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SLP version releases, Power 4.5.10 , Premier 4.5.10 while in flight


I hope everyone is enjoying the balmy summer weather. The developer and author of Store Locator Plus has been very busy with updates  in preparation for meeting his MYSLP team.  I am sure he will have some interesting stories to tell when he gets back.   He hasn’t been idle!  While pond hopping he managed to revamp and publish   Store locator Plus 4.5.10, which we hope provides better information on how to actually get that pesky Google API, browser , server console key  or whatever they are calling it these days, into the right location in the SLP General settings.  Thanks to a user question, apparently the linked instructions under the SLP INFO tab may not have been as user friendly as hoped.

Other updates were to the Power Add-on and Premier Add-on.    Premier 4.5.10 was released while the author was mid flight somewhere over the Atlantic.218px-Fly00488_-_Flickr_-_NOAA_Photo_Library

The Power Add-on and Premier Add-on were not playing nice together when it came to icons and map markers assigned to the Category Manager and settings.   Thanks to a recent Premier Subscriber for revealing the mismatching icons issue and for patiently working with SLP while it was resolved

Stay tuned for a future update; I am  hoping this  will  help us all keep our versions  straight,( this blogger included who has told people to update to a non-existent version of an add-on, causing mayhem and confusion in her wake)  has been requested from numerous loyal customers.  Yes, you asked for it , he heard you, and  coming to your account dashboard in the not too distant future, being able to view the version add-on that is available to you under your account downloads.

In the meantime, please check your versions under the Support tab on the home page.

wheretofindversions

Change Log for SLP

 

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Store Locator Plus 4.4.17 release , Experience 4.4.03 and Tagalong 4.4

WinterLasalleteresized

Winter seems to have made an appearance on the East Coast! Take care while digging out, some of us remember all too well the Blizzard of ’78 in Boston and the challenges.

Experience Add-on v 4.4.03

The Experience Add-on is the new go to add-on to enhance your users’ experience. In addition to the fixes outlined in the developer’s previous post, the EXP v. 4.4.03 update fixes the “disable scroll wheel” setting.

Tagalong

Tagalong version 4.4 has been released. The major component of the patch was the Tagalong Legend not appearing after upgrading to WP 4.4. This issue was attributable to the WordPress version 4.4. update which changed a function, i.e. wp_list_categories(). The PHP deciphering of $category apparently no longer worked after the WP update. Those of you who had a Tagalong legend working and who never updated to WP 4.4 may not have noticed any changes. The missing Legend box was reported in the forums this month and has been addressed with this release. Thank you to the people who reported this bug and thank you for being patient while the developer investigated.

When posting in the forums, always remember to provide as much detail as possible within the parameters of the text limitations, and always provide us with your Plugin environment information (a screenshot is best). We understand that most developers, designers,site owners, and others are not mucking around with their or their client’s WP site nor our plug-in every day so it may be difficult to ascertain when something “broke”, but if you do have a hint, please share it with us. When we see a pattern or more than one person reporting an issue and who may have a different plug-in environment it helps narrow down the possibilities.

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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SLP base plugin 4.3.14 fixes Blank Map style and Zoom adjustments, Tagalong updated and enhanced, and Premier Pack 4.3.04 New features

White Point at Charleston SC

It is a beautiful fall day in Charleston, SC, but the Store Locator Plus author and Premier developer has been hard at work conjuring up some cool new features for the Tagalong add-on pack with Premier.

Tagalong version 4.3.01

The latest update to Tagalong includes a new feature that enable different styles for category filters on the User Interface. The Single Parent style has been added as a setting under the “Show categories on Search” Tagalong settings.

4.3.01Tagalong Settings Panel

Premier 4.3.04 release feature for October

Exclusive to Premier subscribers , the ability to combine Parent/child drop down menus on the same search form with multiple combinations of queries available, thus allowing the user to fine tune their search on your site. Example: Looking for a store that sells both apples and oranges but you want to see what types of apples (Macintosh,Fuji,Gala,Red delicious) and/or what types of oranges (Valencia,mandarin,etc), this option is now available when you have Premier and Tagalong installed and activated. You may opt to have the auto-submit function, also included in Premier 4.3.04. Create any parent/child combination using the Tagalong category manager and filters, determine if you want the “one click submit” for the user by choosing the drop-down auto-submit available as a Premier Search feature, save settings, and see the results. For a detailed look at these enhancements please watch the developers 3 minute video. The video and other useful tips and how-to’s are added to the Documentation video playlist for quick reference.

