Posted on

Getting Started With Store Locator Plus

In June 2016 Google decided to extend their reach into tracking everything-and-anything online by requiring ALL Google Maps products and services to start registering their websites with Google.   We’ve updated our Getting Started With Store Locator Plus documentation and videos to include the Google Maps API registration process.   If you have any questions please contact us via the forums or by email.

You can get detailed instructions via the Getting Started article on our docs site.

The steps:

  1. Install the Store Locator Plus plugin.
  2. Get your Google API Key.
  3. Save it via the Store Locator Plus General /Server tab.
  4. Add a location.
  5. Add a WordPress page with the [slplus] shortcode on it.

 

Posted on

Google Maps Now Requires API Registration

There are some new Google changes that we anticipated nearly a year ago and is not specific to Store Locator Plus.

API Key

Effectively Immediately, all new websites that come online as of June 22, 2016 will require a Google Map API key.   This is no longer optional.  Store Locator Plus has had the ability to set a Google API key since version 4.  Go to the General / Server tab and enter your Google API Server Key.

SLP 4.5 General Server Settings
SLP 4.5 General Server Settings

You can learn more and sign up for a key from the Google Maps documentation site.

Google Maps API Limits
Google Maps API Limits

Location Sensor

Any users running Chrome including those using Android based web browsers will no longer be able to auto-detect their location using the location sensor unless the source site is running https.  That means that your website must have a valid SSL certificate.  If your site URL does not load when you use https:// as the starting part of your web address the location sensor provided by the Power Add On will not work.

Posted on

Store Locator Plus version 4.4.05 , map domains, new add-on development , and Freemius feedback options

583px-Australia_satellite_plane
SLP version 4.4 had been undergoing testing and is now in production mode as 4.4.05 for download.

Highlights

  • SLP 4.4 is compatible with all of the 4.3 add-ons
  • Changes were made to the way the query to the Google maps global router server were done. SLP 4.3 versions were using what Google suggested to determine the map queries.
    Croc farm

    For instance, if you had selected from the Map drop down choices, the map domain”map.google.com Australia” you would expect a search for Melbourne to look in the Australia map for Melbourne, Australia. With the 4.3 version update, the map server was going to the central, or global router to direct to the Google Map servers instead of to the map domain selected in SLP. A video explains what changed and how it is now working

  • An optional “Freemius” system which is a tool to provide Store Locator Plus feedback as to why you deactivated the base plug-in. This will enable SLP to make improvements and catch issues early on. The benefit to the SLP plug-in users s that they are not required to register in the forum to report SLP as “not working.

For an overview of the SLP 4.4 upgrade please watch the Store Locator Plus short video, with some Pre-release news on the up and coming “Experience bundle” that will be offered as a compatible add-on to the new and improved 4.4 plugins. A faster, lighter, and more efficient experience is on its way!

Change Log for SLP

Posted on

Store Locator Plus update to version 4.3.22, fixes fallback to center map, changed and added styles, previews, and other patches

Blue Mountains Australia
Blue Mountains Australia

Highlights of the fixes and updates:

A new style ” Beside Myself Again” has been added to the SLP plug-in style directory.  Additionally, some of the older styles that are no longer supported will not be displayed as a selection and may not work as well with the current 4.3 versions of the plug-in.

Under Experience/View  of  the SLP plugin styles, a new feature has been introduced. A thumbnail allows for you to preview  how the map will display when selecting one of the SLP  styles  when save settings is clicked.  The Plug-In styles options will be evident  if you have one of the add-ons such as Pro Pack, Enhanced Results or other Enhanced  SLP add-ons.

The callback setting that allows for a map to still be displayed  when the Google Map API server was “busy”  has been patched so that if you cleared the lat/long it resets properly.  This feature ONLY effects a site when Google was not working when queries were sent  to the server and  instead sending results to a longitude/latitude of (0,0) which is off the coast of Africa.

SLP 4.3.22 also patches how the SLP Search form Widget interfaced. When  re-directing  to a WP Map page that had a Store Locator Plus shortcode of “center map at”,  the  re-direct to the page was not reading the  specific SLP shortcode  on the page for center_map_at = “address”, and thus not rendering the correct map.

  • Enhancement: Add Plugin Styles preview images for some of the advanced themes.
  • Enhancement: Provide a trigger when showing admin interface subpanels for improved admin UI experience with add-on packs.
  • Enhancement: New Beside Myself Again Plugin Style. Map on left, search and results on right. Works best with The Experience Package of add-ons.
  • Enhancement: Added support for the new map info bubble footnote setting provided by the Premier add-on.
  • Fix: Center Map Fallback now gets proper lat/lng when a specific address is used for center map at and the center lat/lng is set to blank.
  • Fix: Make the Center Map At the default address when loading the map page via Widget references.
  • Change: Any user that has the update_plugins capability will allow the premium add-on packs to be updated. Prior to 4.3.21 this feature required and admin to have the manage_slp capability.
  • Change: Older Plugin Styles have been moved to the css/legacy directory including above_and_beyond_nyloboard_01, beside_the_point_2012, default_2014, default_old, default, and twentyfifteen_rev_02. All are superceded with newer versions.

The author has a short video explaining the functions and provides a quick visual reference and explanation. The video mentions version 4.3.21, but it is actually version 4.3.22 which envelopes 4.3.21.

 

Change Log for SLP

Posted on

Enhanced Search 4 – Search Address Influence

Enhanced Search Banner

Over the past 24 hours I’ve been pushing to get some last minute features into the Store Locator Plus 4 family of products.    A new feature that was added to Enhanced Search 4 last night is the ability to influence the search results for ambiguous entries that users type into  the search address/zip code box.   A new settings allows you to keep the current “Google best guess” or “Worldwide” mode or use a new “Current Map” mode.     In current map mode Google’s default search engine for a given address is changed to give more weight to those locations that are closest the the current map area being displayed.    That means a generic address like “100 Main Street” has a better chance of showing the most popular 100 Main Street address for the area of the map currently displayed to the user.    If you are in Charleston South Carolina it is far more likely to show 100 Main Street in Summerville South Carolina than the default Google guess of 100 Main Street in Buffalo New York.

Enhanced Search 4 Search Influence Setting
Enhanced Search 4 Search Influence Setting

The following video shows this new feature in action and describes a bit more about how it works:

Posted on

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