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

Minor release : V1.5.1 is out

Dear plugin users,

With the recent launch of V1.5, a number of you did come back with some gaps and examples of where the plugin did fall short.

1. Front-end

  • A big miss in 1.5 was the inability to apply the color scheme when the searchbox was placed in the body of the page. It only worked in the sidenav. This is now fixed and you can display as many searchboxes on a single page : each will have its own look & feel per your settings.
  • For the sites already using a jQuery function (Tabs, accordion, alerts, …), users reported a conflict in between their previous install and the theme packed with this plugin. With this release, you’ll be able to disable the embedded skin that comes with the plugin. This way, the jQuery calendar will leverage your site theme and look even more integrated !
    The option is available from the settings page (very last option) :disable_skin
  • The calendar icon is back where it belongs, which should work for most users. However, if need is be, you can easily adjust the padding here: “/includes/shortcode.php”, line 295 & 296.
  • Bulgarian is now supported (thanks to Georgi)

2. Under the hood

  • I’ve cleaned the translation setup and fixed a couple of characters that didn’t behave nicely. I’ve also compressed the number of lines of code dedicated to translations. The date appearing in the check in / check out will be in local language too.
  • I still don’t advise you run multiple searchboxes on the same page, but if you have to, then this should now be mostly working.
  • A legacy CSS file is now removed from the archive.
  • The plugin is also setup, tested and compliant with WP 3.8.

What’s next ?

I’ve had requests for additional user-level security in the past. It’ll allow sites with multiple contributors to have only the site owner deciding what AID to be used !

I’ll also start looking at the integration of the results within the wordpress site as opposed to a blank new window at booking.com. An easy one in PHP, a bit more tricky within wordpress.

But for now, just one thing to do : go to your WP install and upgrade to the latest version of the plugin… and if you haven’t done it yet, sign up to the newsletter to stay up to speed with what’s going on !

Thanks to all for your valuable inputs !
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

Major release : V1.5 coming out this week

Dear plugin users,

After a number of updates in many aspects, I’m really glad to let you know the next release of the plugin is scheduled for this week.

In version 1.5, you’ll find some improvements in the look & feel but also a whole lot of changes under the hood. Have a look at this post to find out the changelog and what that really means for you and your users.

  • If you want a preview, the new plugin already runs on this site. Just click here to see an example.
  • If you want to give the new version a test drive (on your test server), get it now from here, but make sure you get the final version from WP directly.

Not all of the requests have been implemented in this version, but it’s on my list for the next few months.

As usual, keep the feedback coming !
Greg

Give the next release a test drive ! (updated Nov 17th)

Hello

Beta[1]Over the last few months I’ve made a number of updates and fixes. These improvements should address most of your feedback. Having said that, I’m still not happy enough to release a new version yet.

In the meantime, what I can offer is to let you download the latest version of the plugin featuring all the changes mentioned in the previous posts:

  • Code emancipation,
    • Improved UI
    • Much better natural searchability
  • Compatibility issues/fixes with earlier version of PHP,
  • More languages

Why should you give it a try?

  1. I need your feedback to fix some compatibility issues once and for all ! If the official plugin doesn’t work on your WP install, try this one !
  2. You might be tired of the old Look&Feel. Good chance to give your visitors some eye-candy.
  3. You might have been complaining about the quality of the code provided by Booking.com… This is what you want !
  4. You like to tweak things…and this version is all about versatility.

Why should you stay away from this version ?

  1. You only have a production site ? No install to test this ? Then I’d recommend you get yourself a copy of your own site on a mirrored server right away, if not for this plugin this is just a much better way of handling your online projects.
  2. You don’t like to get your hands dirty ?
  3. You’re happy with the version live on your site and you don’t mind waiting another month before the next official release.

With these words of caution and common sense, here you go, here’s the archive of the development version for the plugin :

  • 2013.09.24
  • 2013.09.25
    • Now handles Danish, thanks to Chris J
  • 2013.11.17
    • FINALLY, clean jQuery UI integration, triggers lovely calendar the way it should be coded => This means the next official release will come out in the next few days.
    • Several code snippet cleanup, hopefully contibuting to a better compatibility.

Send me your feedback and don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter !

Greg

 

Preview before the next release

Hello

It’s been a month since I last posted an update. Unfortunately, I wasn’t baking on the beach as I had ton of stuff to manage at work… and some stuff to take care of in the real life 🙂

Anyway, I wanted to share with you a live demo of how the plugin behaves now. It’s not ready for an official release but it should come in the near future. No I won’t / can’t commit on a date.

[booking_pluginbox id=”309″]

 

While it works, some of the code isn’t as good as it should be and I really want to clear that out before the next release.

In parallel, I’m also adding:

  1. a bug fix for older versions of PHP preventing some “fatal exception”
  2. a user-level security, so only site admins can play along with the settings. (not this time)

That’s about it for now, not much more to add compared to the last post, except this time you can play with the output.

Let me know what you think
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

 

 

Stay on top of the news : sign up to the newsletter

Hello

A number of plugin users have asked for a lazyer better way to stay in touch. While there’s always the RSS option, I figured the good old newsletter was probably the less intrusive way for everyone to remain synced.

SO, if you want to receive updates about the future functionalities & releases of this plugin, please subscribe. It’ll take a second, it’s free and I’m not asking anything personal 🙂

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

 

Minor release : V1.0.1 is out

Hey folks,

Time for a little upgrade !

1. Widget

Based on the feedback I received, I re-introduced the Booking.com affiliate widget. Just go in your Appearance > Widget page and drag and drop it where you want it to show. Hope you’ll appreciate the dropdown menu, dynamic integration at its finest 😉

If you are using a text widget with a Shortcode with it, no worries, it’ll still work absolutelly fine.

2. Admin panel

A long time user made me realize there was no way back from categorization. You can now deselect your categorizations instead of having to recreate a searchbox. No brainer !

Good good… and what’s coming next ?

A major upgrade is on its way and it’ll start impact the design, finally. I’ve managed to have a good clean and stable code to move away from the original javascript & css from booking.com. Remember, the code they recommend affiliates to use has not been updated in 5 years… For those that have been looking into their html output, you’ll love how clean and concise the future version looks.
Over time this’ll open the door to themes or CSS theming, eventually.

But for now, just one thing to do : go to your WP install and upgrade to the latest version of the plugin !

Cheers
Greg