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Release Updates: SLP 4.4.30, Pages 4.4.06, and Pro Pack 4.4.04

Store Locator Plus

Store Locator Plus developers have been busy with a lot of coding to prepare for the transition to a better and, hopefully, smoother internationalization and language translation process with add-ons and/or updates to the base plug-in. Translation files will no longer need to be 100% updated and accurate to prevent the settings strings from “dropping off”. This is the first iteration of several that will slowly convert all admin settings to be language “neutral”. The release also includes some minor performance improvements and an update to the German language file thanks to one of our Store Locator Plus customers. Tutorial and informational videos (on this release as well as “How to” instructional videos) can be viewed on the Store Locator Plus YouTube channel.

Pro Pack v 4.4.04

Pro Pack has also been updated to address two known issues. The first issue that may not be apparent to many users was found in the Pro Pack Reports. Pro Pack Reports were creating duplicate indexes.That has been patched. The second issue that was reported was with remote import functions set for a chronological upload. The schedule import time has to be set to seconds not the top of the hour, (NOT a time like 14:00 as noted in the help text). The help text in Pro Pack has been fixed to clarify.

Import CRON
Import CRON

Pages v 4.4.06

A bug was found in a past Pages release causing Pages to reset the custom Page templates and also resetting them back to draft whenever locations or other info in your location database was changed. That has been patched in 4.4.06

As a side note, if you missed the 2016 Future Forward announcement, both Pages and Pro Pack will be included in the new Power add-on, estimated to be ready for production in April 2016.

The technical background for Pro Pack release notes, Pages release notes and Store Locator Plus 4.4.30 are explained in the below videos

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Version updates: SLP 4.4.27, Experience 4.4.07 Janitor 4.4.03, Pro Pack 4.4.02, Gravity Forms Integration 4.4.02

This work is considered to be in the public domain
Peter Brueghel the Younger ” Village Lawyer”

Store Locator Plus 4.4.27

If you have the Experience add-on and had not already updated to 4.4.06 or 4.4.07 prior to SLP 4.4.27, you must do so FIRST

Highlights and Updates:
There were settings in the distance parameters that effected the radius results used for ranking settings and effected the radius behavior settings that is used for pagination (a Premier feature) as well as Additional results features in Experience add-on.  The DOM structure for the info bubble has changed. As a result , the div# rule for the sl_ info bubble needs to be “non- generic”. The new div# rule needs to have the slp_id.  This may require some updating and additional changes to fix some of the SLP plug-in styles.  New plug-in styles have been added and older SLP plugin styles have been updated.  As the SLP development team moves closer to the SaaS goal the intent is to simplify the amount of maintenance that is inherent when updating multiple add-ons and legacy SLP coding that is less efficient, less than optimum performance, and time consuming. Sites that have not been updated for years may have issues when “jumping” versions or not updating the add-ons to maintain compatibility with WP and base Plugins.
Always be sure to Check SLP and Add-on versions if you see issues on your site.

Store Locator Plus Janitor

SLP Janitor Product Image

Janitor is a free add-on exclusively for use with the SLP base plugin and add-ons.  The Janitor user interface has been retooled to work with the new Expereince and Power add-ons and to patch some bugs that prevented the resets for options_nojs.  Janitor provides  tools to reset, delete, and manage UI settings.  It also provides a tool for  deleting location data, cleaning up extended data and Store Pages.   A bug was reported by a forum user that the reset tool for admin_locations_per_page was not saving. Since it had been set to show 5000 locations per page, the locations admin page would not load, preventing management of the locations. The default is 10 locations per page. Some systems can accommodate 100 locations per page but more will usually break the upload of this page.

Janitor Release details:  through 4.4.03.  Requires SLP 4.4.27

Highlights:

  • Add Gravity Form Integration and Gravity Forms Locations settings.
  • Simplify the admin interface to have tools and settings displayed
  • Cleaned up the settings interface.
  • Show SLP Installed Base version (such as 4.4.27) which is used to trigger the activation/update code.