Last but not least, the Base Store Locator Plus plug-in update 4.3.14 fixed a bug within the blank map style, and added a new range of settings for zoom adjustments (now -10 to 19) and zoom level (now zero is once again an option) under the Map functions. This should improve the user experience and allow for a wide range of zoom settings.

Thank you to our Store Locator Plus Forum members for identifying these issues. Please be sure to follow the posting guidelines and provide your plugin environment and store or map site url for better results.

Change Log for SLP

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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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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 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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Tagalong Category Manager 4.2.01 Is Out

tagalong banner

Tagalong, the category manager add-on for Store Locator Plus, was updated to version 4.2.01 today.    The update is free to Premier Subscription members and all users that have purchased version 4.x of the Tagalong add-on pack.

Category Icon Links

A new feature is the ability to assign a URL to Tagalong categories.    Categories that have a URL assigned will auto-link the category icons when they are displayed on the search results.    This makes it easy to link an icon in the results to a website or an email address.    A per-category setting for the window target allows site administrators to configure the links to open in the same window or a new window.

Tagalong 4.2.01 URL Settings
Tagalong 4.2.01 URL Settings

Category Rank

Category ranking is another new feature added in the recent Tagalong release.  The rank is used to sort the categories which will affect the map marker that is used when a location has been assigned multiple categories.  Following the page ranking paradigm set by WordPress, the rank field is a simple numeric weighting for the categories.    The new attribute for Tagalong categories makes it easy to re-arrange the weight of categories for map marker selection without mangling category slugs.

Tagalong 4.2.01 Rank Settings
Tagalong 4.2.01 Rank Settings

Other Updates

The category icon and map marker are displayed on the category manager page.    There are currently no hooks available in WordPress core to render these images on the initial add of a new category however the icon and marker do display on subsequent views of the Tagalong category list page or after a category edit.

Tagalong 4.2.01 Category List
Tagalong 4.2.01 Category List

A series of new colored square icons has been added to the Store Locator Plus icon and map marker image list.  A useful addition for sites wanting color-coded map markers and more suitable matching icons in the location results list.

The icon display has been fixed along with SLP version 4.2.06.    The Dutch translation has been updated.  Last, but not least, Tagalong now uses the Store Locator Plus 4.2 add-on framework for more consistent update checking and plugin interface controls.

Tagalong Change Log

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Discrete State Search Behavior and Ignore Radius

Enhanced Search Banner

Here is a discussion with a customer that was having issues with the locator not behaving as he expected.  He is using Enhanced Search to show a state selector, hiding the radius box, and using Tagalong categories to help filter results between a “jobs” and “schools” listing of locations.    Here is a discussion about how the Store Locator Plus settings impact the state selector behavior.

 

