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

 

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

 

 

Booking.com affiliate plugin updated to 1.0 !

Hey folks

As per my previous post, here’s the result of the last round of updates to the plugin. I took all your feedback very seriously and revised my plans to accomodate for the most popular features. Never an easy task to please everyone (particularly when done for FREE) but I suspect this should please a number of users !

WARNING : This is a major upgrade and simply clicking the “update” link in WordPress won’t be sufficient for you to transition from the old architecture to the new one. Please save your legacy settings offline before upgrading. Your former settings will not be directly imported into this version.
Be sure you have a couple of minutes ahead of you to get things running again. Do not perform this upgrade on the go ! It’ll take you a few mins to get familiar with the new approach and re-deploy your searchboxes.

Changelog

– By public demand, your Booking.com plugin now features shortcodes !

– Complete overhaul of the publication mechanism. You can now have multiple search boxes configured for your site. They are all independant and you can reonfigure them at will. I’m leveraging the default posts engine so you benefit from wonderful native features like revisions or backup. This answer the numerous requests around having unique  search boxes for some of your key full-width landing pages AND keep another widgetized search box for your traditional site template.
WARNING, this does not mean you can have multiple searchbox on a single page ! Just like previous versions the behaviour of the booking.com calendar script prevents that. Nothing to do with this plugin, Booking.com wants it that way. Nasty bugger.

– Add a search box from the regular post editor, TinyMCE, via the Insert button.

Revised layout : Editable width that really works. Reworked div structure that shouldn’t break any templates anymore.

Added Portuguese, thanks to Paulo Santos for the submission.

Still pending

I really wanted to get this release out the door to answer your great feedback & fair requests. That means that I had to make some re-prioritization and descope a few items that were naively slated for this release.

– Adoption of the jQuery datepicker : all in all, I’ve probably spent 50% of my time trying to tweak the default calendar script to get it to work on all major browser and in most circumstances. While not deviating from the source code is part of the idea for this plugin, fact is this the source code is outdated and not scalable. Booking.com hasn’t updated that code in more than 4 years and is providing close to 0 support. Time to move on and embrace the industry standards ! It is not included in v1.0 so legacy users can still use the original booking.com script with the new shortcode codebase. After that, (1) no more random calendar popup location (2) support for multiple searchbox on same page (3) much more flexible styling options. Can’t wait.

Further UI rework for the actual boxes. As I’m now using shortcodes and switched from a unique-per-site to many-per-site approach, the actual requirements to get the frontend working nicely changed a bit… thus taking more time to do it right. No fancy HTML5 stuff but it’s defo on the list for the nexy few releases. With the use of the jQuery datepicker, I’ll probably also borrow a few UI tricks from that library too !

Search results on your own site : it’s been while we didn’t talk about displaying the booking.com results into yout own site and branding… Well it’s still not for this release but the progress achieved here will make this next step much more stable and flexible.

Now what ?

Head over to the changelog for more details, have a look at the new screenshots and last but not least have a try for yourself on a test WordPress install (if you don’t have one setup, try via Instant WordPress).

Once you’re all ready to go and confident about the changes, you’re set for updating your production site !

 

Thanks you all for your patience (hum) and continous feedback… and keep watching for the future updates !

Greg

Are we there yet ? Yes, version 1.0 is days away !

Hey

Good news, I’m almost done with the new release for the plugin. I’m putting the last touches together, updating readme.txt and screenshots. You’ll see the updates coming you way in the next few days.

It’ll be version 1.0 as the code is now stable and I believe it won’t break any designs.

If you want to get the package early for testing purpose, let me know and I’ll send you the zip file.

Cheers
Greg

Minor realease : V0.2.6 is out

Hey guys

As I’m making good progress on the next major release, I believe I found out the tiny UI gap in the live version of the plugin. I patched it and thus I’m releasing yet another minor release. I sincerely hope this will bridge the UI gap some of you have been experiencing.

Please note this error is pulled directly from the source code Booking.com is providing to its affiliates. I’ll let them know kindly.

