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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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Store Locator PLUS 4.4.23 and SLP add-on Pages 4.4.03 patches and updates

SLP v 4.4.23

As you may have noticed there was no blog about the Store Locator Plus  versions 4.4. 21. The skipped versions never made it to production release due to a test fail and a few  last minute changes to the base plugin addressing special characters in the mouse-over appearing as html script.  If you have the Pages add-on, you must update the base SLP plugin to 4.4.23 that implements the REST route to be used for advanced features.

Highlights on the updates (see release notes for more information):

  • Settings under the SLP General Tab would not save the deletion of Google API. This would have impacted multiple options that could no longer be set to their default, (blank) in some cases.
  • Fixed the disappearing act of the ? “help text” in the UI
  • Changed the appearance of the User Interface
  • Fixed the display of the ampersand and apostrophes in the hover mode
  • Introduced REST routes (more in release notes and the technical voodoo to be explained in upcoming blog,video for the uber-technical

Pages v. 4.4.02

Store Pages Logo
Store Pages
    • A latent error that stopped displaying the Map on the Store Pages with the short code storepage map =location  has been patched.
    • An error that caused the repeating of the first location when in a custom post types loop has been fixed.

    • Store Locator Plus You Tube channel.

      Change Log for SLP

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Store Locator Plus Version 4.4.10 fixes the JavaScript error for Pages add-on

Charleston-SC-Waterfront-Park-fountain

Store Locator Plus version 4.4.10

Recent updates to Store Locator Plus 4 have fixed a minor bug that effected the way the Pages add-on shortcode was rendering.

Another feature some of the users and/or administrators were inquiring about is the registry to participate in the Freemius survey feature. Yes, this is still the same author, developer and product. Even if you have registered, you can bypass the survey questions, or opt out. We understand some users are testing and deactivating the plugin and then reinstalling or re-activating SLP 4 to a newer version. You can still select the deactivate button at the bottom of the short survey without adding a reason but we sure would appreciate it if you could share any relevant information about how the plug-in is working for you, even if you are just testing. This allows Store Locator Plus developer to be proactive and improve the plug-in as well as get suggestions for new features.

The new Experience Add-on was published today. Read the latest info and news post and check out the short video.

Next up: The new Power add-on to be released later this month. Stay tuned. Subscriptions 520x520

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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Widgets 4.3.02 , Store Locator Plus 4.3.13 , and Pages 4.3.02 Released for Production site download

photo credit_  Daniel Cleveland
“Falls” , Daniel Cleveland

The Store Locator Plus team survived the recent storm and flooding that encompassed a large part of South Carolina and we even managed to get some work done. Luckily for us, we did not lose power. Here are some of the things that were worked on and published over the past week.

Pages

The pre-release for Pages 4.3.01 which was announced in a previous post, failed one of the tests performed and, as a result, was set aside. Thank you to our SLP community for testing the pre-release and reporting back to the developer. Pages 4.3.02 was released for production downloads last week. If you were using the 4.3.01 pre-release, be sure to delete and download the latest version 4.3.02 which fixes the settings not being saved. This patch also requires an update to the Store Locator Plus to 4.3.13 which was also released last week and is available for download A tutorial video is available for a quick overview of the changes.

Widget Pack

A bug when using the State Widget was reported by a Store Locator Plus customer and has been patched. It effected the ability to change the State within the search form itself. After the user selected a state from the Widget box and loaded the state map, a new state search was not being displayed. Version 4.3.02 resolves this issue. For those people who use this Add-On pack, you will want to update Widgets to version 4.3.02, following the guidance in the Documentation Updating an Addon Pack.

Change Log for SLP

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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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SEO Friendly Store Pages Updated

Store Pages Banner

Store Pages, the per-location SEO Friendly content creator add-on for Store Locator Plus, was patch to version 4.1.02 today.

Default Store Pages Generated Page
Default Store Pages Generated Page

The new version fixes a problem for sites that are using Store Pages with a default Store Page publication setting of “Published”. Sites with the default mode as “Draft” did not experience the problem. Some WordPress themes did not work properly when the default Store Page mode was set to Published. The Store Page would be created but the location would not be added to the Store Locator Plus locations table.

Store Pages Tab 4.1.01
Store Pages Settings

The conflict with using the recommended ‘the_content’ WordPress filter on all post->content updates has been resolved by removing the filter. Using WordPress best practices in this situation is preferable, however the number of reports of locations not being added warranted deviating from best practices in order to support as many themes as possible. The filter change should have a minimal, if any, impact on Store Pages as most themes should not be modifying default custom page type content.

 

Release Details

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Store Pages SEO For Your Locations v 4.1.01

An update for Store Pages,  and SEO friendly add-on that created per-location pages for Store Locator Plus locations, enters final testing today.    The public release is expected within 24 hours as preliminary testing has gone well.  Premier Members can get the release candidate from the downloads page (must be a Premier Member to view this page).