Fixes:

  • Resetting of individual options_nojs settings for base plugin (reported in the forum)

Pro Pack v 4.4.02

Fixes:

  • Delete duplicate report table indexes.
  • Fix the index creation SQL.

Gravity Forms Integration 4.4.02

GFI is a Third Party Add-on by Debaat that interfaces with the Free Gravity Forms Location add-on within the Store Locator Plus Add-on suite. The GFI updates fixes the create pages integration and has been retooled to work with the SLP 4.4.xx version layout. Questions for DeBaat can be posted in the Third Party Add-ons Forum

Change Log for SLP

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SLP 4.4.26 updates: Faster Processing Pro Pack 4.4.01 fixes Latitude/Longitude CSV imports

Store Locator Plus

Behind the scenes updates to the Admin UI layout continues with version 4.4.26 of the base plugin and 4.4.05 of the Experience Add-on.

ProPack v 4.4.01

  • Changes ProPack User Interface for faster processing and compatibility with the new Store Locator Plus layout
  • Fixes the import function of latitude/longitude fields in the locations manager.
  • Updates the Location Sensor (GPS)

Check your SLP and add-on versions to ensure you are using the latest updates. The add-on updater system does not always notify you via the WP plugin directory if there are newer versions of the add-ons.

Questions for support can be posted in the forums. Please provide a complete picture of your Plugin environment with your site url and refer to the posting guidelines.

Change Log for SLP

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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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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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WordPress Locator Improves Bulk Import/Export

Pin In Map Banner

Store Locator Plus , a plugin for placing location maps on your WordPress site, was updated to version 4.2.58 today. The new update includes several patches that work toward further performance and reliability improvements.

Store Locator Plus 4.2.58

The patches include removal of several custom network handlers in favor of the built-in WordPress core methods for managing HTTP requests. This provides a more consistent and secure fallback (in non-geek-speak: trying different ways to accomplish a task) when getting data or information from other web servers. This has reduces the size of the install for the base plugin and improves both base plugin and add-on pack performance and security.

The update also includes removal of several custom behind-the-scenes methods and functions that Store Locator Plus has been “carrying around” for some time since the initial legacy release of Store Locator Plus 2. The removal of these methods lessens the code complexity and also reduces memory consumption.

Pro Pack 4.2.14

In conjunction with Store Locator Plus 4.2.58, which is now required for Pro Pack 4.2.14, the Pro Pack has built on the patches of 4.2.58 to improve bulk location import/export processing.

For bulk location imports the File Import feature for recurring file imports from a remote file destination has been improved.  The new implementation uses the built-in WordPress core remote file request handler to fetch the remote file.  This ensures that the full list of fallback methods for retrieval are employed.  This is especially useful on hardened systems that do not allow remote URL fopen requests.    In the previous versions of the Pro Pack , systems with allow_url_fopen turned off would not be able to retrieve the remote file.   In addition, the time allowed to fetch the remote file has been increased from 30 seconds to 5 minutes to provide ample time to make the server connection and fetch the complete file contents.

Pro 4.2.14 Locations Import
Pro 4.2.14 Locations Import

For location exports, a patch has been included that stops the field data output in the CSV files from “randomly shifting” causing the CSV file headers to not match the column data.   The problem is related to empty data fields that are not output on various systems.   The root source of the “dropped empty columns” was never discovered, but several servers that exhibited this behavior have received the Pro Pack 4.2.14 update and the issue appears to have been resolved.   Somewhere buried deep in the PHP configuration settings or one of the compiled-in libraries there is a setting that is causing empty data fields to be skipped.   It does not appear to be a simple PHP install version issue but rather a unique combination of PHP environment settings.

Pro Pack 4.2.14 Export Locations
Pro Pack 4.2.14 Export Locations

Change Log

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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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Locator Saves Custom Themes , Prepares For Custom Map Styles

Custom Bluegreen Map Banner

Store Locator Plus 4.2.54 was released today will several notable updates.   The updates include preparations for better location export performance in an upcoming Pro Pack release, custom Google map styling for an upcoming Enhanced Map release, and several patches for that impact all users of the base plugin itself including preparations for new Premier Member Only features and services.    One of the most-requested features, however, is the saving of custom CSS stylesheets (plugin themes) when updating the base plugin.

