Testers needed : V1.7 is about to be released

Ho Ho Ho

As Santa shares love in happiness, I had a few spare hours to make another plugin update. The changes are literally based on your comments for the last few months. Keep them coming !

Changelog

  • Updated jQuery library versions
    Now pointing to Google’s CDN for version 1.11.2 instead of 1.10.
  • Default Searchbox title
    After a little bit of rootcausing, I realized a number of users got confused because their searchbox all had the same name : “(no title)”… And in fairness, you don’t really HAVE to add one to get the plugin to do its thing. So I’ve changed the default title text to something a bit more helpful. Of course you can still edit the title, and of course it only applies to this custom type.Also, that also led me to realize there are no mandatory fields in wordpress ! Crazy !
  • Calendar CSS Isolation
    With the increasing use of jQuery UI in WP themes, more and more plugin users have been complaining about the way the plugin blends into their theme. I’ve added a “Forced compatibility mode” that will better respect your theme AND the native jQueryUI look & feel.
  • Bug fixes
    • jQuery calendar url was sometime acting up when using WPML. This is now fixed.
    • Insert menu is no longer limited to the 5 latest searchboxes. It’ll go down to the last 25. That should be more than enough for the vast majority of users.
    • Edited out some of the CSS. Will be depricated in the future.
    • Readjusted the code to align the calendar icons.

See what the demo looks like now on this site.

If you want to test this future release, have 30 mins in front of you and know what you’re doing, please get the ZIP file here and send me your feedback !

And that’s it for now. What will come in the future is a more ‘WYSIWYG’ way of building the searchbox. You’ll choose your template (horizontal, vertical, mixed) for each searchbox. That’ll really help you doing nicer integrations and make my life easier too ! Also, this’ll allow for a proper mobile (“touch”) support.

I’m starting to look at it now and will post an update later on.

Thanks to Agus & Nicolas for their help beta-testing this release.

Happy holidays
Greg

Bug fixes for V1.5.1 – Test it now !

Dear plugin users,

Based on your feedback after the launch of V1.5 and V1.5.1, I’ve looked at the code again. In most situations, the plugin should have been playing nicely with your current WP install… but I’ve been able to reproduce certain cases where things could go wrong. After a number of tests, I’ve fixed the root cause for the calendars not being displayed correctly. You can now freely integrate this with your wordpress theme.

While I was at it, I’ve added an option that allows you to select the calendar skin you prefer directly from the jQuery repository. Check all the options available from here. Each skin will be now selectable from the admin panel for each of your searchbox. As usual, I don’t recommend running multiple searchboxes on the same page as you’d probably end up with mixed results. I’ve seized the opportunity to clean up the admin panel too.

jqueryui_calendar_skin

I’ve also fixed a few text encoding issues for Spanish & German.

jqueryui_calendar_fixed

 

With that, I think we should be good for some time 🙂

Here’s the download link for the preview, let me know if anything goes wrong ! If I receive no feedback, I’ll post this version on the official repository later on this week.

 

Thanks for using this plugin & for the feedback

Greg

CSS Bug fixes for V1.5 – Test it now !

Hey there

I’ve received a few comments and emails about CSS issues / conflicts with the latest release. While I’m sad to hear I missed them during the testing phase of the last launch I’m grateful for your feedback !

I’ll absolutelly look into each comment and specific issue, correct them and post a corrective release asap. Again, because the code is now much more aligned with the industry standards, it is probably only going to take an hour or two (fingers crossed :)), which is great for all of us.

The only downside is I’m really busy at work these days and I’m running a 10K race tomorrow so it’ll have to wait till next weekend at the earliest before I can really sit down and do the necessary cleaning. At that point, I’ll do another beta version and will offer you the chance to confirm that it all behaves as it should (i.e. MUCH nicer than 1.0.1).

Update to V1.5.1

Get your dev version right now to check this has fixed any potential issue. The more feedback I get, the quicker the next release will go live.

November 25th

  • Calendar icon alignement (short term fix)
  • Background & text colors now working fine (main column & sidenav)
  • Tested on Chrome / IE10 / FF for look & feel AND interactions with the calendars (i.e. date selection).
  • Deprication of orphan CSS file.

– November 30th

  • Fall back solution for the calendar icon, similar to V1.0.1
  • Translations are now completed for the calendars. The code still need a cleaner formatting but it’s all good.
  • Enforced language (english) and tracking name (“plugin”) when no settings are defined.
  • Tested on Chrome / IE10 / FF for look & feel AND interactions with the calendars (i.e. date selection).
  • Tested for WP 3.8 Beta 1

December 1st

  • Optional CSS override : if you are already running jQuery Tabs or Accordion on your site, use this new option to disable the skin packed with the plugin and keep your site consistent ! This will also prevent your other Tabs / Accordion / … to pick up the look and feel of the calendar.
    The option is available at the bottom of the plugin setting page.
  • We’re back on with the icon calendar. It still won’t work for everyone, but with the fix mentioned above the noise should be minimal.
    If you want to tweak it, go to “/includes/shortcode.php”, line 295 & 296.
  • Much better support of multiple searchboxes on one single page. Not yet perfectly fine but will cater for 90% of the uses.
  • Translation cleanup.

