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IMPORTANT: Experience Add On / Store Locator Plus Upgrades

SLP 4.4.14 Info Tab

Store Locator Plus 4.4.17 was released today with several updates to increase performance.  One of the biggest issues was the use of the third party support assistant service, Freemius.    There have been multiple reports of issues communicating with the Freemius servers which is slowing down some customer sites.    Until we can resolve the issue with Freemius that code has been removed from Store Locator Plus.

Experience add-on users MUST UPGRADE to Experience 4.4.03.     The older versions were relying on some WordPress functions that were loaded by Freemius.    That was a bug.  All add-ons , Experience included, should be self-sufficient.   SLP version 4.4.13 and 4.4.14 will cause Experience 4.4.02 or earlier to crash.    SLP 4.4.17 will automatically deactivate Experience if version 4.4.02 or earlier is found on your site.    If you re-activate this and ignore the “upgrade Experience or a fatal error will occur” warning your site will crash.   If that happens you must use cPanel or FTP and remove the ./wp-content/plugins/slp-experience subdirectory.     Login to your account on Store Locator Plus and get the latest version of Experience 4.4.03 or higher, install and activate it.

Other performance features include a faster and simpler “News and Info” reader that uses the built-in WordPress RSS feed processor to get the latest Store Locator Plus news.    You will notice the Info tab has been reworked along with this update.   The How To Use page now includes the news feed on the right side as well as an introductory setting up SLP video.  This will also improve performance during the initial install and during the first visit to the Store Locator Plus Info tab each day.

SLP 4.4.14 Info Tab
SLP 4.4.17 Info Tab


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Contact Extender Prepped for 4.2

Old School European Map Aspoen

Store Locator Plus Contact Extender is ready for testing with SLP 4.2.

Contact Extender has been updated to take advantage of the Store Locator Plus 4.2 add-on system.  This will reduce the memory footprint while increasing stability and performance of the add-on pack.    DeBAAT has provided an updated Dutch translation file for the plugin.

Contact Extender 4.2.01 is available for all Premier Members via the downloads page.  Production versions of 4.2.01 should be available to the general public later this week.

Contact Extender Prerelease Details

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Tagalong 1.1 Icon Array and Legend

Tagalong Version 1.1, the Store Locator Plus 4 compatible release,  has some new features bundled into the product that make is easier to manage icon displays for your users.    The two features are the icon array and the icon legend.   Both features work in tandem with other add-on packs to provide you with unique new ways to manage the user experience on your site.

Tagalong Legend and Icon Array UX
Tagalong Legend and Icon Array UX

Icon Array

The Icon Array is a new setting that generates a full array of icons based on the categories you assigned to your location via the Tagalong categorization system.   Prior to version 1.1 only the first category that was assigned to a location was available to display in the results using custom CSS.

With version 1.1 you can now output not only that single icon, which is the default setting for backwards compatibility reasons, you can also display the entire icon array using the [slp_location iconarray raw] shortcode within the results or info bubble layout controls.

Results layout controls are enabled by installing the Enhanced Results version 1.0 add-on pack.

Bubble layout controls are enabled by installing the Enhanced Map version 1.0 add-on pack.

The iconarray attribute of the custom [slp_location] shortcodes used on each of those add-on packs is extended with Tagalong version 1.1 to show all categories.

Icon Legend

With Tagalong version 1.1 you can now add an icon legend on your user interface by adding the new [tagalong legend] shortcode in the Locator Layout control provided by the Pro Pack.   The category label can be turned on or off below each icon via a simple on/off setting in the Tagalong control panel.

Tagalong 1.1 Admin Settings
Tagalong 1.1 Admin Settings

Pro Pack version 3.12 provides the new View layout control.

Tagalong version 1.1 adds the new [tagalong] shortcode to view layout controls.


Store Locator Plus 4

These features and more are coming in the Store Locator Plus 4 release and related add-on packs.   The Store Locator Plus 4 base plugin will remain free and fully functional.    All of the add-on packs will require an upgrade if you install Store Locator Plus 4.   SLP4 compatible add-on packs will be a paid upgrade for existing users.  Users that purchased their add-on packs will be offered a discount coupon to upgrade to the SLP4 compatible versions when they are released.