Saving Custom Stylesheets

Starting in version 4.2.54, whenever you select a custom plugin theme from the User Experience / View tab in the Store Locator Plus admin panel, a copy of your theme file is saved in a “safe directory” on the server.    From that point forward, when the next update of Store Locator Plus rolls out you can upgrade without having to re-upload your custom theme file.    Store Locator Plus will automatically locate and restore the custom theme file that you were using prior to the upgrade.

SLP 4.2.54 UX View Themes
SLP 4.2.54 UX View Themes

This update does require you to first save your current plugin theme file locally and re-upload it AFTER installing SLP 4.2.54.   Once you have done that process go to User Experience / View, select your newly-uploaded custom theme file, and you will be good-to-go for any future updates.

One less step in your SLP upgrade process if you have built custom theme files.   Some people are really going to like that update!

Data Performance and Location Export

Pro Pack allows for locations to be exported from your Store Locator Plus installation into a CSV file.   However some servers have very limited memory resource and “just stop” for no apparent reason when doing a location export.    It turns out that nearly every single error and warning reporting system in PHP and your web server are disabled during WordPress database I/O operations.   Another important note about the WordPress data engine is that it tries to cache ENTIRE DATA REQUESTS into memory whenever you perform a data operation through the data engine.

PRO 4.2.13 Prereease Export Locations
PRO 4.2.13 Prereease Export Locations

Since Store Locator Plus uses the built-in WordPress database engine for performance and consistency reasons, it means that whenever you elect to export your locations the entire location database is put in working memory on the server.  On a busy server or on a smaller server with limited RAM the export operation would often stop with no indication or warning as to what went wrong.  Even if you enabled full debugging there was no clue that the WordPress DB engine ate up all the memory on the server and died.

To avoid this problem the Store Locator Plus base plugin has added several new data I/O statements that allow plugins like the Pro Pack add-on to specify things like “only get one record at a time and load it into RAM”.    While the general claim is that this slows down performance versus the cache method employed by default in WordPress, limited test results show that the export process is no slower when doing a the “record at a time export”.   In fact on several servers the process was actually FASTER.  More important, however, is that on the busiest server as well as the lowest-memory configuration server an entire set of 200,000 records was exported without failing.

Pro Pack updates are coming soon that will take advantage of this feature.   Pending further performance testing, this feature is likely to make it into several features in the base plugin as well as additional add-on packs.

More Map Customization

The new update includes minor revisions to the Google Maps JavaScript interface.  The new revision will allow site administrators to employ custom JSON style rules to the Google Maps itself.   You will no longer be relegated to having your map look exactly like every other Google Map on the planet.   This new revision allows you to grab pre-configured JSON style rules from places like Snazzy Maps or to craft your own and create a truly custom look for your map interface.      The new map style feature will be part of a forthcoming Enhanced Maps update that is now being tested.

EM 4.2.04 Prerelease Map Styling
EM 4.2.04 Prerelease Map Styling
EM 4.2.04 Map Styling UI
EM 4.2.04 Map Styling UI

Premier Member Features

You may notice a couple of new settings in the General Settings / Admin tab in Store Locator Plus.    A new section for “Premier Members” where subscribers can enter their User ID and Subscription ID.    These new settings will enabled advanced features available only to Premier Members with an active subscription.    Exclusive Premier Member’s Only features will be coming to Store Locator Plus over the next few months.

Existing Premier Members should keep an eye out for Store Locator Plus news related to the new features.  Not a Premier Member yet?  Subscribe now and lock in the current monthly or annual subscription rate.   As the exclusive features list grows, so too will the membership fee.

Store Locator Plus 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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Store Locator Plus Ready For WordPress 4.2

Brewery Banner

Store Locator Plus 4.2.45 has been tested with the latest version of WordPress 4.2, 4.2-RC3-32249-src to be exact. This is expected to be very close to the final release candidate for WordPress 4.2. WordPress 4.2 is scheduled to be released later this week.

