Power v5.13 Addresses Location Categorization Issue

Version 5.13 of the Store Locator Plus® Power add on for WordPress plugins was released today.    The update is a minor one as we continue to clean up the WordPress plugin family.  Multiple updates are expected in the next few weeks in preparation for better SaaS integration , user experience improvements, and general feature improvements.

In Power v5.13

Add new location category was logging a warning about an undefined or null variable reference.   This has been resolved.

Power – On The Radar

For the WordPress plugins we are aware of an issue related to the SEO pages functionality and an array offset warning that comes up when creating an SEO page.   This is on the R&D schedule to be addressed in an upcoming release.   Current estimate is to have an update ready in less than 30 days.

Store Locator Plus® SaaS Impact

The issues resolved in Power 5.13 do not affect functionality or performance of the MySLP SaaS platform.   As such the updates included here will be published in combination with other updates in a future upgrade to the MySLP platform.

Store Locator Plus® Has Been Re-listed

It has been a year since Store Locator Plus® has been listed in the official WordPress plugin directory.    The previous 12 months have been quite the journey to get the plugin re-listed — but we finally made it!    Kudos to the development team for taking on the thousands of lines of code that make the Store Locator Plus® applications “go” and helping us get there.    Thanks to the customer support team for helping keep things going while the dev team was getting up to speed and addressing all the concerns noted by the folks on the WordPress Plugin Team.     It took longer than expected, but we finally have our plugin and the associated one-click updates for our install base back online.

SLP Has Been Re-Listed

Store Locator Plus® 5.13.8 for WordPress

The new release, Store Locator Plus® 5.13.8 is available for immediate download from your WordPress SLP account.    Now that we have been re-listed you can also get our plugin directly from the WordPress plugin directory.

This update includes PHP 8 compatibility (use with caution, PHP 8 is still not officially supported by WordPress) as well as numerous internal security updates.     It also patches some minor issues reported in the past year.

There are a LOT of code changes and millions of combinations of settings in Store Locator Plus®.  We’ve tested compatibility with the premium add ons from Power, Experience, and Premier but  your configuration may uncover an issue we did not discover.   If you run into issues with the latests update please let us know and we’ll address the problem as quickly as we can.

We’re Back

Our business leader and original architect of Store Locator Plus® is back at it full time.   Our tech leader has been very busy during the past two years, assisting Store Locator Plus® on a limited basis while working to get another tech startup off-the-ground.    That company is now moving to the next phase and our leader is back and is 100% focused on bring the next generation of Store Locator Plus products and services to market.

Plans are in the works to improve the user experience, improve stability and performance, and branch out to natively support more web presence platforms and web developer tool kits.    New features and services are coming to the SaaS platform, with a renewed focus on extending the reach of our software-as-a-service offering. Pricing changes are being discussed to ease the burden on small businesses.

There is a lot more coming.    Be sure to subscribe to our news feed to keep up as we work toward the next generation of products and services.

Focusing On You

One of the first changes being employed is focusing on how we can help YOU, our established customer base. We have a lot of catching up to do and are committed to getting Store Locator Plus® back to the top of the locator software and services list.    To get there we are going to need your help.

The best way to help? Communicating your needs.  What can we do better?  What features are missing or can be improved?   Or drop us a note to tell us what we’re doing right.

We promise we’ll listen and do our best to improve our services and products.

Which Product or Service Are You Asking About(required)

Store Locator Plus® PHP 8 Compatible & Relisting Status

This past week we published an updated version of the base Store Locator Plus® WordPress plugin for version 5.12.4.  This patch allows Store Locator Plus® to run in PHP 8 environments despite WordPress itself clearly stating PHP 8 is NOT officially supported in the core WordPress install.

Unfortunately you still need to go to our main WordPress site to get the latest release.   The WordPress plugin team has yet to approve our plugin for listing in the direct despite providing a patch for the initial security concern during the summer of 2021.

Speaking of Relisting…

We have been working on literally hundreds of code changes to meet the new strict demands of the WordPress plugin team.  They insisted on a full code scan and review of all data I/O calls and required that we publish hundreds of escaping and sanitizing methods throughout.  While some of these updates did help close potential security holes, many of the changes flagged by the “AI bot code sniffer” were not true security weaknesses; This highlights a notable concern when humans employ digital intelligence tools to make decisions — but that is a debate for another day.

For now, we have spent hundreds of hours running the scanning tools we found for analyzing the code, evaluating thousands of warnings, and addresses dozens of legitimate concerns.  We worked around hundreds of false flags in the reports. The end result is a new version of the base plugin that is a good bit more secure against potential security issues.

The latest problems uncovered in testing have not come about from our security updates, but uncovered fundamental breaking changes in WordPress core.     WordPress has put the emphasis on block themes and the supporting core utilities that support them.   This has broken fundamental features of WordPress and has changed the order of precedence in which their hooks-and-filters are called.   This leads to notably different behavior in plugins and themes — not just Store Locator Plus®. Thankfully our QA team has found the issues with these new WordPress behaviors before we released our latest update and we have been working diligently to resolve them.   Our hope is the new 5.13 release not only passes the WordPress security scan but also works better than our 5.12 release when it comes to new block-based themes while retaining full compatibility with legacy themes.

With that said, we are hoping to pass our QA tests soon and have a new 5.13 release officially listed in the WordPress plugin directory.     Then we can start focusing on new features and a user experience overhaul that all of our customers can enjoy — including our SaaS customers.

Speaking of the SaaS version, thankfully none of these security things impact the SaaS version.   For those of you that switched over to the Saas release — we’ll have new features and UX updates coming your way later this year!