We're releasing the first major update of Business Directory Plugin since 2016. We've been busy and we're excited to share our big changes with you.
TL;DR: A LOT. We refactored a lot of internal code to support stuff you've been wanting for awhile–like the ability to charge a single fee for multiple categories, ability to edit categories after the listing is placed, better fee plan management, better Submit Listing workflow and much, MUCH more.
Here's the full changelog for 5.0:
- Added support for new fee plan pricing models: flat price, category-based, base + extra amount per category.
- Added a new Payments screen to manage all payments.
- When sorting listings using the paid/free option, the paid amount is now taken into consideration.
- Completely redesigned category and fee plan selection.
- Listing statuses and attributes have been redesigned for improved UX on the backend.
- Listing expiration date is now shown as a column on the backend.
- Listings submitted by anonymous users can now be edited/renewed using Access Keys.
- Added support for creating an account during listing submit.
- Listing now have just one fee plan associated to them instead of one per category.
- Listing renewal now keeps the featured flag.
- Listings can now have different background colors depending on their fee plan.
- Added normalized CSS classes and IDs for listing views.
- Redesigned listing information metabox.
- Completely redesigned listing submit workflow using AJAX.
- Added a “Timeline” metabox on the backend to clearly see a listing's history.
- Admins can now create any number of listing expiration/reminder notices.
- Simplify how modules integrate into BD.
businessdirectory-quick-searchshortcode to display the Quick Search form.
- Added warning when reaching the image limit during listing submit/edit.
- Allow users to edit categories for their listing if the plan allows it.
- Added option to sort listings using the configured sort for their fee plans.
- Added several hooks to allow adding content during the submit process and in other templates.
- Allow admins to mark some fields as required for searching.
- Added a more reliable cron implementation for scheduled events.
- Refreshed the Settings API implementation to increase speed, reduce queries and add validation support.
- Redesigned the settings screen for better UX.
- Increased reliability of upgrades.
- Added a new log mechanism for better debugging.
- Updated the module initialization API.
- License and update checking has been merged to cover both themes and modules, reducing external requests.
Some original implementation choices with the plugin were holding us back–things like how categories and fees were associated together. As enhancement requests came in and we tried to add them, it was clear the code needed some serious changes to support the many new features you wanted us to add. That's why this took so long…
Because we made so many core changes, every module requires an update this time around. Some were pretty extensive (payment gateways, for example). But they all required updates so we can improve the experience of BD moving forward.
Our core goal in 5.0 was to improve the overall experience of Business Directory Plugin–how you submit a listing, how you manage them, viewing payments, seeing events about your listings and when they happened, updating the settings area to better organize the options. Comments so far have been very positive. We hope you enjoy it.
What will I need to do?
The release will be public as of Tuesday, October 24. Update your core plugin when it's available on your Plugins admin dashboard. Update any modules you have from your dashboard. If you have Enhanced Categories installed, you'll need to download the latest and upgrade to Enhanced Categories 5.0.
How do I upgrade Enhanced Categories?
IMPORTANT: Don't do this until you're also ready to upgrade to Business Directory Plugin (core) 5.0. The 4.0 core plugin and 5.0 Enhanced Categories are not compatible.
How thoroughly did you test it?
Very thoroughly! Our implementation started almost a year ago and we did our own testing to get it stable. We've been extensively testing this since May with an active and vocal group of beta users who provided some amazing input and reports that really solidified the product, the workflow and the experience considerably. It's been through several long rounds of user feedback and comments, in addition to our own internal suite of tests. We wouldn't be where we are today without our awesome beta testers help! (Thanks to Kimberly, Donna, Bruce, Curtis, and Trisha for your patience and help during this process)
With that said, no software is ever bug-free and with the infinite combinations of WP version, PHP, plugins and themes along with server environments, there are bound to be some issues although we're hoping they're all minor at this point. If you have ANY issues with the 5.0 release, contact us right away and we'll get on it. That's our #1 priority post-release.
How do I get it?
Go to your plugins dashboard under Plugins->Installed Plugins. Look for “Business Directory Plugin” and find the “Update Now” link.
If you have modules installed and your maintenance is current, you will need to repeat clicking “Update Now” for any modules you have as well. If your maintenance has expired, you'll need to renew your module(s) before updating.
Once you're done with that, you'll need to complete a Manual Upgrade step. This is not something you can skip–it must be done to migrate your data to 5.0 format. (This step is SAFE–we preserve your 4.0 data in case you need to downgrade later for any reason)
Again, if you have ANY issues with the 5.0 upgrade process, contact us right away and we'll get on it. That's our #1 priority post-release.
Do I have to upgrade?
No, you don't have to for now–but we strongly recommend that you DO upgrade as soon as you can. If you choose to stay on it, we will not be supporting any 4.x version of Business Directory Plugin after January 1, 2018. We've been working hard on 5.0 to allow the plugin to advance and we're in a good place to do that now. 4.x is not a viable branch to update anymore.
I still have questions. Can you answer them?
Yes, absolutely. Contact us and we'd be happy to help.