Here is how SLP works by default:
Return all locations within X miles of the entered address.
X is the radius the user selects.  When the map is first loaded it uses the default radius under User Experience / Search Form / Radii Options (the radius in parenthesis) if Immediately Show Results is turned on (this is the default).
When the map is first loaded the “entered address” is either Coffeyville Kansas (don’t ask – that is just where Google decides the center of America is and thus defaults to that)   OR  the address you entered under User Experience / Center Map At.
On the initial map load this means it will show all locations within 500 miles of the center of America (Coffeyville).
How SLP works when you add Enhanced Search “search by state” and turn on “Discrete Mode”:
By default discrete mode adds a filter to the searches where it appends a “only if in the selected state”, CA for example, to the search.
Given the above default behavior, if you turn on the State Search selector and set it to discrete search you can get some unexpected results.     If the user leaves the address box blank, or you disable “address input” so they cannot enter and address, they select a state such as CA and leave the radius drop down at 500 miles you end up with a search that says “Show me all locations in CA that are within 500 miles of Coffeyville”.    You get no results.
SLP 4.2 UI Search with State Selector
SLP 4.2 UI Search with State Selector
How To “Fix” Discrete Mode
Recently Enhanced Search was updated to add a new “Radius Behavior” option under User Experience / Search Form.    There is an option to “Ignore radius unless address entered”.     With this option selected the above search will work as anticipated.    When the address is left blank, or address input is hidden, the search will ignore the radius option.      The user selects CA from the drop down and regardless of what the radius is set to it is ignored (address input is blank at this point).   The search now becomes “Show me all locations in CA that are within ANY DISTANCE of Coffeyville”.    This will return all locations in CA.
SLP 4.2 UX Search Form
SLP 4.2 UX Search Form
Why not automate the discrete search?
Good question.    The new “ignore unless address is blank” option just came online.    The coding was not in place to automatically do this until a few weeks ago.      Going forward some consideration needs to be made for automatically going into this “ignore radius” mode when the address is blank and a state (or city or country) is selected.
However, there always seems to be some caveat to doing this.     Someone will inevitably complain that “something has changed” when opting to be “smarter” about how the feature works.    With 45,000+ sites using the product changing how things “behaved yesterday” when coming out with a new patch is something that mandates extra consideration.
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Store Locator Plus Releases Four Prerelease Updates

store locator plus banner

Store Locator Plus and several of the Store Locator Plus add-on packs have had new prerelease software patches published today.    Premier Members can get any of the prerelease products from the downloads page on the Charleston Software Associates website.   Non-premier members can obtain the prerelease version of any product that they purchased from the CSA website by logging into their account and checking the downloads section.    Please note that prerelease software is not fully tested and should not be used on production systems.

The following updates are included in the patches released today.   Production release of each add-on are anticipated by this time next week.

Store Locator Plus

Store Locator Plus has a significant memory leak patch.    The new add-on pack manager introduced in version 4.2 consumes far more memory than necessary prior to the 4.2.09 patch release.  The new release fixes the memory leak.    The new release also has built-in support for Google Maps for Work API connections.  Google Maps for Work APIs are an enterprise-class service that is licensed directly from Google.  Pricing starts at $17,500 per year and is negotiated directly with Google.   Clients that have a license will be able to take advantage of faster maps loading, faster geocoding, and much higher location encoding limits.    A new Charleston Software Associates service is in the planning and early development stages to allow users to access the CSA enterprise license to speed up location geocoding for an additional fee.   Watch the News & Info section on the CSA for future service announcements.

Enhanced Map

The Enhanced Map add-on was not registering its installed version properly with the base plugin.   This has been resolved.    The plugin now queries the CSA server for available update patches as part of the standard WordPress update check service.

Tagalong

Tagalong has been updated to use the SLP 4.2 add-on framework.   A new per-category URL is included to link icons to a specific web location.   A per-category rank is available to select which category takes precedence in the map marker selection.   A location export patch has been added to fix a problem introduced in the Tagalong 4.2 prerelease that broke location exports.

Pro Pack

The Pro Pack has some in-progress updates for processing location CSV imports.   A new remote URL fetching option is available to load a CSV file in the proper SLP format from a remote server without having to do a standard file upload.    A background, WordPress cron job, file processing option is in development but not yet finished in the current prerelease.  The background processing is expected to be complete when the Pro Pack is released to production.  A new prerelease version with this feature is anticipated to be released before final production.

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Tagalong 4.2, With Per Category URLs, Released

Map Square Boxes Banner

Tagalong, the add-on pack for Store Locator Plus that helps manage location categories is now available.  Version 4.2 is built on the new Store Locator Plus add-on framework giving it added stability and performance along with consistency between how the add on packs operate.    In addition to the 4.2 framework, there are some new features in the 4.2 release including:

Per-Category URLs

Every category can have a URL as well as a target window for the URL.    When a category has a URL attached the icon will be linked to the URL when it is rendered in below-the-map results.    The target window determines whether to open a new browser window or tab when a user clicks the icon.

Category Rank

Categories can be ranked.    The rank of the category determines which map marker is displayed.  The lower the rank the higher the priority.

Tagalong 4.2 Icons and Markers On Map
Tagalong 4.2 map markers and icons displayed on a map search.

