We decided that it's time for our Google Maps Builder to grow up Click To Tweet
Have you heard the phrase “MVP” when it comes to plugin development? It means “Minimal Viable Product”. It’s an excellent concept because it enables developers to stay focused on getting their product out the door with the minimum of features, so that users can get their hands on it and provide feedback. We love the concept of MVP. But every MVP needs to grow up.
A Quick History of Google Maps Builder
Last summer, WordImpress founder and Lead Developer Devin Walker needed to provide his client a way to generate Google Maps on their new WordPress website. At that time he couldn’t find a really solid solution for them, so he built one. Once the site was live, he saw great potential in his little plugin and decided to build it out and release it on the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Little did he know that it would quickly become one of the most popular Google Maps plugins on the Plugin Directory. Currently, Google Maps Builder has over 10,000 active installs and roughly 43,000 downloads. And honestly, since it’s release, it’s been in need of a little love. No more MVP for this guy.
That’s what this announcement today is all about. Below you’ll find details about what’s in store for 2.0, how you can help provide critical feedback, and a contest to win a Pro license for up to 15 domains for life.
Introducing Maps Builder 2.0
We’ve been working out a few kinks, and adding some really great new features to Google Maps. So we’re here to reach out to you, our loyal users, to get your input now before we push it live. With so many active installs, we really felt a responsibility to have this more thoroughly tested before pushing it.
What to Expect when You’re Expecting 2.0
The most exciting feature we wanted to introduce to you is the new Full Screen Maps Builder mode.
Look at that action! A fully immersive maps creation environment. We think you’ll love it.
Here’s the full laundry list of items we’ve built into this release (as of this post):
- General: This update focused on fixing a lot of pre-existing bugs commonly submitted to WordPress.org as well as improving the plugin base for future code enhancements. We also focused a lot on the UI/UX and optimizing the map building process.
- New: Enhanced Full Screen Maps Builder mode.
- New: Upgrade process for maps using Google’s old reference ID in place for the new Place_ID @see: https://github.com/WordImpress/google-maps-builder/issues/18
- New: Switch and Test all Google Places API calls to “Reference ID” or “ID” to Google’s new “Places ID”
- New: Gulp implemented for minifying scripts
- Improvement: Upgraded CMB1 to CMB2
- Improvement: Class improvements and modernized structure organization
- Improvement: Plugin structure significantly changed to better reflect our development preference. The current structure is similar to Give, EDD, and other reputable plugins.
- Improvement: Swapped out Thickbox for Magnific popup @see: https://github.com/WordImpress/google-maps-builder/issues/11
- Improvement: Register scripts and styles properly prior to enqueuing them for other plugins and themes
- Improvement: Marker Creation Improvements – 1) Sometimes markers disappear in the post edit screen. 2) Sometimes markers don’t get output on the front end correctly. 3)Sometimes markers don’t get generated in the post edit screen at all.
- Fix: Investigated + resolved several Google Maps API conflicts – Often when a user has a theme or plugin that registers Google Maps it breaks our plugin or ours breaks theirs. We now check for other Google Map enqueues, and if present the plugin attempts to dequeue them in favor for ours. So far this has fixed issues with Uber Menu 3, Contact Forms 7, as well as many additional plugins.
- Fix: Maps placed in hidden tabs now redraw properly when the tab is selected
- Fix: Found and resolved conflict with ACF plugin Google Maps field
- Fix: Removed non-functional marker upload field (will be added to Pro version in a much enhanced format).
- Fix: Maps icons fixed to no longer show first character incorrectly @see: https://github.com/scottdejonge/Map-Icons/issues/26
A Rebrand and a Mascot Naming Contest
We think Maps Builder has a lot of personality. So we decided that to really showcase this plugin, we wanted to give it a rebrand and particularly a Mascot. You probably already noticed him at the top, but here he is in all his glory:
The only problem with him is he’s nameless. So here’s the story on this little contest:
- Submit the form below (no entries via Twitter or FB or email, only this form).
- We’re looking for something like “Buddy the Maps Builder” but better. Doesn’t have to be a “B” name, and it doesn’t HAVE to be “the Maps Builder” at the end.
- Only ONE entry per person — so make it count!
We’re working on a Pro version of Maps Builder. It will have ALL the most important features that Google Maps has to offer with all the easy-to-use interface that Maps Builder is known for. If we choose your name for the Mascot, you’ll win a LIFETIME Maps Builder Pro license for up to 15 domains. Let me make one thing clear: We don’t offer lifetime licenses. Ever. But we love our mascot and would love your participation in choosing his name.
Here’s the form. Looking forward to all your feedback and all your entries!