The coming update will stop listing the website links for Store Pages that are not published.   This will ensure that draft pages, which generate a  page not found error, will not be shown on the results listing when using the “pages replace website” option is enabled.

The phone and fax labels have been updated making the Store Pages labels WPML compatible for users with multilingual site support.

A new settings, “Prepend URL” has been added to the product to allow site owners to turn the leading “Front Base” on/off when referencing Store Page URLs.

Store Pages Front Base for Prepend Settings
Store Pages Front Base for Prepend Settings
Store Pages Tab 4.1.01
Store Pages Settings

Prerelease Details

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Store Pages SEO for WordPress Updated

Store Pages Banner

Store Pages has been patched to fixed a data engine issue.   The latest release is version 4.1.  All users running Store Pages should update to this release immediately.

This is an interim release while other issues are being addressed in Store Pages.   This patch impacts other add-on packs and the base Store Locator Plus plugin which mandated an immediate release.    Work continues on Store Pages to address other reported bugs and enhancement requests.   An update to Store Pages will be published after returning from WordCamp Atlanta in mid-March.

4.1

  • Change: Make Pages URL column an Expanded View column.
  • Fix: Store Pages was stopping other add-on pack data queries “in their tracks” causing incomplete results.  This has been patched.

Related Products

* Change: Make Pages URL column an Expanded View column.
* Fix: Store Pages was stopping other add-on pack data queries “in their tracks” causing incomplete results.  This has been patched.

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Locations Missing? Fixing Bugs Uncovers More Bugs

WordPress Bug Squash Banner

If you are running Store Locator Plus 4.1.06, 07, or 08 and suddenly find your locations have gone missing in the admin interface or user interface… there are patches coming soon.    You should ONLY see that problem if you are using Store Pages, Tagalong, or User Managed Locations.    You may see that issue if you have or had Super Extendo (now defunct) installed in conjunction with Enhanced Results.

The bug fix is coming in the noted add-on packs, not the main plugin.

The problem is appearing in the latest releases of Store Locator Plus because of a bug that was fixed in version 4.1.06 of the base plugin.    That bug has been latent for the past 6 months. The newer, more sophisticated, features of the add-on packs started exercising the shared code of the base plugin where the bug was discovered and patched.  Unfortunately other add-on packs, those listed above, had been coded to react to the bug instead of coded to the design specification.  Fixing the bug in the base plugin made the add-on packs that coded around the bug fail as the base plugin was no longer processing the way they had expected.

Each of the add-on packs listed is undergoing final testing to fix the data queries bug along with some other patches that were made for each of the add-on packs.   You should start seeing new versions of the add-on packs in the next few days.

Please be sure to upgrade your add-on packs AND the base Store Locator Plus plugin.        Store Locator Plus should be version 4.1.08 or higher.    You can check the current version list.

Premier Subscribers

Premier Subscribers have access to special posts and pre-release, release-candidate, and final-release products.   If you are a Premier Subscriber, login to your account and look for the latest blog posts to get your copies of the current release candidates for the above plugins.

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Tagalong and Store Pages R&D

Store Pages Banner

More work has been done on Store Pages and Tagalong over the past few days in preparation for the SLP4 release.   The main focus over the past 48 hours has been getting the new Tagalong Icon Array to show up on the Store Pages.   Along the way I ripped out a bunch of legacy Store Pages code and uncovered a hornet’s nest of issues that I’ll be sorting out over the next week.    In the meantime the new version of Store Pages that is coming with SLP4 will be a good bit lighter and a bit more stable when it comes to the location data.    A big part of this is using the new standard location class that has been in Store Locator Plus for nearly a year now.  That location class helps keep all of the Store Locator Plus add-on packs in sync without having to do a lot of add-on-to-add-on communication.     Finally Store Pages is “with the program”.

Store Page With Tagalong Icons
Store Page With Tagalong Icons

As for new features, Store Pages will be getting a new iconarray field qualifier, as in [storepage field=”iconarray”] to display the icons for all of the categories that have been assigned to a location.    This is similar to the Enhanced Results shortcode that will ship that allows for icon arrays to appear in below the map listings.

Tagalong Icons In Results
Tagalong Icons In Results

To round out the offering, Tagalong also adds a new tag [tagalong legend] that will output an icon array to be used as a legend on the map interface.  Pro Pack will help position that legend where you want it on the page.

Customized Search Form With Tagalong Legend
Customized Search Form With Tagalong Legend
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Daily Update : Store Locator Plus 3.12

Plugin News Store Locator Plus

Store Locator Plus version 3.12 and add-0n pack development continues as part of some custom update for a customer.