New Inline Updates for Premium Add-Ons

SLP 4.2.45 is configured to use a entirely new update system for the premium Store Locator Plus add-on packs. The new system is wholly contained within the WordPress engine and is no longer processing as a separate web services application. The updated system provides a better integration with the plugin metadata which eliminates extra steps in the update release cycle. The new system also makes the web server more efficient as it now can utilize built-in caching and other performance features of the WordPress framework. Security is also improved with the new update system. All add-on packs will automatically convert to the new update system when SLP 4.2.45 is installed.

New Brewery Plugin Theme

A new plugin theme, Brewery v1.0, is included in the latest Store Locator Plus release. Plugin themes included with Store Locator Plus control the look-and-feel of the locator map, search form, and results. Different themes are provided in an effort to provide “out of the box” layouts and color schemes that work with different WordPress themes. The newest Brewery theme was provided by Rescue Themes to create a seamless experience with their Brewery WordPress theme.

SLP 4.2.45 Brewery Theme
Brewery WP Theme by Rescue Themes, compatible with Store Locator Plus.

Update Language Features

New Dutch and French translations have been added to Store Locator Plus in the past 30 days. The Find Button text is now gettext compatible to make for easier translations on single-language sites. The update also works better with language-switching utilities like WPML. Store Locator Plus has built-in hooks designed to facilitate integration with WPML.

Other Updates

The PHP execution time setting is now applied to the manage locations page. Slower servers would time out when multiple add-on packs, especially Tagalong, were in use and an admin user tried to list 10,000 locations on the list locations page. Servers that allow for real-time manipulation of the PHP execution time setting can change the maximum execution time under general settings, with 0 being “as much time as it needs”. This setting will allow for very long lists to be generated on the list locations page. Other services in the locations plugin also utilize this setting including the location import and export features of the Pro Pack.

SLP 4.2.45 Max Execution Time
SLP 4.2.45 Max Execution Time

Better testing for blank addresses, those with no street, city, state/province, zip/postal code, or country information are handled more efficiently and are prevented from being added in most scenarios. In addition to blank addresses, other core information is validated prior to updating or adding location data.

TAG 4.2.03 Category Editor
TAG 4.2.03 Category Editor

Change Log

The change log is provided by the WP Dev Kit WordPress Plugin.

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Improved Import Notifications In Store Locator Plus 4.2.43

The WordPress location finder and directory building plugin, Store Locator Plus, released version 4.2.43 today.   The new release adds improved import notices and works in tandem with both the Pro Pack and Tagalong add-on packs to provide better notification of problem imports.   The new release is also better at testing CSV headers and file formats and stopping the import process before grinding through thousands of potentially errant data entries.

Location Import in SLP 4.2.23 with Pro Pack 4.2.08
Location Import in SLP 4.2.23 with Pro Pack 4.2.08

CSV import processing allows businesses to load thousands of locations at once into the locator plugin.   Sites employing a Google Business or OEM license can load and geocode up to 100,000 locations per 24 hour period.   Sites using the standard, and no-cost, Google API service that is built into the product can import and geocode up to 2,500 locations per day.

Store Locator Plus provides the “enter your zip code and get a map of our locations” feature for web sites and mobile apps.   The product requires little-to-no technical knowledge to list locations and implement the interactive search-and-map interface.    Over 10,000 active installations range from small businesses with “a handful of locations” to organizations with over 250,000 locations being served.

Pro Pack brings the “enterprise-level” services to the free Store Locator Plus base plugin.   The Pro Pack includes CSV import for locations, the location sensor that allows the web pages to get GPS coordinates from a mobile device or GPS-aware desktop web browser, and search-and-results reporting.   Pro Pack version 4.2.08, being released in tandem with the Store Locator Plus update, utilizes the new features in the base plugin to extend the processing and reporting of location imports.