Category Manager UI Tweaks

The built-in WordPress category manager has been updated to show the map markers, icons, and rank for each category when the page is loaded.   Unfortunately I’ve not discovered a way to get the WordPress AJAX interface to render the new data when adding a new location, however future visits to the page will show the icons and map markers.

Tagalong Markers and Icons on WP List Page

Tagalong Details

Prerelease version of ALL Store Locator Plus plugins are always available to Premier Members.    Tagalong prerelease copies are also available to customers that have purchased the add-on pack from the CSA website.  Prerelease software is not for use on production systems.

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Tagalong 4.2 Prerelease Available

Map Square Boxes Banner

Tagalong, the add-on pack for Store Locator Plus that helps manage location categories is now available in prerelease.  Version 4.2 is built on the new Store Locator Plus add-on framework giving it added stability and performance along with consistency between how the add on packs operate.    In addition to the 4.2 framework, there are some new features in the 4.2 release including:

Per-Category URLs

Every category can have a URL as well as a target window for the URL.    When a category has a URL attached the icon will be linked to the URL when it is rendered in below-the-map results.    The target window determines whether to open a new browser window or tab when a user clicks the icon.

Category Rank

Categories can be ranked.    The rank of the category determines which map marker is displayed.  The lower the rank the higher the priority.

Tagalong 4.2 Icons and Markers On Map
Tagalong 4.2 map markers and icons displayed on a map search.

Category Manager UI Tweaks

The built-in WordPress category manager has been updated to show the map markers, icons, and rank for each category when the page is loaded.   Unfortunately I’ve not discovered a way to get the WordPress AJAX interface to render the new data when adding a new location, however future visits to the page will show the icons and map markers.

Tagalong Markers and Icons on WP List Page

Tagalong Prerelease Details

Prerelease version of ALL Store Locator Plus plugins are always available to Premier Members.    Tagalong prerelease copies are also available to customers that have purchased the add-on pack from the CSA website.  Prerelease software is not for use on production systems.

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Tweaking A Locator Theme

Map Guys Drawing Banner

The following is an outline of the steps that were taken to tweak the Above All Rev 01 theme for the PACCC website running on the Genesis News Pro theme from Studio Press.    This shows how a few simple settings and minor CSS updates are made to get the locator to offer a better user interface for the site visitors.

User Experience / Search Form 

– Set the address label to blank.   We will use placeholders to instruct the users.
– Change the radius label to “Radius”.
– Change the Name placeholder to “Search by name”.
– Turn on “Show Search By Name”.
– Set Pro Pack Tag Input to none.
– Add this custom CSS rule to fix the radius input label.
#address_search #addy_in_radius {
    width: 17%;
}
This gets the site to this point:

There are already some Tagalong categories set.   With only a few categories for the locations I decided to use a single drop down display to allow users to select the category in that fashion.
– Set Show Categories on Search to “single” as the drop down style.
– Set the Category Select Label to “Type of Counseling:”
– Add this custom CSS rule to fix the radius input label.
#tagalong_category_selector #cat {
    width: 24em;
}
This gets you to this point on the site:

About Categorizing/Filtering Locations

This will work for the current site configuration.    If you want to do a dual-option filter for the locations as shown on the comparison site then I suggest using a combination of Pro Pack tags and Tagalong categories.
Use Tagalong for complex / many-options categories for the locations in  your system.     ALWAYS use Tagalong for any type of category structure where it makes sense to have parent categories with children.   Whenever I have parent/children category structures I change the Show Categories option under Tagalong to “Cascading”.   In the example provided this would be the array of 2-dozen services provided with things like “Marital” as a parent category and “Premarital, Divorce, Children” as the subcategory.
Use Pro Pack for the simple options/categories on the locations.     I use this whenever a location only has a few options that I want users to pick from as a second filter on the locations.     In the example provided this would be the “Male Counselor, Female Counselor, Online Counseling”.

If you are only going to have ONE filter/selection criteria on the locations I suggest ALWAYS using Tagalong.   Tagalong is structured data and has less chances for data entry errors.     It is easier to fix category problems if you have lots of locations.    Over time Tagalong categories will continue to get new features and functionality.