After adding some new settings to various add-on packs I realized the Map Settings page on the admin panel was getting much too long. I don’t know about you, but I was sick of spinning the scroll wheel on my mouse for 10 minutes just to change a map icon.

One of the most visible new changes is the revised admin panel. I tried to keep as much of the old admin panel intact as possible while adding a new sidebar navigation to the admin panel. If you use themes from WooThemes you’ll immediately recognize the general user experience.

Along the way I realized that the wpCSL framework that manages much of the admin interface was using a lot of inline styles and hard-coded JavaScript. WordPress has a built-in system for loading that sort of thing. There is also a specific methodology to getting CSS and JavaScript to only render for the admin pages you control, so I made sure the framework was upgraded to manage this according to the latest WordPress coding best practices.

Though the changes are not major functional updates, the method for making the framework aware of which pages the plugin “owns” changed. That means changes to ALL of the add-on packs. When Store Locator Plus 3.12 is released the add-on packs will be upgraded as follows:

Here is a video that shows the current development version for the upcoming Store Locator Plus version 3.12, showing off the new admin interface.  It is not 100% complete yet, but functional enough to get a good idea of what is coming.

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Store Pages 3.9.2 Released

Store Pages 3.9.2 passed basic WordPress testing tonight and has been released.  This fixes two significant issues with Store Pages:

Fix: Pages Replace Websites feature is working again.

Fix: Prevent new window option not working.

You must have the Store Locator Plus 3.9.4 base plugin installed for the new patches to work.  If you have Store Locator Plus 3.9.4 installed you should be able to upgrade Store Pages from directly within the WordPress admin panel.

You can install the update manually by logging in to your Charleston Software Associates account and downloading Store Pages.   Log in to your WordPress site, deactivate the Store Pages plugin, delete it.   Add a new plugin, upload the zip you just downloaded, and activate.  All prior settings should be retained.

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Store Locator Plus 3.9.4 / Pro Pack 3.9.4 / Enhanced Search 0.6 / Crowd Funding

Store Locator Plus 3.9.4 and Enhanced Search 0.6 were both released today.

You should always update the base plugin first.  It will be available via the standard WordPress plugin directory and will appear as an available update in your admin panel.  Can’t wait the 12 hour cycle for WordPress auto-polling?  Go to your Dashboard link in the sidebar and visit the updates page.  That should re-poll the WordPress servers.   If it does not pick up the change try clicking “check for updates” for force it to re-poll the WordPress servers.

You can find the changes to Store Locator Plus, Pro Pack, Enhanced Search on the 3.9 Release Notes page.

Add On Pack Update System

Included in the SLP 3.9.4 update was a patch to the add-on pack update system.  For those of you who are not aware how that type of system works, it is a custom application that runs both in the base plugin and on the CSA servers.  To get plugins to work properly with the WordPress update system when they are not hosted on the WordPress directory a custom application-information-and-download service needs to be created.    The service has been in place on the CSA server for a while now, but the WordPress plugin side requires a very specific data format.   There was a bug in the update system on the plugin side that has been patch in 3.9.4.

Hopefully this fixes the add-on pack one-click updates.  At least until WordPress changes the format.

To the new version to work and re-check your add-on packs you will want to update the base plugin, then go to Dashboard/Updates in your WordPress admin panel to re-poll the WordPress and CSA servers for updates.     Your add-on packs will need to be up to the prior version for this to work:

  • Pro Pack 3.9.3
  • Enhanced Map 0.4
  • Enhanced Results 0.7
  • Enhanced Search 0.5
  • Store Pages 3.9.1
  • Tagalong 0.8

Crowd Funding

With the recent interest in crowd funding for new add-on packs and other enhancements, I started researching ways to add crowd funding to my Word Press site.   After a lot of searching I finally settled on a premium-only product called “Ignition Deck“.  It is a cool product, but it is far from ready for “prime time”.  Yes, I can get it working but it is a  LOT of work to make it do what I want.  That means code hacking, creation of theme files, and basically a lot of coding on someone else’s premium project.   No fun.

Believe me, I know the issues the people at Virtual Giant are facing.  I also understand what some of my users go through when trying to bend my plugin to do what they want.   I can say, however, that I am far less embarrassed about my own support and documentation as well as my code comments and structure.    It is far above and beyond the only 4 semi-functional crowd funding plugins I have explored.

Sadly, I don’t think ANY of the plugins that are out there, two of which are now defunct, are ready for implementation on my site.   In fact some are so complex or so under-powered that I am seriously considering writing my own crowd funding plugin.  Who knows, maybe it will become the next big freemium WordPress plugin from CSA.

In the meantime I guess crowd funding needs to wait.     Until then maybe I will explore a third party service like Kickstarter or one of the others out there.