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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 )

 

Preview gallery Plugin style with one click styling

As a result of these changes the Enhanced Search Legacy add-on will no longer be supported and will not work with SLP  v.  4.7.4

Additionally,

  • Pro Pack MUST be updated to 4.6.5   
  • Experience add-on Must be updated to v 4.7.4

With the upgrade of SLP, the Pro Pack legacy add-on will be deactivated.  Follow the How to install / update add-on  instructions.  Download add-on from your account. Delete the old version from the WP Plugin admin panel. Install and activate the newest version. 

Experience Add-on for SLP v 4.7.4

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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.

Store Locator Plus version updates thru 4.7.2  

 

  • As of 2017, the  WordPress Store Locator Plus plugin site is now  https://wordpress.storelocatorplus.com/ 
  • Interactive settings,  if you check a box, the corresponding features that are effected will be highlighted.
  • An Updated JavaScript engine (See Video)
  • Faster DB loading of options.
  • Added support for CRON hooks in smart options.
  • Update admin CSS menus for narrow displays.
  • Dismiss Notifications 
  • Gracefully capture invalid REST API requests for smart options that do not exist.

Premier 4.7. and 4.7.1

  • Results Interactions mode (See  Video)
  • Scheduling your  geocode locations process via CRON (See Video)

Power 4.7.1 

  • Slightly faster scheduled imports.
  • Better messaging for Premier Scheduled Geocoding tasks.
  • Bulk geocode all uncoded has been fixed and now geocodes ALL records not every-other one.
  • Schedule messages moved to General / Schedule tab.
  • Log import messages checkbox and Log schedule messages checkbox are on the General tab so Premier can play too.

Experience 4.7.1

  • Admin UI hints on related settings.

 

 

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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

 512px-model-view-controller_pattern-svg

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

shem-001

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

 

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Get An Invite To Our New Locator Service

Go ahead and sign up for our Early Access Program to the My Store Locator Plus service.

My Store Locator Plus is an online subscription service that brings Store Locator Plus to ANY web technology stack.  WordPress, Django, Ruby, ASP.Net.    As long as you are hosting a site that can run JavaScript then My Store Locator Plus will work.

We are currently in the very early stages of development; what we call our “alpha release”.  It is far from being the final product but it IS functional and has been tested on various web technologies to see how well it can bring the Store Locator Plus service to non-WordPress sites.

We are now opening up our private invite to the Alpha Release of My Store Locator Plus.   The select few users that are granted access will help guide us in the features and overall user experience that will make it into our initial public launch coming in early 2017.

MySLP Locations July 2016 Alpha Release
MySLP Locations July 2016 Alpha Release

Continue reading Get An Invite To Our New Locator Service

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Store Locator Plus 4.5.09, Premier 4.5.09 and Add-on updates

Store Locator Plus 4.5.09

SLP was updated to version 4.5.09 to allow for compatibility with those users who have a lower PHP of 5.5 or lower. WordPress recommends PHP 5.6 but we realize not everyone can get their host to upgrade. WP does provide verbiage (click on the link) to send to your provider host if you are interested in helping put the pressure on. When you upgraded the base plug-in to 4.5.09 and if you had a lower version of ProPack installed, you will see a notice that disabled 4.5 version of Pro Pack. You still have access to it and can upload the latest version (4.5.07). All you need to do is log into your account and download the latest version from there as noted in an earlier blog.

Pro Pack, Tagalong, Pages = Power

As many of you have noticed there have been changes that affect some of our most popular add-ons.  The latest updates to these add-ons were made for compatibility reasons as Store Locator Plus continues to evolve on its way to become lighter, more efficient and will use less of your overhead.  Pro Pack and Tagalong have joined the ranks of LEGACY add-ons and will not be updated further since the functionality and features have been moved or added to the newer Power add-on. Legacy add-ons will continue to work with the SLP version in use at the time the add-on was purchased
Continue reading Store Locator Plus 4.5.09, Premier 4.5.09 and Add-on updates

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Getting Started With Store Locator Plus

In June 2016 Google decided to extend their reach into tracking everything-and-anything online by requiring ALL Google Maps products and services to start registering their websites with Google.   We’ve updated our Getting Started With Store Locator Plus documentation and videos to include the Google Maps API registration process.   If you have any questions please contact us via the forums or by email.

You can get detailed instructions via the Getting Started article on our docs site.

The steps:

  1. Install the Store Locator Plus plugin.
  2. Get your Google API Key.
  3. Save it via the Store Locator Plus General /Server tab.
  4. Add a location.
  5. Add a WordPress page with the [slplus] shortcode on it.