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WordPress Store Locator Plus update to version 4.7.4 will disable and deactivate some Legacy add-ons

Store Locator Plus v 4.7.4

Over the past year and a half the developer and author of Store Locator Plus has been updating and revamping the software to be more efficient, robust, responsive and faster by using less overhead and cleaning up any old JavaScript commands that were left in the core base plug-in for the sole purpose of supporting the Legacy add-ons.  It is now time to move into the next phase with better graphics in the View for Plugin styles which adds gallery styles for one – step styling  and more functionality.   (YouTube video about Gallery styles, released in 4.7.3 )

 
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Updates for 2017 WordPress Store Locator Plus plugin and Add-ons: Power, Experience, Premier

2016 , bye bye bye…  Here’s to you 2017! : We are looking forward to a productive and prosperous  year.  Last of the year updates for the WordPress Store Locator Plus plug-in as well as updated versions for the  featured Power, and Experience add-ons as well as new  Premier functionality and features.

Before updating the add-ons, you will be required to update the base Store Locator Plus plugin to 4.7 or higher.  Note:  If you have bookmarks and/or “auto-  form fill”  to your WordPress Store Locator Plus account you will need to change  the  WP-SLP url to the  new url .

You can review the WordPress Store Locator Plus change log here.

Continue reading Updates for 2017 WordPress Store Locator Plus plugin and Add-ons: Power, Experience, Premier

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Small Google Tweak = Big Changes For Some

In case you haven’t noticed, your Store Locator Plus and My Store Locator Plus apps may be working a little different during the last few weeks of 2016.   You didn’t change ANYTHING but suddenly things are not exactly like they were before.

It is a special Christmas gift from Google to all of us.

Sometime in late 2016 Google updated their Google Maps API.   We are not sure how many changes went into this release.   I must have missed the call from Larry and Sergey this time.    However we do know a few things that changed that impact customers.

#1 – Geocoding Requires Accurate Addresses

You better make sure your addresses that are sent to Google are darn-near perfectly formed.   No more hiding meta in that address 2 field.     If a business does not have a suite named “Attn: Customer Service” as part of their official address don’t put it on there.  It very likely will not geocode.

Yes, we know it used to geocode back in September.  Sorry, folks.  Google changed the rules.
Continue reading Small Google Tweak = Big Changes For Some

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Google Holds Back Map Data (Again)

Looks like Google is turning the screws a little more on their attempt to squash as much competition in the maps market as possible.   Over the past few months they have tweaked their Google Geocoding API algorithms.   Each change is going to make it just a little more difficult to get your addresses to return a correct latitude and longitude.  It is definitely having an effect on locations people are entering into Store Locator Plus but the truly concerning issue is not with addresses you can fix but how it is going to impact all the odd variations of addresses your customers type in during a search.

As is typical from the Google Maps people, the results from their in-house applications including Google Maps The Website is very different from what non-insiders get.   Any application using the Google Maps Geocoding service, whether a $20,000/year OEM license or a few-dollar-or-less-per-month Pay-As-You-Go API key, will see different results.       The sad part is that what worked perfectly fine “yesterday” no longer works today.

Several known addresses that were designed to “test the system” suddenly started failing our internal testing over the past few days.    After rolling back our software and servers to older releases to ensure we did not introduce a problem we’ve discovered that the change is almost 100% guaranteed to be a change in Google’s Geocoding API algorithms.

For example:

Diane Blackwelder CFP ®, Charleston Financial Advisors LLC, 4 N Atlantic Wharf, Charleston SC 29401 USA

Last spring that geocoded perfectly fine.   Today it comes back “ZERO_RESULTS” which is Google-speak for “bad address”.

This does not work either:

Diane Blackwelder, Charleston Financial Advisors LLC, 4 N Atlantic Wharf, Charleston SC 29401 USA

Only the 100% proper address works:

Diane Blackwelder c/o Charleston Financial Advisors LLC, 4 N Atlantic Wharf, Charleston SC 29401 USA

Yet on Google Maps ALL 3 of these variations come back with the correct address.

