SearchWP News

Category: Announcements

SearchWP version 2.8.2 has just been released for all active license holders. This is a bug fix and maintenance release that’s recommended for everyone.

Full changelog:

  • [Fix] Fixed a mime type mismatch that prevented accurate Media limiting using All Documents file type
  • [Fix] Admin Bar and Advanced tab indexer pausing now use the same setting
  • [Fix] Fixed an issue when checking for utf8mb4 support
  • [Improvement] Improved regex pattern for hyphen-separated matches
  • [Improvement] Improved aggressiveness of search algorithm where necessary to prevent unexpected filtration during searches
  • [Update] Updated updater

Enjoy!

As of March 4, 2016 licenses will automatically renew

As of March 4, 2016 there will be a slight change to the purchase terms for SearchWP.

Automatic renewals for license keys

To date, SearchWP licenses expire on an annual basis. Notifications are sent out leading up to the expiration date and customers are given the option to renew their license for another year at a discounted rate. An active license entitles customers to support, automatic updates, and extension downloads.

Having to manually renew the license is a burden placed on SearchWP customers. On March 4, new purchases of a SearchWP license will be enrolled in an auto-renewing subscription.

For customers who do not wish to automatically renew their license the subscription can be cancelled from your Account page at any time.

EXISTING CUSTOMERS PLEASE REVIEW

If you have a license that was purchased prior to March 4, 2016 please read the following:

Your existing license will not automatically renew unless you extend your license manually.

If you choose to renew your license, your subscription will begin today and you will be charged the renewal price today and license expiration date will then be pushed out one year from it’s original date.

One year from today, you will be charged again based on your active subscription. Your license expiration will again be pushed out another year. This cycle will continue until you cancel your subscription.

In other words: when you renew your license, you will be charged on the date dictated by your subscription, and your license date will be further pushed into the future.

Even though these dates may not match, your license date will always extend further than your subscription, so if you do cancel your subscription, your license will remain active until it’s original expiration date, even though your subscription is inactive.

TL;DR: Your subscription date will now be the date you are charged for SearchWP, not the license expiration date, but the license will remain active until it’s expiration even if you cancel your subscription.


 

FAQ

Will existing license keys be made to automatically renew?

No. There will be no changes made to existing customers licenses.

Can I update my license to automatically renew?

Yes! To implement auto-renewal on your license simply visit your Account page and renew or extend your license. Once checkout is complete your license will automatically renew at the proper time.

What if I do not want a subscription?

You can cancel your subscription at any time after purchase. Once cancelled, your license key will not renew automatically and will expire at the proper date. Once expired you will no longer receive support, updates, or have access to extension downloads. You can manually renew your license at any time to reactivate your subscription.

I have more questions!

By all means please contact me.

Long time SearchWP customers are familiar with the limitation that while SearchWP itself offers automatic updates, Extensions don’t. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons as Extensions (like SearchWP core) receive periodic updates that include bug fixes and new features. Extension updates are admittedly sporadic, extensions are designed to be ultra-small modifications to the way SearchWP operates. But unless you’re in the habit of manually checking the extension page on searchwp.com you wouldn’t know about the update being available.

The times have changed!

Over the past month or so all Extensions have been inheriting an improvement that was made to the licensing platform powering SearchWP’s licenses. Long story short: all of your extensions can now receive automatic updates!

NOTE: Extensions simply utilize your SearchWP license, there is no need (and nowhere) to enter in an additional license key!

With this change comes an improvement to the extensions pages themselves. In addition to the download link, docs, and other information, the current version and changelog are displayed as well. This should help you determine whether you need to update to an auto-updating update of your extension (haha!)

So be sure to check out the new Extensions pages and update any that need updating!

Version 2.6 of SearchWP is now available for all active license holders. You will see an update notification in your WordPress admin area, and the latest version is always available as a direct download from your Account. On to the wonderful release details!

Settings interface improvements

SearchWP got a bit of a facelift in the settings department. I’ve always liked the engine configuration, but the rest needed some work. Everything under the hood that powers the settings was reworked to better accommodate everything as well.

