Major new version GD Products Center Pro 1.4 is much improved release with many new features (companies and more), performance updates, very important core changes, tons of bugs fixed (several critical bugs), dropping support for WordPress 3.3 and 3.4.
Before you get to updating to 1.4, please read the Update Information at the end of this post. This is very important with every major release, and this one is definitely major one. Ignoring these recommendations cane lead to broken website!
Core and Performance
Previously developed cache layer for the plugin was working fine, but it was hard to expand to support companies as well. Several objects used for this are now replaced with new loader object that is more adaptive to the different data types and more complex collections of data needed for a single page. With new loader object plugin now uses up to 20% less memory than before and it needs up to 30% less SQL queries than before (depending on the page type). With all that, great deal of internal functions, object methods are rearranged, re-factored and optimized.
A lot of work has gone into companies implementation. They can have pages, rewrite rules, logos, images, videos, links and general information. Here is the example of the company page:
Companies have 2 new theme templates for each company. You need to create these files before you can use this. Examples of these files are included as it was the case previously with the product types. There is an option to create them automatically for supported themes.
Many users asked for this, and here is the first version of the customization for rewrite rules for companies and products. There are many options for this, and it works fine.
But, to use it, you need WordPress 3.7 or 3.8. WordPress 3.5 and 3.6 will still be limited to use current default rewrite rules (you will see the rewrite options, but they will mostly not work). Also, rewrite rules are very tricky subject and rules you create must be unique and not conflicted. Many users think that they can set anything to work for rewrite rules, but that is far from true. Documentation for plugin includes more information on this. On the right, you can see the panel for setup of product type rewrite rules.
If you try to set some rules, and that fails, I can’t help you much with that. WordPress rewrite engine is powerful, but it can’t solve conflicted rules. Follow the documentation instructions, there is a limit to what can be customized.
Custom rewrite rules are turned off by default (plugin Settings panel).
Brand and Sellers panels in administration are expanded to include company logos, product types overview column for filtering. Product type panels show brand column, and also allow filtering of products by brand. Some of the product type editors options are a bit rearranged to allow for more options.
There are 15 bugs fixed in this version. Several critical problems are taken care of (database tables and index queries, modules updates and activation). Some admin side visual issues are fixed including image previews and several types of warnings. Warnings regarding some property types, problems with widgets and much more. Check the changelog for full list.
If you made changes to templates and styling directly in plugin (you should NEVER do this, leave plugin alone, customization can be done outside of it) make sue you backup these. Main/Default plugin styling is moved to new directory (improved organization), and some templates are rearranged.
Plugin no longer supports WordPress 3.3 and 3.4. Do not upgrade to new plugin if you still use one of these WP versions, or things will get seriously broken. These WP releases are 2 years old, and it is time to move on.
When you install this update, visit any plugin admin panel. It will open new update panel first to upgrade database, data for products and other things that have changed from previous version. After all that is done, you can proceed using the plugin. Make sure you check main settings (especially new settings for companies and other things), product types settings (new rewrite settings), company types settings (pages and rewrite rules), and save again. Go through all plugin widgets you have, and make sure settings are ok for them, and save settings for each widget.
Default style, images used have changed locations, so URL’s changed. If you use this in cache plugins, please check cache settings, clear cache to make sure all is OK.
Once you go through all the checks, if you have any problem, clear the cached rewrite rules and templates cache (plugin Tools -> Maintenance -> Cleanup. If you have problems with custom rewrite rules, turn them off.