.  This update uncovered a bug where Enhanced Results was adding duplicate order by distance clauses to the SQL statement.    Due to the new way in which the ordering statements are processed the results manifested as featured locations no longer being bubbled to the top of the results list.

Featured locations on SLP 4.2.35 and Enhanced Results 4.2.03.
Featured locations on SLP 4.2.35 and Enhanced Results 4.2.03.

The latest patch to Enhanced Results addresses that bug and employs the improved SQL query processor that is built into the base plugin.  The new processor eliminates duplicate and unwarranted ordering clauses which creates faster results for the users.    Less order clauses in an SQL query means a much higher likelihood of the data indexes being used which can speed up queries by 10-20x.

Change  Log

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Enhanced Results Adds Popup Email Forms

Popup Email Banner

Enhanced Results version 4.2.0 has been published with several new features including the ability to communicate with listed businesses via a popup email form.

New Email Results Options

The latest release adds a new Email Format selector on the User Experience / Results admin interface.

ER 4.2.0 UX Results Features Email
ER 4.2.0 UX Results Features Email Options

There are 3 options available.

Email Label with Email Link

This setting will show a text label, the default is the word “Email”, in the location search results.    This text will be direct-linked to a standard mailto: email address that links to the contact email address listed for the location.    The label text can be changed via the Results Labels settings.

Email Address with Email Link

This setting will show the email address in the location search results.    This text will be direct-linked to a standard mailto: email address that links to the contact email address listed for the location.    This was the default setting for Store Locator Plus version 4.2.26 and earlier.

Popup Form Linked To Email

This is the most secure setting for email contact.   This setting will display the text label in the location results; the same text label used for the Email Label with Email Link that can be changed via Results Labels.  With this setting in place the link will run a JavaScript popup dialogue form.  The form is a modal jQuery form which means it can be moved around on the screen and can be formatted using jQuery-standard dialogue themes via their available jquery-ui CSS theme sets.

ER 4.2.0 Popup Email Form
ER 4.2.0 Popup Email Form

 

The form does not expose the location email address.   Only the location ID is used on the form.  The ID is passed to the built-in Store Locator Plus AJAX handler to find the location’s email address and sets the to: email address when processing the form.

The user is presented with 3 input items, the “From” email address, the email subject, and the email message.    All 3 input elements use the HTML placeholder to present the user with instructions on what to place in each field.   The text for the placeholders can be set in the Results Labels.

 

Popup Email Form Customization

With the new popup email form there are several new label options available in Enhanced Results.  The new options allows for the popup dialogue box to be customized including the dialog box title as well as setting the input field placeholders for from, subject, and message.

ER 4.2.0 UX Results Labels
ER 4.2.0 UX Results Labels

 

Other Changes

Enhanced Results 4.2 has been updated to use the Store Locator Plus 4.2 add-on framework.  This reduces the overhead and memory footprint of the add-on pack, improves stability, and builds on a consistent extensible interface that applies to all 4.2.X add-on packs.  Enhanced Results 4.2 is also configured to utilize the WPML translation hooks whenever possible.

Enhanced Results Changelog

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Enhanced Results Patch Fixes Rank Issue

Charleston WordCamp Directory Map Banner

Enhanced Results version 4.1.14 was released today with several important bug fixes.   Issues with the extended data fields for hte rank and featured setting have been resolved.   The ZERO rank is now considered “unranked” the same as the null or blank entries to fix location sorting issues when changing a previously ranked entry to a blank value (WordPress stores this as a zero in the database).

In addition the Swedish language files have been added to the product and the image display on the manage locations has been moved out of Enhanced Result into the base plugin.

Enhanced Results Changelog