Tagalong brings location categorization features to locations.    Businesses with multiple types of locations can allow users to filter the search results based on what segment of the business is being served.   Manufacturers use this feature to show which retail outlets carry specific lines of a product offering.   Medical services mark various providers by their areas of expertise.   Tagalong can also provide custom map markers and per-location icons based on the categories assigned to a location.

Store Locator Plus Change Log

Pro Pack Change Log

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Pro Pack Gets Faster CSV Import Option

The latest version of the Pro Pack, 4.2.07, has been released with some new features including a “Recode All Uncoded” and “Load Data CSV Import”.

Pro 4.2.07 Bulk Actions
Pro 4.2.07 Bulk Actions

Recode All Uncoded

The Recode All Uncoded bulk action under Manage Locations will automatically select all of the uncoded (missing latitude and/or longitude coordinates) locations without the need to check the boxes.    The process will automatically select all of the uncoded locations and re-submit them to Google for geocoding.

This will not magically fix addresses that Google cannot find.   It is meant to assist sites that have more locations than the daily Google geocoding limit will support.  The free Google Maps API limits location geocoding requests to 2500 per day per server.  On a shared hosting server this can be a few hundred location “lookups” if other sites on the same server are using Google Maps.    Recode All Uncoded will help quickly re-run locations that were previously imported but exceeded the geocoding limit for the day.

Load Data CSV Import

from the updated CSV Import documentation:

If you have Pro Pack version 4.2.06+ and Store Locator Plus version 4.2.41+ you can use the Load Data option with CSV Import.  This feature uses the MySQL Load Data command is is 10-50x faster than WordPress / PHP CSV file parsing, with the typical Google Geocoding limitations on performance and record counts if you are not supplying the latitude/longitude data.   This feature will only import basic location data.  It does not import extended data fields or Tagalong category data.     If you use this along with having pre-entered latitude and longitude values you can import 100,000 locations in less than 10 minutes on a basic web server.    The column headers should be included in the file and should match the basic fields.  You do NOT need to include all columns.

You can build a CSV-import ready export directly from MySQL if your MySQL user account has the GRANT FILE privilege on the WordPress Store Locator Plus file.    You’ll typically need to login to MySQL from an administrative account to grant file to the WordPress or other user as follows:


#mysql

> GRANT FILE ON wordpress.* TO 'wpuser'@'localhost';

You will replace wpuser with your WordPress username and ‘localhost’ with your MySQL server hostname or IP address.

With the file privilege set you can then export a CSV file for import with the following MySQL command:


SELECT * INTO OUTFILE 'geocoded_locations.csv'

FIELDS TERMINATED BY ','

OPTIONALLY ENCLOSED BY '"'

LINES TERMINATED BY '\r\n'

FROM wp_store_locator;

This will create a geocoded_locations.csv file in the default MySQL WordPress files location, typically /var/lib/mysql/wordpress/ on a Linux system.    You can specify a fully-qualified URL for the output file.  The details on where the file is written by default and how to specify the full URL will depend on your web server settings.

PRO 4.2.06 Load Data Import
PRO 4.2.06 Load Data Import

You can now import the basic file using the Store Locator Plus Pro Pack by using the Load Data option with “first line has field names” and “skip geocoding” if you have the following CSV file header:


sl_id,sl_store,sl_address,sl_address2,sl_city,sl_state,sl_zip,sl_country,sl_latitude,sl_longitude,sl_tags,sl_description,sl_email,sl_url,sl_hours,sl_phone,sl_fax,sl_image,sl_private,sl_neat_title,ignore_sl_linked_postid,ignore_sl_pages_url,ignore_sl_pages_on,ignore_sl_option_value,ignore_sl_lastupdated

This will import the primary fields and ignore the secondary data fields that you will want to have re-created automatically.

Export All Hosted CSV

A new experimental feature has also been added.    It is deemed “experimental” as it works on some systems but will not work on all systems due to directory security limitations.  If this feature gets a lot of interest from the users it will be refined and kept in the product. Export All, Hosted CSV is a new CSV export feature that works much like the Export Locations download feature.

