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Manually Updating WordPress Plugins

This post is for our Store Locator Plus™ WordPress plugin users that are updating WordPress plugins.   Users of our fully managed service do not need to worry about this sort of thing — you’ve earned yourself some extra break time, go ahead and grab an second cup of coffee this morning.

Always use automatic updates

Most WordPress users should perform “inline” or automatic updates.    When logged into WordPress go to the Dashboard | Updates and click “Check Again” to check if there are updates to the Store Locator Plus™ plugins.    If there are, updateStore Locator Plus™ first.

If you do not see updates for our add ons, re-check with the WordPress Dashboard | Updates | Check Again AFTER updatingStore Locator Plus™ to the latest release.

Sometimes the WordPress updates servers or a third party server is slow or the network connection fails when checking for updates of premium add ons.    We have written a workaround for this failure whereStore Locator Plus™ checks directly with our servers, bypassing the standard WordPress update cycle, whenever a new version is installed.

Except when instructed otherwise

If you have received a beta release (prerelease) of our add ons or theStore Locator Plus™ base plugin, follow these instructions to ensure you do not lose any settings.    We recently discovered the using the WordPress “Activate Plugin” button after manually updating a plugin does NOT load plugins into memory the same was as the automatic (inline) updates or in the same manner as the plugins bulk actions activate action.   That means theStore Locator Plus™ environment may not be loaded after a manual plugin upload and it may reset your settings to the default values.     This happens to explain why some third-party premium plugins outside of theStore Locator Plus™ ecosystem sometimes white-screen after install but work fine from that point forward; other developers have told us to “refresh the screen and it will be OK” for this very reason.

The “do not nuke my settings” manual update process:

  • Deactivate the plugin
  • Delete the plugin
  • Go to Plugins | Add New
  • Select Upload
  • Upload the beta release zip file we sent you
  • DO NOT click the Activate button
  • Go to Plugins on the sidebar
  • Check off the plugin you just installed
  • Go to bulk actions and select activate

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Google API Key Changes for WordPress Plugins

Updates to the Store Locator Plus WordPress plugin version 4.9.15, released today, includes patches to the Google API Key management.

Let’s start by letting users of our fully managed MySLP SaaS service know that you don’t have to worry about any of this.  You can skip this entire article.

Google API Keys

For our SLP WordPress plugin users there has been a notable change in the management of Google API Keys.

We now support a Geocoding Key and a Browser Key.    The Browser key is used to display the map and handle user-input addresses during a location search.  The Geocoding key is used on your WordPress server to geocoding locations you’ve entered via the Google API.

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Location Page Listings Enhanced

One of the few features that is not currently available for our MySLP SaaS users is the dynamic location details pages that are hosted on WordPress sites.  Users that employ the Pages feature of the Power add on can link the web links for locations shown in the locator to a SEO friendly details page hosted on the website for every location in the database.

Another important feature of the Pages interface is the ability to list all pages that have been generated in a directory format via the [slp_pages] shortcode.   This list provides an easy way to show locations without requiring site visitors interact with the map interface.

More Page Listing Controls

With the 4.9.14 release of the WordPress plugins, the Power add on now provides even more control over the page listings.    When using the default “full listing” style, which shows the entire page template one-after-another, there are some new options available.

Hide The Map

Hide the map, is one such option.  Most users opt to show a map showing where the business is when a user looks at the details page.    However, loading a dozen maps stack one on top of another on a page listing slows down page rendering.    The new no_map attribute allows you to turn the map on or off as needed.

Custom CSS Classes

In prior releases web designers could style the layouts for the page listings by adding custom CSS to their WordPress theme and reference the Store Locator Plus specific classes that wrap the page list as well as the SLP classes that wrap each individual page entry.

New Pages CSS Class Overrides

In the Power 4.9.14 release users can now replace the previously “hard-coded” Store Locator Plus classes used with these HTML elements with their own class names.   This can be especially useful when using WordPress themes that are built on a standard library such as the common 12-column Grid Layouts in Foundation, Vuetify, and Bootstrap.    That means you can let the theme’s default row and column controls manage the layout for the page listings instead of writing tedious responsive CSS rule stacks just for Store Locator Plus.

Even better – you can set these CSS classes with [slp_pages] attributes.

Like our recent location editor update, this is one more step on our journey toward moving Store Locator Plus toward modern web design standards.

We’re already using this on a couple of projects and think you’ll like the new implementation.