Quick update on progress and what’s coming (Price Comparison Pro update out soon)

Dave Hilditch
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Hi everyone – I’m sorry I haven’t communicated much the past two weeks. I’ve been busy setting up a couple of teams to help me get through the various features people are asking for with each of the popular plugins. This update is to let you know what is happening and when you can expect upgrades.

Price Comparison Pro

Development work on the next upgrade for this has started. Development has been split into 3 phases so we can stay as agile as possible and get features out to you as soon as we can. The three phases are:

Phase 1 – Implement a PhantomJS proxy

Ok – that might sound a little techy. For those of you who use Price Comparison Pro, you might have found that some websites whose prices you are scraping use JavaScript/Ajax to display the prices on the page after the actual page has loaded. In particular, I’ve seen this very commonly with sports tickets and sites like that.

To see if a page you’re scraping is doing this – hit CTRL+U on the page and search through the source for the price you can see on the screen. If the price does not exist in the source, this means the page loaded and THEN the price was loaded separately.

This PhantomJS proxy basically simulates a Chrome browser meaning we will see the source of the page after the JavaScript has run. This will mean you will be able to grab these prices.

ETA: Development has started, deployment estimate is middle of next week.

Phase 2 – Random Proxies

If you are scraping one website a lot, your server may end up banned by their botblockers. Phase 2 will allow you to scrape prices through multiple changing proxies which will avoid this problem. Notably, this will pave the way for a later release to schedule scraping of multiple pages and/or entire sites as opposed to the current user-driven scraping.

Phase 3 – location-driven proxies

Some of you have found that if you have a server based in the US and are targeting UK users that prices get returned in dollars. This is because the site you are scraping detects your location and adjusts its content accordingly. Phase 3 will geo-ip your users and allow you to scrape the target websites through the relevant country to get the relevant content for your users.

Super Speedy Plugins Performance Plugin

Firstly – I’m happy so many of you are happy with the great speed boosts you’re getting from this plugin and I’d like to thank you for your patience with the next upgrade. I know a lot of you are waiting for answers in the Q&A section and I’m starting to work through that backlog now.

The phases for the next few releases have yet to be nailed down, except that the very next upgrade will definitely include:

Phase 1

  • Price widget will calculate min/max prices (there will be an option to choose if you want to do this as it has scalability implications)
  • CSS options for widgets – some styling options will be included so you don’t need to style it yourself
  • An overhaul of the admin screen to make it far easier to use and more pleasing on the eye

Phase 2

Probably will include full ajax updates as well as an option so that the filters can appear like the codecanyon ajax woofilters plugin.

Phase 3

Timeline not definite yet but will probably include an option to let you test out your site on a different host without movin your current site – i.e. it will be copied and migrated to a new host on a development domain name (e.g. dev.yourdomain.com instead of www.yourdomain.com). The Super Speedy Plugins Performance Plugin fixes a lot of scalability issues, but if you have poor hosting there’s a limit to what it can do. This option will let you see the performance boost you would get with a different stack (e.g. the Mercury stack on digital ocean) with zero risk. It’ll effectively be a single button to commission a server, copy your site to it, rename the domain names and then send you an email when done so you can compare the speed.

Other Plugins

I’m going to try and squeeze a minor upgrade to the Faster Datafeedr Product Sets plugin into my schedule inside the next week – plenty of you enjoying great performance boosts from this free plugin but there is a bug reported to do with server time – if your server is not UTC time then the product set updates end up starting later than it reports they will on the screen.

I’m also aware of some third-party plugin issues with the External Images plugin – Smushit and the wooslider – if you notice any others please let me know. I’m going to try and fit the dev work in for this myself, again hopefully inside the next 7 days.

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  1. Phase 1 update on 26/9 – “ETA: Development has started, deployment estimate is middle of next week.”

    One month on…

    • Hi – we ended up adding Phase 2 into this release. Basically – phase 1 was adding PhantomJS service which means you can grab prices from ANYWHERE even if they use Ajax to load the prices (e.g. ticketing sites do this a lot).

      Phase 2 allows you to stick a proxy inbetween which means you can pretend to be from any country – this is important for sites where they serve up different content or different currencies for different countries.

      It’s coming. It’s in testing phase. I’m sorry about the delay but it’ll be worth it!

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