The Export Locations feature that existed in the past, and is now labelled “Export All, Download CSV” fetches the location data in CSV format and sends it to the browser for immediate download.  This can be a time consuming process as not only does the server need to process the location list and write the data, but your browser needs to open up a local file on your device and write the data locally.    Depending on how much memory you have on your device and the speed of your local drive the direct download process can be slower.

The Export All, Hosted CSV option keeps everything on the server.    Your browser connection will remain active as Store Locator Plus reads all of the location records on the server and writes them to a disk file on the same server, however there is no browser download.  For SOME users this will be faster, especially if you are on an older laptop or desktop.    The file is written the the WordPress temporary storage directory on the server.   For most Linux based hosts that will be in the /tmp directory which you may not have access to depending on your host.   Some hosts will put temporary files in a local folder under your hosting account with the file name slplus_locations.csv.     If there is enough interest, this option will be refined to allow users to specify the destination directory and filename.      Site administrators can access the local server file using their hosting solution file manager or standard FTP/SFTP applications, which can be faster than browser-based downloads.

Pro Pack Change Log

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Better Location Import Processing

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The Pro Pack for Store Locator Plus had several features published recently. The focus has been on better CSV location import processing. In version 4.2.04 of the Pro Pack the following import refinements have been made:

Location data will automatically have extra white space trimmed from the data fields. Visually this has little impact, but both JavaScript data handlers and test scripts run better when not having to guess how many blank spaces appear after the name of a business.

The PHP Maximum Execution time setting, included in Store Locator Plus version 4.2.30, is used for bulk import processing as well as volume AJAX queries such as bulk geocoding of locations. If the hosting provider allows for the execution time to be specified by a WordPress application, the new setting can be used to override the typical default of 30-seconds of maximum processing time before the web application terminates. This can be especially useful for large lists of locations where processing 10,000+ locations can take more than 30 seconds on a low-end server. Some hosting companies, especially those on shared hosting plans, do not allow for the maximum PHP execution time to be managed from within WordPress. Contact your hosting company for details.

SLP 4.2.31 General Settings Server
SLP 4.2.31 General Settings Server

The latest version of the Pro Pack now uses the Store Locator Plus 4.2 framework for AJAX requests. This increases security and stability while performing background AJAX functions such as report downloads with the Pro Pack.

Pro Pack Changelog

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Pro Pack Adds Scheduled Location Imports

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The Pro Pack add on for Store Locator Plus was updated to add scheduled location imports.   The release, available immediately, utilizes the WordPress task scheduling system (WordPress cron) to provide a way for CSV files to be imported on a scheduled basis.   Imports can be run hourly, twice daily, or daily.   Manual , “on demand” , imports remains part of the product allow for instantaneous updates when needed.

Pro Pack 4.2.03 Import Locations
Pro Pack 4.2.03 Import Locations

Pro Pack Changelog

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Store Locator Plus Version 4.2.17 Released

Store Locator Plus version 4.2.17 was released today. The latest update has minor administrative updates as well as code refactoring for the add locations process. The updates should have no noticeable impact for typical users. Developers that have integrated the Store Locator Plus locations into other projects may need to update their code to accommodate the change of location in the location geocoding methods. Other updates in the Store Locator Plus plugin are related to administrative UI elements, adding new features to allow for dynamic updating of input fields to be disabled and enabled based on drop down selections. This can be useful for add-on packs with complex administrative setting interactions.

This update should not impact the administrative or user experience. The release is primarily to support new features in add-on packs such as the forthcoming Pro Pack schedule location imports.

Developer Notes

If you are using class.adminui.locations.php in your add-on pack or custom code and are calling any of the location add or geocoding methods you will need to require class.location.php. You can check the new class.location.php code to obtain revised method names for adding and geocoding locations. The most-oft-used method in the locations class is the add_to_database() method. If you have questions or problems please ask to join the CSA Slack channel via the contact form on the CSA website.

SLP Location Class Methods
SLP Location Class Methods

Store Locator Plus Changelog