01-searchwp-settings-ui

These interface updates were influenced by CalderaWP projects and FacetWP because they’re awesome. The update affords more attention to the Advanced settings area which is becoming more of a utility as SearchWP and the user base matures. The Advanced settings area was also reworked to optimize actions most commonly taken on this screen. It also provides some very high level stats for the indexer that will help provide you details about the status as well as shed more insight should a support ticket need to be opened.

02-advanced-settings

The license management workflow has been completely reworked. When you have an inactive license (as in the screenshot above) the link will be called out in blue, with an active license it takes a step back and looks like the other tabs. The License management itself was redone to better call out the status of your license:

03-license-inactive

When your license is active, this page now indicates how long the license will remain active as well:

04-license-active

The ‘Support’ button has been reworked as a Help tab, allowing for a more streamlined ticket creation process with an easily accessible viewing of your System Information:

05-support

The last interface update was the integration of Extensions that require a settings UI. When one of those extensions is activated a new tab will be added and essentially replicate the dropdown that was present in versions prior to 2.6. Everything else extension-wise works the same on the surface, but an entirely new Settings API was built for extensions to integrate themselves into the settings. If you’d like to find out more about that, please see the Settings API documentation.

Introducing SWP_Query!

Perhaps the thing I am most excited about in SearchWP 2.6 is the introduction of a new class: SWP_Query. This class is something that will be most useful to developers, it aims to recreate as much as it can from WP_Query. WP_Query is essential for development, and many WordPress developers are very familiar with it. SearchWP can work in much the same way as WP_Query, so why not make a class that eases that process for developers? While SWP_Query will never fully replicate WP_Query, the aim is to have it be a utility that WordPress developers can use with as little friction as possible. As of SearchWP 2.6, SWP_Query supports the following arguments:

  • s — the search query
  • engine — the SearchWP engine to use (default: default)
  • posts_per_page — how many posts to return per page (default is the global posts per page defined in Settings > Reading in the WordPress admin)
  • nopaging — disable pagination and return all posts (default: false)
  • load_posts — whether to return post objects (default: true)
  • page — which page of results to return (default: 1)
  • post__in — array of post IDs to limit results to (default: empty array)
  • post__not_in — array of post IDs to exclude from results (default: empty array)
  • tax_query — see WP_Query‘s tax_query documentation
  • meta_query — see WP_Query‘s meta_query documentation
  • date_query — see WP_Query‘s date_query documentation

The introduction of SWP_Query should make the lives of many developers much better. SearchWP tightly integrates with WordPress’ posts table which makes something like this possible. I’m most excited about the tax_query, meta_query, and date_query arguments which will reduce the complexity of making those operations possible. Working with SWP_Query is very similar to using WP_Query:

<?php
$swp_query = new SWP_Query(
array(
's' => 'coffee', // search query
'engine' => 'default', // engine to use
'post_type' => array(), // override enabled post types in engine config (SearchWP 2.7+)
'posts_per_page' => 10, // posts per page
'nopaging' => false, // disable paging?
'fields' => 'all', // set to 'ids' to return only post IDs (SearchWP 2.7+)
'page' => 1, // which page of results
'post__in' => array(), // limit potential results pool to array of IDs
'post__not_in' => array(), // explicity exclude IDs from search results
'tax_query' => array( // tax_query support
array(
'taxonomy' => 'people',
'field' => 'slug',
'terms' => 'bob',
),
),
'meta_query' => array( // meta_query support
array(
'key' => 'age',
'value' => array( 3, 4 ),
'compare' => 'IN',
),
),
'date_query' => array( // date_query support
array(
'year' => 2015,
'month' => 6,
'day' => 1,
),
),
)
);
view raw gistfile1.php hosted with ❤ by GitHub

In the sample above, $swp_query will have a posts property (just like WP_Query) containing all of the search results. There are some other useful properties returned as well! For more information on SWP_Query please see the documentation.

Index improvements, new hooks, and bugfixes, enjoy!

