Q. I see a gray map or blank map and search does not work

JavaScript Problems

Issues with the JavaScript part of the plugin usually manifest themselves by showing the search form but either a blank map, a map that is all gray, or a map that appears but search does not work. To debug these issues use the Firebug add-on with Firefox as noted above.

The WordPress Store Locator Plus map rendering is managed by the slp.js JavaScript file.  It sets up the communication with the built-in WordPress AJAX handler, admin-ajax.   Your server must be setup to allow the built-in WordPress AJAX handler to execute.

The PHP JavaScript connector did not load

We have come across this error on several installations. The short answer to this problem is that something in the WordPress installation prevented the Store Locator Plus JavaScript component from loading. This means that the map system cannot communicate with Google. This prevents the map from appearing and search results from working properly on your locations page.

Here are some issues we’ve come across that cause this to happen:

    • PHP version is < 5.2, this generates an error message that you will not see in the browser. Any error message will prevent the JavaScript PHP file from loading.
    • PHP Error Reporting Enabled, if PHP error reporting is enabled and ANY PLUGIN has bugs, uses deprecated WordPress functions, or uses deprecated PHP functions they will generate an error message. This error message can be hidden in the browser if the error happens in something that is creating page header information. This will also break the page loading process and prevent the JavaScript PHP from loading.
    • Plugin Errors, any plugin that does not load properly and does ANYTHING with page header output will break and thus cause a domino effect prevent the Store Locator Plus PHP JavaScript component from loading.

In many cases the cause of the maps not loading is because our PHP JavaScript file could not load. We can often detect this and pop-up the “PHP JavaScript connector did not load” warning. However we cannot catch all errors.

One of the best tools for searching for errors in the HTML page headers is to use Firefox with the Firebug plugin. Turn on the console and check the responses tab for any errors. We have resolved many client installation and map problems with this plugin. More often than not we are finding errors in other plugins, themes, or server configuration settings on the servers. No, our plugin is not perfect and is not 100% bug free (we wish it were) but we are no longer finding bugs in our plugin as the primary culprit in broke installations.

The PHP JavaScript page header is a critical part of a working Store Locator Plus installation. Since it loads very late in the page creation process it is susceptible to failures from almost anything else you may be loading on the page or your WordPress site. The the map is not loading and you are receiving this message get some page debugging/tracking tools like Firebug and isolate any plugins that are generating coding/output errors.

The [slp_search_element] Shortcode

The [slp_search_element] shortcode is only processed within the Search Layout setting.   It is used to display user input elements on the search form.

Attributes

Attributes are the keywords that appear after the opening [slp_search_element and before the closing ].

Default attributes include:

button=<slug>

Output a form button.  <slug> should be an input supported by the base plugin or an add on such as:

submit

Output the Find Locations button.

 

dropdown_with_label=<slug>

Output a dropdown selector with a preceding label for the specified input.  <slug> should be an input supported by the base plugin or an add on such as:

radius

Output a dropdown of radius selections based on the Experience / Search / Radii Options setting.

hard_coded_value=<value>

Outputs the specified value.  Used by some add ons to add a specific [slp_search_element] output.

input_with_label=<slug>

Output a input selector with a preceding label for the specified input.  <slug> should be an input supported by the base plugin or an add on such as:

address

Output a the address/zip-code input box.

Tech Geek Stuff

Processed by the SLP_UI class via add_shortcode in create string_SearchForm() which calls crease_SearchElement().

Filter shortcode_slp_searchelement is used to manipulate attributes.  Many add ons use this to render specific output using attribute ‘hard_coded_value’ => ‘xyz’ to output a specific value.

Layout Shortcode Cheat Sheet

The Experience Add On allows you to custom tailor the look and feel of the Store Locator Plus plugin on your site.   To accomplish this the plugin uses a combination of HTML and special shortcodes.   These are set via the Experience tab of the plugin and is broken into 3 main areas.

The Overall Layout

This is set via the View / Layout setting.    It determines the overall layout for the plugin based on 3 primary components: The Search Form, The Map, and The Results.
Continue reading “Layout Shortcode Cheat Sheet”

Q. What is the difference between a shortcode and locator layout settings?

A.    A shortcode is a WordPress-specific code that lets you do nifty things with very little effort.  Shortcodes can embed files or create objects that would normally require lots of complicated, ugly code in just one line.   In other words, a Shortcode = shortcut. Continue reading “Q. What is the difference between a shortcode and locator layout settings?”

Directory City/State/Country Filters

The directory feature of the Power add on allows you to quickly build a directory-style listing on your pages to show a list of cities, states, or countries where you have locations.

The [slp_directory] shortcode used to build this listing can be combined with a landing_page attribute to quickly refer your site visitors to an interactive map showing your locations in the selected city, state, or country.
Continue reading “Directory City/State/Country Filters”

Store and Category Manager

Store and Category Manager interface is available if you have the  Power  Add-on installed. You will see a tab “Categories” in your Store Locator Plus User Interface.

Power add-on Categories Admin

Note: if you do not have Power add-on activated, the basic set up and tab/ panel is seen as Tagalong. Tagalong is a Legacy add-on that has now been included in Power Add-on for future Store Locator Plus versions published after June 2016

Basic Settings

You can choose to show the categories that you have created in a drop down menu as part of the search form.  You can add text as a label that will display  at the top of the categories drop down menu, or you can leave blank.  You can also add text for the category select box hat will appear in front of the category drop down on the user interface.

Hide Empty Categories Setting

Do NOT turn this on unless you have   Pages enabled.

Continue reading “Store and Category Manager”

Tags For Locations

Tags  (text,  label identifier) can be added to any location with the Power Add On, .   It is a quick and informal way to add categorization or grouping features to your Store Locator Plus locations.

Administration

Settings for Store Locator Plus Tag Search are under the Experience / Search tab  in the Search Feature section when you have the Power Add On installed.

Turning On Tag Searching

Tag based searches are off by default.  Set the Search Form Tag Input to something other than “none”.

Custom Label For Tag Searching

You can set a custom label for the tag search input. By default the label is blank. Leave blank type in what you want to appear for the Search By Tag Label: entry

Pulldown or Text Input

You can elect to have either a drop down , radio button, or a text box input for users when filtering results by location tags. The default mode is to allow for free-form text input. To use the other methods you must enter a series of your tags separated by commas.

dropdown with tags option
dropdown with tags option

Providing An Any Selection On The Tag Pulldown

You can also provide an “any” selection which will search for all locations, in addition to the list of tags you enter on the drop down. Check off the “show any” setting and Store Locator Plus will automatically add the phrase “any” to the top of your search list.
Continue reading “Tags For Locations”

Adding Radius Selection First Entry

The Experience Add On allows for a new entry on the radius selector on the user interface.   When a Radius First Entry has been set it will appear as the initial text in the radius drop down that the user sees on your search form.   The value will be set to the default miles that you have set in Radii Options.

Continue reading “Adding Radius Selection First Entry”