Still pending

  • Use of multiple searchboxes with calendars in different languages on a single page. This is the reason why booking.com can return “Check out date invalid”. For now, keep using only 1 searchbox per page. => Much improved but not perfect yet.
  • Extensive testing with older IE versions
  • Potential conflict with other jQuery plugins (by design this shouldn’t happen due to the WP coding best practices I’ve followed… but I’m also hearing the feedback in the case of jQuery tabs, so looking into it) => tested with WP sites using jQuery tabs and did not face weird behavior. => Fixed with “Disable skin (CSS)” option

Thank you again for the feedback, keep the details coming !
Greg

Feature for the next release : code emancipation !

Yes, that’s the word : emancipation !

As a (humble) plugin developer and based on some of the work I’ve done to help friends get started in the affiliation business, I’ve got to say, the default affiliate searchbox is outdated in many aspects.

The code

Once you’ve looked at it, I think one of the worst part is the code. Not that it is poorly coded, but it is simply poorly documented and beyond everything else, it has not been updated in 5+ years. The result ? When you load the default searchbox on your site, on an average, you add a whooping 1309 lines of code to your page. This includes about 200 lines of HTML, about 100 lines of CSS and about 1000 lines of javascript. With the current state of this plugin, I’ve only managed to reduce the code by about 10%. That’s still wayyy too much for what it does. For those of you that are curious, you can check the code here.

As several plugin users commented over the last few months, there is an SEO cost to having such a poor code on your site. Page weight and page load time could  be also mentionned but only in a marginal manner.

With today practices, moving the old HTML / CSS into HTML5 would save a couple of lines, for sure. However the saving wouldn’t be major. Now if you look at the javascript code that runs the date calculation and the calendar rendering, there’s a great opportunity for something more impactful.

The user experience

Here I’m not going to talk about color scheme, gradients or anything about how the searchbox LOOKS. day_then_the_restI’ll save that for another day. As a visitor of your own site, did you ever find relevant to start selecting a DAY (a number actually) from a dropdown and then proceed with month and year ?

Another fun one is the calendar. old_calendarNot only the random popup location has certainly driven a few of you nuts (I’m with you on that one) but simple things like previewing 2 months instead of one have become a standard practice. I mean it is certainly a nicer option than having to key in manually your checkin / checkout dates with the dropdown seen above… but really, there’s room for improvement.

Lastly, once you’ve selected your dates in & out, what shows up in the searchbox ? Parameters ! Gone are the actual days in plain language (if your language is covered), you’re back with a first dropdown that shows you checkin day, and another that shows the month and year. People like words better than numbers.

What day am I leaving again ?

Done with the bitching ? What’s the point ?

Here comes the fun. By bringing in some industry standard into the picture, I’ve been able to elegantly get rid off the default scripting for the searchbox. What that means is instead of these ~1000 lines of old school JS code, you’ll be down to about 50 lines enabling a lot of customization… and with that customization comes a series of great user experience improvements !

update_07-26

  1. Look at the date display ! It’s finally only one box and it speaks in your language. You’re no longer leaving on the 27th of July 2013 : You are now leaving on Saturday, 27th of July 2013. Feels reassuring for the vast majority of your users.
  2. Only one box means it’ll take less space on the screen while maximizing the info displayed. I’ve also included the calendar icon into the field to (1) free up some space (2) make it easier for you to change the background colors without thinking about color-matching the calendar icon.
  3. Ultimately the bigger improvement resides in the calendar itself. While this example isn’t styled yet, I wanted to share that you can now display 2 months in one click -which is great for your users- and the calendar will now ALWAYS show up where it’s meant to show up. No more fancy behaviour.

At this stage, this is a very much working example but I’ve not integrated it into the DEV version of the plugin yet. I’ve got some freetime on my hands this weekend and I should be able to make some good progress.

Also, I still have a number of things to improve, like the actual LOOK of the widget, for instance. It’s a much smaller / simpler thing to do, the backend rewrite remains the priority now. After this update, the next one will most probably feature a role restriction option so ONLY the site admins can access the admni panel for this plugin.

– To stay on top of what’s coming next and the future release dates, subscribe to the newsletter here.
– You have more ideas around what could be the next big thing to be added, let me know.

Cheers
Greg

 

 

Feature for the next release : Greek

Hello

I’ll start a new post category to announce where I stand on the development of the plugin. I’ll warn in advance what are the features I have added and that are already being tested. They might not always be sufficient to justify a new public version, but at least people will know better what to expect in advance.

So, what have we got here ? Greek !

User Yiannis sent me not only the translation in Greek, but also all the code pieces so I only had to add it to the core. I have to say, this is not the first time it happens: Paulo submitted Portuguese and an unknown contributor sent me Turkish.

booking_Plugin_in_greek

That kind of things HAVE to make you love the web.

Anyway, more to come soon.

Efkaristo poli !
Greg