Version 2.6 brings a reduction in overhead for the index which should improve performance both when indexing and searching. Another bug was fixed that in some cases prevented the indexer from completing when the remaining post(s) had no content to index after the content was tokenized. With all of the updates to the settings, a number of new hooks were added in version 2.6 as well. If you’d like to find out more, they are all documented.

I hope you enjoy SearchWP!

Full changelog:

2.6

  • [New] New class: SWP_Query which aims to mirror WP_Query in many ways, but with a SearchWP twist
  • [New] Settings UI has been revamped
  • [New] New filter: searchwp_swp_query_args to filter SWP_Query args at runtime
  • [New] New action: searchwp_settings_init fires when the settings utility has been initialized
  • [New] New action: searchwp_load fires when SearchWP has loaded
  • [New] New action: searchwp_settings_before_header fires before the settings header is output
  • [New] New action: searchwp_settings_nav_tab to implement settings tabs
  • [New] New action: searchwp_settings_after_header fires after the settings header is output
  • [New] New action: searchwp_settings_before\my_view where my_view is the name of the settings view for that tab
  • [New] New action: searchwp_settings_view\my_view where my_view is the name of the settings view for that tab
  • [New] New action: searchwp_settings_after\my_view where my_view is the name of the settings view for that tab
  • [New] New action: searchwp_settings_footer fires after each settings view has been displayed
  • [New] Results weights are included in HTML comment block when debugging is enabled
  • [New] New filter: searchwp_debug_append_weights_to_titles whether weights should be included in HTML comment block debug information
  • [New] New filter: searchwp_show_filter_conflict_notices whether filter conflicts should be shown when debugging is enabled (defaults to false)
  • [Improvement] Better license activation UX
  • [Improvement] Reduction of index overhead by way of pairing to engine settings
  • [Improvement] Refined list of default common (stop) words
  • [Fix] Clear out delta ceiling update check when waking up the indexer
  • [Fix] Fixed an issue that may have caused the indexer to loop when a post has no content to index after tokenizing/processing
  • [Fix] Fixed an issue where the settings screen spinner would not display
  • [Fix] Fixed an issue that prevented loading of some assets if the plugin directory was renamed
  • [Update] Updated translation files

As per the notice from a few months ago, the (old) support forums have been fully decommissioned. While they served a purpose for a while, the data rot was excessive and often provided more confusion than it did help. It also asked a lot of SearchWP customers such that in order to find an answer for your question you needed to follow the forum thread (which was sometimes a rabbit trail) to find the answer. I don’t feel that was doing customers the best service possible, so the forums have been removed and the support system moved to the in-plugin ticket system you see today.

Requests to removed URLs are being recorded and every effort will be made to create Knowledge Base articles for often-requested support threads with comprehensive, up-to-date information.

Thank you!

For the first year of it’s life SearchWP’s support process was based on a customer-only forum powered by bbPress. I really like bbPress as a support platform, and since it fits in with WordPress so well, it wasn’t difficult to ensure that only active SearchWP license holders (powered by Easy Digital Downloads’ Software Licensing) were able to post. However this process will be changing:


Support will no longer be forum based and is moving inside SearchWP itself, within your WordPress install

As of today with the release of SearchWP version 2.4.5, the support forum is officially deprecated in favor of in-plugin support tickets. The forum will be left online through the end of 2014 after which it will be removed completely. The existing Forums, Topics, and Replies will be left in a read-only state until the new year. This will allow existing customers to retrieve any information from existing threads before removal.

Why the change?

In my opinion one of the best byproducts of using a forum for support is that it creates a living documentation system. As I’ve found over the past year this is also for my laziness; it gave me an excuse to neglect updating my documentation. Documentation is supremely important to me and while forum posts can be helpful they will never beat purpose-written documentation.

The other main issue I took with using a forum to power support also correlates to it being public: information rot. SearchWP is over a year old now and the bulk of the forum threads revolve around issues that have long since been closed and/or improved upon. Knowing customers had to sift through this old data was a problem, and I don’t have the bandwidth to curate thousands of posts in perpetuity.

