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Introducing the Cardinal Store Locator plugin for WordPress

After two years of on and off work it is my pleasure to announce the release of the Cardinal Store Locator plugin for WordPress. This plugin is built on top of my jQuery Store Locator plugin with the WordPress Settings API and offers all of the same settings via the WordPress dashboard in addition to integrating with core WordPress features such as custom post types for location data and custom taxonomies for location categories and filtering. The plugin can also still read location data via local or remote KML, XML, or JSON. It’s highly customizable, was programmed following the WordPress Coding Standards, is responsive by default, can read Snazzy Maps styling, makes use of Handlebars for simple info window and location list overrides in addition to several other features. Cardinal Store Locator is a premium plugin but the underlying jQuery Store Locator will continue to be freely available on GitHub. The ...(Read More)

Using query string parameters with the jQuery Store Locator

Since version 2.0.0 of the jQuery Store Locator plugin I’ve included an option to handle query string parameters but I haven’t provided many details on how to take advantage of it. I thought I would take the time to provide an example so people aren’t stuck having to dig through the plugin code to understand how to use this option. The primary use for using query string parameters with the plugin would be to set up a search and display the results on a different page. The first step in using query string parameters is to set the ‘querystringParams’ and ‘fullMapStart’ plugin options to true. The next step would be to set up the search form with the method set to “get” and the action set to your store locator page along with your normal form inputs (address and/or name search fields). So, the form HTML would look something like ...(Read More)

Using the jQuery Store Locator with thousands of locations

A couple of months ago I assisted someone with a paid request to implement my jQuery Store Locator plugin with a database of over 50,000 locations. I hadn’t previously done this and wanted to share the solution I came up with for the benefit of anyone else who might be wondering how to proceed in the same situation. The key, of course, is to integrate with a back-end language but coming up with the appropriate database query that can quickly filter through lots of locations was somewhat tricky. In the newest version of my plugin I’ve added the appropriate parameters to the GET request now that I understand what’s involved: the origin latitude and longitude and I’m also passing the input that the user enters if you’re interested in logging that information for tracking purposes. The answer that worked for me actually came right out of the O’Reilly book High ...(Read More)

jQuery Store Locator version 2.0.0 released

I’m happy to announce that a major new update to my jQuery Store Locator plugin has been released and is now available on GitHub. Version 2 is a complete rewrite based on the “basic” plugin pattern of the jQuery Boilerplate. The overall file structure has changed, several of the plugin settings have changed and all of the CSS is now prefixed to avoid potential collisions. In other words, you’re not going to be able to simply replace the main plugin file to upgrade to the latest version. I’ve been working on this update off and on for the past six months, so a lot has changed. I’ve also added many new features based on the most common requests I’ve received.  The following list doesn’t cover everything that’s new but all of the important items to note: Grunt is now utilized to minify and compile the plugin and CSS. You only need to worry about ...(Read More)

jQuery Store Locator Plugin

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I first published my Google Maps store locator JavaScript code. I’ve had several requests for an updated version and that post has definitely received more traffic than any of my others. I’ve finally created a new version of the locator using Google Maps API version 3 and this time I’ve turned it into a full-on jQuery plugin. I re-worked almost everything in the code but I don’t think I’m going to go through function by function like I did in the last post. jQuery should make this store locator much easier to implement and I’ve included several options. Without further ado, here is the full documentation for the plugin:

The Huge Problem with Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft finally released a browser that supports some CSS3 properties. As usual they’re in catch-up mode, but IE9 still isn’t exactly on par with the rest of them. If you check the compatibility chart on findmebyip.com you’ll see there are still some red Xs compared to the other major browsers. What’s the deal with text shadows? Anyways, it might be good enough for now but there’s one gigantic problem that, at least to me, resembles the lovely situation created by the devil’s browser IE6. Microsoft is restricting IE9 to Windows Vista and Windows 7. For front-end developers, this shifts the problem from supporting IE6 (which we can hopefully all agree to stop supporting unless a client pays extra for it) to finding some way to implement CSS3 in IE7 and IE8. To be fair, yes, it has been 10 years since XP was released but, to give the big M ...(Read More)

A Google Maps Store Locator in Only Javascript

* UPDATE: I’ve re-worked this code and have created a jQuery plugin based on it. Recently, I was tasked with creating a “store” locator for a local financial institution that has several branches in the Twin Cities area. The problem was that there wasn’t a chance I’d receive access to their server or database and would need to make a special request if I needed access to a server-side programming language. Because of a tight deadline, I decided not to bother working with a server-side language or a database and just create the locator with only Javascript. I knew I wanted to use the Google Maps API and figured there would be at least one example out there I could work off of. However, my presumption was incorrect and I ended up creating it myself along with some helpful snippets of code I came across along the way. It wasn’t ...(Read More)

Some Pros and Cons of MODx

MODx is an up and coming PHP/MySQL content management system that’s easy to use and has plenty of nice features. The project began in 2004 as a fork of Etomite. I’ve used it for a few projects now (not extensively) and think it works great for small sites; sites with less than ~15 pages that don’t have a lot of dynamic content. I really like the direction that MODx is headed but there are certainly some drawbacks that prevent me from using it on more of a regular basis. I thought I’d post a small list of what I believe are the current pros and cons of the system for anyone who is considering it. Pros: Quick loading: Unlike most CMSs, MODx doesn’t add tons of irrelevant markup to your HTML and instead of loading the skins from regular HTML files, they are loaded from the database; no clutter and ...(Read More)

The Downward Spiral of Facebook

While Facebook's user base has grown substantially over the years, I think the quality of the site has degraded just as quickly. I've had a Facebook account since the very early days and it was much better back then. I think the time is right for a more innovative social networking site and wouldn't be surprised to see another site gain in popularity within the next two years.