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Enhanced Map 1.0 R&D

As part of a client customization project, I’ve been working on some new features for Enhanced Map version 1.0.    The two newest features that have been added to Enhanced Map include the “Hide Immediate Home Icon” and the “Do Not Auto-zoom” features.

Enhanced Map 1.0 New Features
Enhanced Map 1.0 New Features include Hide Home Icon and No Auto-Zoom

Hide Immediate Home Icon

This feature disables the home icon that shows up in the center of the map when using “Immediately Show Locations”.

By default this icon goes in the center of the map, which it typically the center of the country that you have selected as your “Gooogle Maps Home”.   In the United States (the default setting) this places the home marker very near Coffeyville  Kansas, the location that Google determined was the geographic center of the continental United States.

When this setting is enabled, the initial home map marker is not placed on the map.    This allows the map to zoom in around the locations that come up for immediately show locations.   How close the map will zoom is determined by the “Zoom Adjustment” setting.  You can zoom out more by setting the number higher or less by setting it lower.  Unfortunately it can only be set “one level” closer due to the defaults imposed by the Google Maps API.

This is where the second setting, Do Not Auto-zoom comes into play.

Do Not Auto-zoom

This new feature allows the map to over-ride the Google Maps API auto-zoom feature.  By default the map will determine how closely it can zoom in based on where all the locations are on the map.

When using “Immediately Show Locations”, this new setting allows you to manually force the map to zoom to a specific level.   The map will start by including all locations that come up on the map and  drawing a box around them.   It uses this box to determine the center of the “location cluster” using the built-in Google Maps API functionality.    With the “Do Not Auto-zoom” feature enabled the map will the force itself to zoom to the level you’ve specified via the “Zoom Level” setting.     A higher number, like 19, will show only the specific address in the center of your locations.  This is probably far too close to be useful in this scenario.    A lower number, like 0, shows the entire globe.    Typical settings are in the 5 to 11 range.

Using this setting will allow you to zoom the map as tightly as you would like for your default ‘immediately show locations’ cluster of locations.

Combine these new features with the Center Map At setting, part of Enhanced Map for several releases now, and you can truly tailor the initial map display experience for your site visitors.

About Enhanced Map 1.0

Enhanced Map 1.0 is the Store Locator Plus 4.0 compatible upgrade that is going to be released for beta testing soon.

As with all SLP 4.0 related add-on packs, this new version will be a paid upgrade.    Users that are running version 3.X of Store Locator Plus with premium add-on packs must purchase and install the latest paid upgrade versions if/when they upgrade the base Store Locator Plus plugin to version 4.0.

Discount codes will be offered for users that own current versions of add-on packs.  Discount amounts will be determined closer to the final release date.

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Daily Update : Store Locator Plus 3.10.3

Store Locator Plus 3.10.3

A new patch was issued for Store Locator Plus that fixes the editing of the Fax number field. The 3.10.X releases up to this point were erroneously pulling in and displaying the phone number data in the fax field on the edit page. This has been addressed, restoring the edit feature for the fax field.

Enterprise Subscriptions

I’ve spent some time in the past couple of days investigating the implementation of the Enterprise Subscription and paid upgrades functionality. It turns out that it is a much larger task than anticipated due to the limited (non-existent) hooks in the WooCommerce Software and Subscriptions add-on packs. I need to make a decision on whether it is more prudent to write my own custom product add-on for WooCommerce, try to get connected with the Woo Team and help them augment their offering, scrap WooCommerce in favor of an alternative, or drop the Enterprise Subscription idea completely.

Unfortunately the once-stellar documentation on the WooCommerce Codex has become a nightmare to navigate since their site revamp. There are dozens of broken links, missing pages, and most troublesome is the lack of documentation online or within the code. Maybe it is time to investigate other software store options. Does anyone have eCommerce recommendations for selling software like Store Locator Plus or the add-on packs via WordPress? I know of a lot of options but none are available with a software-specific feature set that I’m aware of.

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Store Locator Plus : City Drop Down

CSA Store Locator Plus Video

Intro to City Search

A brief intro video about the City drop down menu and how it works.
This is currently a feature that is available in the Pro Pack but will be soon
moving to Enhanced Search, where it belongs, along with other search related features.

by Lance Cleveland
Dad. Husband. Rum Lover. Code Geek.
Not necessarily in that order.