A bug was patched in Experience 4.9.1 that was triggered when using the [slplus] shortcode with any extra attributes. For example [slplus center_map_at=”My Town”] would trigger the issue as would [slplus only_with_category=”Retail”].
Prior to 4.9.1 using any attribute in the slplus shortcode would turn OFF the following settings regardless of how they are set in the main Store Locator Plus settings tab:
Experience 4.9.1 will work with older versions of the Store Locator Plus base plugin, however we recommend you upgrade SLP, Experience, Power, and Premier to the latest 4.9.1 release to address other issues that have been patched in the past 2 weeks.
We are still working on known issues with categories and tags and hope to have a 4.9.2 series of patches out next week.
It has been a busy week for WordPress and all the updates and patches going around. For those on our MySLP managed service, sit back and relax. You’re good. While you may wait a little longer for some new features and a couple of minor patches you are not going to be affected by software updates. You’re good.
For WordPress users we’ve been busy chasing down some notable functionality issues with Store Locator Plus and the Add Ons for WordPress since WordPress 4.9 and 4.9.1 hit the update queue on your sites.
Any time WordPress puts out a major release we get a slew of new support requests. 4.9 was not exception. People that have put off updating their site tend to “do everything at once”. When you are updating a complex system with software from potentially dozens of different companies there are bound to be some problems. We’ve been busy squashing bugs reported in our software and guiding people towards solutions that are caused by other elements in their software stack.
While WordPress 4.9 does not have “breaking changes” to WordPress itself, we do recommend updating to get the latest security features. For those staying on WordPress 4.8.2 you can read about the breaking changes in WordPress 4.8.2 that forced users to upgrade Store Locator Plus.
When an update generates the dreaded White Screen of Doom (WSOD) we often ask people to enable the WordPress Debug Log so we can quickly find and fix code errors in our plugin. In version 4.9.1 you can now enable “late loading” WordPress debugging from the Store Locator Plus admin pages (assuming you can at least get to those, which you often can) without having to edit the wp-config file. While it does not catch all errors it will cover 95% of the Store Locator Plus code base during run time.
You can enable debugging via the Enable WP Debug under Settings | General | Admin | Messages | Enable WP DEBUG.
This often generates warnings and messages on your web pages so we do not recommend doing this at peak hours for your site. In fact we recommend you use a hosting service, like SiteGround’s GoGeek service, that provides “one-click” staging sites that are an exact replica of your live site. Managed WordPress hosts are rarely more expensive than other hosts; we recommend you consider switching to a host that provides staging services when your hosting contract comes up for renewal.
On The Radar
This patch is not the end of our punch list for this month.
PATCH: Power Tag Search Not Working – we have been able to reproduce this problem and are tracking it down for a 4.9.2 release of SLP or 4.9.1 of Power. Both updates should be out within a week.
FEATURE: Add On Auto Update – while we try to “go by the book”, following WordPress Best Practices, their plugin development guide, and the WordPress Core code style guide that allows us to be contributor to WP Core there are times when you have to “be creative”. WordPress update notifications for Store Locator Plus add ons have been getting worse with each release of WordPress. We are finding many sites now get notifications weeks after our updates have been published for our paid add ons. We are working on a new custom update notification system to automatically download and install the latest add ons for Store Locator Plus when the base plugin is updated and no longer compatible with an addon. We are hoping to get this feature out in the 4.9.2 release if possible.
Having issues? Please use the support forums as a first line of communication as it helps others with a similar issue see answers we post. If you cannot post there you can send us an email but email does not show up in the dev’s Slack Channel feed like forum posts do.
Whether posting in the forum or sending email, make sure you post the exact URL for your locator page and copy the plugin environment from under Store Locator Plus | Info | Plugin Environment on the site that is having the issue. Without BOTH pieces of information it takes us a LOT longer to figure out what may be happening on your site. It also helps to provide us with step-by-step instructions to reproduce the problem and see what you are seeing, as in “Go to this page <url here>, type in 29464 as the address, search. I expect to see store A, B, C and instead I see store B, and C only.”
Did you know on MacOS you can get a screen shot by holding down the command key + shift + 4? It is a great way to show us your plugin environment.
For our MySLP users, these types of issues do not affect you. All of the MySLP servers are running PHP7 with the latest security patches. Ahhhh, the benefits of using a managed service. Sit back and relax, PHP compatibility is one less issue to worry about.
An update to SLP , Power, and Premier 4.9.1 are in development that will restore PHP 5.3 compatibility. Those updates are slated to be release by the end of November, 2017. Experience is not impacted by this issue.
For our PHP 5.2 users, unfortunately we can no longer support that release of PHP. We are using a new architecture based on a PHP function that was added to PHP in February 2012. That change in SLP 4.9 means sites using PHP 5.2 can no longer use PHP.
PHP Recommendations and History
For all users it is recommended you upgrade to PHP 5.6 at a minimum. There are dozens of security patches in PHP between each point release (5.2 => 5.3 => 5.4, etc.) some of which are significant.
For reference, here is the PHP Version Release History. Supported until means the last date the PHP language was fixing problems and patching security holes.
6 January 2011
14 August 2014
3 September 2015
21 July 2016
If your host is not allowing you to upgrade to a newer release or a WordPress plugin or theme breaks on PHP 5.6+ you should ask why. WordPress (and Store Locator Plus) run perfectly well on PHP 7 which is the current recommendation from WordPress due to the notable performance improvements in version 7.