Also, some users reported calendars might appear slightly higher than the actual search box in some specific conditions (narrow site, wide monitors). I’ve been able to replicate the issue but I’m affraid this is the “correct” behaviour for the javascript provided by Booking.com. I’ll let them know kindly.

Anyhow, all streams ahead to 0.2.6 !

I should be able to keep my planning straight and launch the next major release in the first half of june. I’m 60% there : almost all the backend is now coded, I’m still working on the UI for the search box AND the UI of the admin pageS. More to come…

Cheers
Greg

Minor realease : V0.2.5 is out

Hey folks

As per my previous note, I’ve been working on a number of large updates. I expect the first large update to go live early june.

Till we get there, I released a minor update today for two reason.

1) An anonymous user provided the code for Turkish for the current version of the plugin and I had no reason not to push it live to please some users. I know most people won’t care though !

2) For the non-Turkish speaking folks, I also added a warning notice. The next releases will require some special attention. Don’t just update it while on the go. Make sure you have a few spare minutes ahead of you to make this work. I’ve rewrote the plugin from the ground up and will be using a completely new setup, even for the plugin database. It’s all good stuff really, but like any change, it requires a few minutes to adjust to it.

Also, I’ve noted I had a few broken links on this site as the wordpress.com team asked me to change my initial domain name. Sorry if I didn’t reply to some of your suggestions or freelance requests. I simply never received the notifications.

Head to the download link on wordpress.org or to your installation plugin page.

Let’s be in touch soon and keep the feedback coming (public comments, direct note or features request)!
Greg

Version 0.2 : Calendars are now actually useful !

Hey there,

UPDATED (again): Just deployed 0.2.2 with support for Italian and the ability to select in which browser window the booking.com results show up (self or new).

UPDATED: I deployed 0.2.1 with the missing css file from 0.2. No idea how this was missed from the SVN upload but here you go !

It’s been exactly 2 months this plugin made it to the official WordPress repository. I can’t complain about the number of downloads considering how niche the audience is. Also, thanks for your various notes and the few donations. I can’t say these have been the most rewarding hours of work in my life but it’s good to see some appreciation from strangers 🙂

So what’s new today ? First thing first, I’ve rebuilt the code for searchbox from the ground up. Starting from the Booking.com code, I’ve cleaned the source a bit, added some localization features and made sure I did not break anything. What I’ve been trying to achieve here is really to move away from the standard iframe approach. Although the 90s were great for many reasons, using iframes as part of an online project these days is reaaally bad.

The net change for you, dear plugin users, is simply the code will be running on your servers instead of the booking.com ones. This brings you complete control over the stability of your site and the control of what’s happenning from a clickstream standpoint. This release gives you:

  • Calendar fix : your visitors will now see the calendar instead of having them hidden under the iframe.
  • No more “height” adjustement necessary.
  • Better control over localization. Only 5 languages supported for now but many more to come.

You might also have noticed the url of this site changed to comply with the wordpress.com policy. I wasn’t actually allowed to use the word “wordpress” in my domain name.

Download the latest version of the booking.com wordpress plugin page.

Hopefully you’ll appreciate the update to the plugin. For any new suggestion for the future realeases, please use the tracker or simply drop a note in here.

Cheers
Greg

Plugin added to the official wordpress plugin repository

Hey guys,

Just a quick note to let you know the plugin is finally live on the wordpress.org plugin repository. Now only one place to go for all your downloads 🙂

>> http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bookingcom-affiliate-plugin/

I’ll tidy up the page with screenshots and all. For now, the main thing is really to get it out the door and get moving !

Cheers
Greg

The first version of the Booking.com plugin is being released !

After quite some time discussing with folks around me I decided to start writing a plugin to make it easy entering the Affiliates business.

Sometimes folks might have great ideas on paper. Things just tend to become difficult when it’s time to implement on a website. Leveraging the whole WordPress architecture, this plugin should considerably make things easier for booking.com affiliates willing to start moving the needle on their online sales.

While the plugin is being validated by the wordpress repository team, you can find it hosted on this site This plugin is now hosted on the official wordpress repository ! I’m working on a couple of support notes, screenshots and enhancements already. More to come !