 

This happens with a number of other addresses as well including this example using Google Maps in Germany with the same type of results:

Hotel Berlin Märkischer, Hof am Tacheles, Linienstraße, 133 Berlin 10115 Germany

Failed to Geocode, but only from 3rd party API requests.
Failed to Geocode, but only from 3rd party API requests.

 

While this only impacts a very small percentage of addresses people enter into Store Locator Plus, or just about any other mapping service using Google besides internal Google services like their Places (think Adwords but far more costly), it is still very clear what Google’s long term plans are for businesses using their map services.

Granted, Google can always fall back on the “well, that is technically not the right address” argument but the fact-of-the-matter is that these addresses worked perfectly well before.  The same addresses work perfectly well in Google-owned properties TODAY.  The addresses do NOT work for any third party applications because someone at Google decided they shouldn’t.   Not nice, Google.  Not nice.  It is increasingly clear that Google intends to slowly strangle all third party mapping-software providers so they can collect all the customers that end up being left behind and throw them into their pay-per-request services.

Looks like we are once again having to seriously consider introducing alternative Geocoding and map image technology solutions.   We have been investigating Open Street Map for some time.    It looks like 2017 is finally going to see that option come online.    It is almost a certainty for our MySLP SaaS service and may be integrated into one of our planned live-service options for our Premier Subscribers.

myslp-2016-12-19_17-22-23

 

When people ask why we spent so much time and money building a SaaS service for maps, this is one reason why.   It is much easier for us to help our customers have a superior experience for their end users when we can setup, testing and activate alternatives in one step. With per-website installations of Store Locator Plus on 20,000+ servers in 128 different countries providing the same type of pro-active response is impossible.  We don’t have any control over what those webmaster are doing and not all of them are tech-savvy.

Sure, buy-and-own options like Store Locator Plus can be cost effective but if you’re business relies on your locator having a managed service makes a lot more sense.

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Recent Updates to Store Locator Plus 4.6.4

Store Locator Plus version 4.6.4 fixed the zoom settings, the plug-in tabs “save changes” and the back-end UI.

The change in the back end user interface will not be noticeable to most users. The naming of sections and tabs and settings now will use programmatic slugs instead of the plain text names. This allows the settings translations in different languages to remain intact even if language files have not been updated. This means future updates to Store Locator Plus, Power, Experience, and Premier add-ons will no longer lose their settings tabs. Another behind the scenes development is populating the plug-in and add-ons with “smart options” settings. To learn more please watch the developer’s brief You Tube.

Change Log for Store Locator Plus

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Intermittent support due to Hurricane Matthew

 

Due to the evacuation from Charleston , SC and the associated power outages from Hurricane Matthew, Store Locator Plus support will be intermittent over the next week  until we can  get back home and assess the situation.   We will respond to your questions in the forum as soon as possible.

 

Thank you for your patience.

 

Hurricane Matthew in Charleston SC

Mandatory South Carolina Evacuations For Hurricane Matthew Begin

 

CiCi and Lance

 

 

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SLP version 4.6.2 , Experience Add-on version 4.6.2 releases

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Store Locator Plus 

You will notice a new look in your admin panel of Store Locator Plus in Version 4.6.2 .  Featuring  a new sidebar on the admin pages for the settings tabs and the locations tab.

Version 4.6.2 locations info sidebar added
Version 4.6.2 locations info sidebar added

Important fixes: SLP version 4.6.2  fixes the “white screen” error on sites running the older version of WordPress 4.4 and/or  Multi-site users running WordPress 4.6.