These two reasons have been building over the past few months, so starting with version 2.4.5 support will no longer be offered via public forum. There was always another bit that I had on my mind sine day one: some customers simply aren’t comfortable posting their questions in a publicly visible way. Sure you can obscure your identity by changing your display name and only making private posts, but a few customers over the past year have expressed their concern about that.

How will customers receive support?

The support process is now baked right into SearchWP and available in your WordPress administration area. When viewing the SearchWP settings, you’ll see a new Support button.

2014-09-28 at 8.43 PM

Clicking Support will invoke the support process. As was established in the forum, receiving support begins by searching SearchWP’s existing documentation. Begin by describing your issue using effective keywords:

02-new-ticket

After searching you will be shown links to relevant documentation:

03-search-results

If none of the documentation helps you can easily open a new support ticket:

04-create-ticket

Once you have described the issue you’re having, your support ticket will be created and all correspondence will occur via email.

What powers the new system?

If you’re interested in the technical details behind the new support system, I’m right there with you. I love reading about implementations like these and would be happy to share more details.

The backbone of the new system is email, and it’s made awesome by HelpScout. Email has a super low barrier to entry which is important to me. A few SearchWP customers were confused by the support process when using a forum, and I feel I had a blind eye toward that simply because I was familiar with bbPress and really like using it. Email gets around ‘another system to use’ for many customers.

SearchWP’s site platform is powered by Easy Digital Downloads and licenses are powered by EDD’s Software Licensing. Integrating this data with HelpScout was made easy thanks to Danny van Kooten‘s edd-helpscout. This pulls license information in with each HelpScout ticket; awesome.

This update to support was to lower the barrier to entry for customers needing support. I based this implementation off the idea of wanting to initiate the support process right within the WordPress administration area. There are a few ways to go about implementing such a feature, but I wanted to make sure I avoided as much of the initial back-and-forth that sometimes comes up when providing support. My goals were:

  1. Validate the submission against an active license
  2. Make sure customers are able to help themselves by easily searching existing documentation prior to needing a support ticket
  3. Pass along helpful information that might help me answer the support question

Since the ticket creation process starts in the customer’s WordPress install, I have direct access to the status of the SearchWP license. Primary goal accomplished. The next thing to think about was actually integrating the ticket creation process, which involved forms and data processing. I didn’t want to increase the complexity of SearchWP’s code base for the sake of support tickets, so I decided to facilitate everything via Gravity Forms through an IFRAME. Brady Vercher‘s gravity-forms-iframe made this painless. With that plugin I can simply set up the entire ticket workflow outside the WordPress install, and Gravity Forms can do all of the heavy lifting.

It wasn’t as straightforward as that though. Although I give a very high priority to customer support, I want to do as little of it as possible. That’s why I want to continue iterating and improving upon SearchWP’s documentation. Searching the documentation prefaces support ticket creation as it did when support ran through bbPress, but it’s even more straightforward now. Since ticket creation is happening in an IFRAME I have complete control over it and was able to quickly set up a workflow that first guides customers through searching the documentation, and if no existing information proves to be useful a ticket can be created right there. gravity-forms-iframe works in such a way that I was able to integrate this workflow very easily and make the process quite seamless.

The final benefit to baking in support ensures that the support request is originating from a site with an active license. Further it allows me to pass along pertinent information about common support issues such as problematic hosting environments or improperly built themes that interfere with SearchWP’s functionality. When customers need to create tickets in a support forum the only way for me to get this information was to ask which not only takes time it also requires a close look at their server environment, their theme files, or both. That friction is all but removed using this new system.

Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions at all about the new system by all means feel free to send an email or ping on Twitter. I feel that this change in handling support is going to improve things across the board in many ways. Help Scout is a terrific platform, the way they’ve implemented the process of handling support over email is really impressive to me. Compound that usefulness by being able to fall back to my email client both on my computer and my phone and the extra friction of needing to be logged in to a forum is going to be a welcome change. More importantly, I hope that customers appreciate the change. I think they will.

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