Enhancements:

  •  Show admin help settings in a new sidebar to make it easier to see what each setting does.
  •  Show location details preview in right sidebar on manage locations page.
  • Added links to direct documentation pages for various settings.
  •  Implement a new slp_get_text_string filter for add-ons to manage text strings.
  • Additional hard-coded gettext strings accessible to the text manager.
  •  Don’t load the SLP overhead on the WordPress admin heartbeat since SLP doesn’t  require  “heartbeat” processing. Wouldn’t it be nice if all plugins did that?

Fixes:

  • Multisite installs – upgrading SLP fixes “not an array” error that would cause white screen on upgrade      for sites using WP 4.6+
  •  Fix stripslashes_from_strings_only() undefined function for sites running old WordPress (you really should update to WordPress 4.4+ for security reasons if nothing else).
  •  Recalculate initial distance for all locations on global center map at change.

Changes

 Performance update: Drop adminUI create_InputElement() method.  (Note : This may break pre-4.2  Legacy Add Ons, you must  upgrade to the Legacy add-on  latest version release. 4.3 or higher or downgrade SLP to earlier version)

  •  Experience will need to be updated to 4.6.2 when updating SLP to 4.6.2

 

Experience Add-on 4.6.2

<h2>Change Log for SLP Experience Add-on</h2>

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SLP versions: Power add-on, Experience add-on version 4.6.1 updates to import functions

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Store Locator Plus 4.6.1 Highlights

• Allow add-ons to load JS on a per-admin-tab basis. Reduces browser overhead and memory footprint on admin pages.

• Simplify and improve the new option manager. More consistent option handling, more security option management, better performance.

•  Checkbox on/off validation for all add ons – fixes instant checkbox saving on admin panel for some add on options

• All language files are now pulled from the MySLP website.  • Missing translations? See MySLP and add your translation updates there.

Change Log for SLP Power Add-on

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SLP version 4.6, Experience add-on 4.6, Power Add-on 4.6 and Premier 4.6

The moment you all have been waiting  for is here. Updates to version 4.6  have been made to the core Store Locator Plus plug-in along with Power, Experience, and Premier.

Some of the new features and updates you will see in the core (base) plug in :

Enhancements

  • Manage Locations now has fast delete on single location delete icon.
  • Provides mechanism for add ons to serve per-admin-page specific JS.
  • If there is a newer version of an active SLP add on it will be shown on the WP plugins page.

Fixes

  •  Power Add On assignment of categories.
  •  Duplicates handling on location import.
  • Smart/fast option saving for add on packs including Power Add On import options.
  • Fix the  admin form drop down menus.
  • Eliminate the duplicate “are you sure you want to delete”  dialogue boxes on bulk actions.

Changes:

 

Power Add-on Users reported some glitches with version 4.5.12 imports. The duplicate handling updates has been fixed. Note: In order for the Duplicate Handling Update location to function, either the sl_id  or the Contacts field Identifier MUST be present and match what is stored in the location data field. To see the sl_id number you can hover over to the left of the location name under manage locations. Exporting the locations file to a csv file will also show the sl_id. This id is assigned automatically when a user adds a location in SLP for the first time and is not the one  you assign as an identifier with contact extender. The specific contact identifier field can be used instead of the sl_id and takes precedence.

Power 520x520

 

 

 

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Power add-on Release 4.5.10 fixes short code only_with_

Surprise!  He did it again…..our world traveler and developer supreme fixed a bug (..truth be told..he probably introduced the !oops! by muddling around with making a good thing great) that was discovered by one of our loyal customers who upgraded to the Power Add-on and shared it with us in the Store Locator Plus Support forum.

We also would like to thank the many new Power users and Premier Members who took advantage of  the latest sales campaign to  upgrade their Legacy add-ons.   Although our summer sales event is alas coming to a close,  you die hard Legacy add-on users can still request a coupon to upgrade to the new and improved Power add-on (with faster than ever importing functions, )  Experience Add-on group or our platinum Premier.  The coupon value will be determined as shown under the relevant  Product Descriptions.

Power Change Log

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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