Showcase IDX updates
Showcase IDX updates
showcaseidx.com

Improvements to Bathroom display

Back in the day, there were just bathrooms. Then, along came half bathrooms. And Jack & Jill Bathrooms. That wasn't enough, so we invented three-quarter bathrooms… and one-quarter bathrooms. That's a lot of bathrooms! And amazingly, they don't quite always have the same definition around the country (or world).

So, to simplify things, we have cleaned up the way we calculate bathrooms in our search app.

In general, people care mostly about how many bathrooms there are in total. So, this is how we now summarize listings on the list view in the app:

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On the listing detail page, we have the space to clarify the nature of all of these bathrooms, so we separate out full and partial baths.

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Beyond that, the variation across MLS's and even among how different agents in the same MLS list bathrooms starts to get complex, and so the best place at this time to understand that information is from the property description and the photos.

As we went through this process, there were some layout implications. You can see that to make everything look nice we slightly re-arranged how we display bedrooms / bathrooms and some other headline data like "Days Online", "New Listing", etc.

We think this is a huge step forward in clearly presenting this complex piece of data in a simple & standard way.

Enjoy!

Showcase IDX: Wordpress Plugin 3.1.7 Released

3.1.7

  • Fixed a bug in the way we interoperate with Jetpack and Yoast plugins to ensure that our custom SEO content & social sharing (Facebook and Twitter) is used for listing pages.

3.1.6

  • Updates to [showcaseidx_search] shortcode -- now if you hide all items other than the "location", the form will auto-submit as soon as a location is selected. Great for making a clean home page search form!
  • Updates to [showcaseidx_nav] shortcode -- now you can control which items are visible! Now it's possible to have a simple "Sign In / Sign Up" link in your top-nav without pulling in all of the Showcase IDX navigation.

Open House Improvements

We've done a deep analysis on how Open House data is processed and shown throughout our system and made it much more robust.

Improvements

  • Open houses now display the Day of Week that they occur on.
  • We now display the time and time zone that an open house occurs in based on the browser's local time zone. This helps visitors understand exactly when the open house is actually occurring regardless of their location relative to the open house.
  • "Upcoming Open House" searches now show open houses through the end of the day, rather than cutting off at the current time on a future day.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug where the Hawaii MLS open house data was not tagged with the proper time zone.
  • Fixed bug where open houses would disappear from an "Upcoming Open Houses" search once they began. Now Open Houses are returned in these searches until they have ended.
  • Fixed a bug where open houses in different time zones were not working properly. This would cause open houses to disappear from our platform a few hours before they should have. This bug did not affect open houses in Eastern Time Zone. However, the further west the open house was located (relative to Eastern Time), the earlier it would disappear; this was most significant for users in Hawaii.

We think this should dramatically clean up all of the outstanding issues with our open house display system. If you are still experiencing any issues with this part of the system, please let us know.

Showcase IDX: Wordpress Plugin 3.1.5 Released

We have just released and fixed an incompatibility bug that was affecting users of v3.1.4 that were running their Wordpress on platforms using Automattic's Advanced Post Cache. This includes anyone running their site on Wordpress.com, whose sites use this caching mechanism even though the plugin doesn't appear in the WP Plugins area; Advanced Post Cache seems just built-in to the platform.

The way this incompatibility presented was that the http://mysite.com/properties page [or whatever you set the Showcase IDX url to] would not show the property search application; instead it would typically just show the home page content.

Showcase IDX Wordpress Plugin v3.1.5 fixes this incompatibility with Advanced Post Cache. Simply update your plugin (which is now typically automatic thanks to recent Wordpress core update) and your site should be back to fully-functional immediately!

Showcase IDX: Wordpress Plugin 3.1.4 Released

We've updated the Showcase IDX Wordpress plugin (v3.1.4) which is now officially tested with Wordpress 5.5+.

v3.1.4 also contains a fix that improves compatibility with the way Wordpress 5.4 / 5.5 now handles URL routing. The Showcase IDX plugin would sometimes not properly render, or would issue HTTP/404 (not found) when using Permalink Custom Structures. This has been fixed!

Improved geocoding across all MLS's

We've recently made some improvements to our geocoding infrastructure to ensure as many listings as possible are properly geocoded.

The MLS database is a noisy place, and has its share of errors relating to listing locations. Typos, bad data, and other things happen.

We have done a full audit of our infrastructure and made a ton of little fixes that will result in great improvements in our search app:

  • Far fewer listings with no map location
  • More listings shown on the map and searchable by map/polygon
  • No more listings that display in the middle of the ocean
  • Better map "positioning" when displaying results on map
  • Listings in "new" parts of town will map correctly in our system soon after their locations are known to Google

As of today, we have over 1.5 million listings searchable and 99.9% of them are geocoded.

Keeping it going

We've also added a great deal of internal infrastructure to monitor our geocoding coverage so that we can ensure that we keep up these high levels of excellence in our listing data.

Showcase IDX Plugin now supports lazy loading

We know how important page speed is to our customers, especially those who are investing their time and energy into creating great UX and SEO performance on their websites. With page speed being factored in more & more to SEO performance, we know how important this is to your marketing & traffic-generation efforts.

About 6 months ago, we released support for lazy-loading WP plugins which allowed customers to use lazy-loading plugins on their WP sites. However, the actual thumbnail listing images on our search results page were not lazy loaded.

A New Standard

There is now a widely-supported internet standard for lazy-loading images natively in the browser. It works in all modern Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Opera browsers; Safari support is coming soon. Support for native lazy-loading is 78% of desktop users and 68% of mobile, and rising every day. See all the details here.

We are now using loading="lazy" for all search results images. Since our default search results page loads 100 listings, lazy-loading has a huge impact, reducing the number of requests by 80-90 and the page weight by 2-4 MB.

Please note that are are still including the skip-lazy attributes on our images so that WP lazy-load plugins do not affect our IDX content.

Before

Images represent 103 of the images requested on the page load, with images weighing in at 2.7MB out of 4MB total page weight.

LazyLoading_Before.png

After

Now, only 31 images are loaded (a reduction of 72 requests!) and there and images are now just 615kB of 2.1MB total page weight (a reduction of 1.9MB transferred).

LazyLoading_After.png

There is nothing you need to do to take advantage of the new lazy loading; it has been automatically enabled on all sites!

Wordpress Plugin Update: New Version available to improve compatibility with other plugins

We have a new version (3.1) of the Showcase IDX Wordpress plugin available today as a Beta version.

The major theme of this update is better plugin compatibility. We have isolated a core cause of conflicts between our code and other plugins and found a way to fix it.

What this means in practice is that you should experience far fewer issues with part of the Showcase IDX experience not working properly. This is one of those fixes that is a bit anti-climactic, in that you'll simply have fewer technical issues, but won't really even notice when it's doing its thing :)

If you have had compatibility issues with our plugin in the past, we encourage you to try this version today. You are also encouraged to try using plugins you might have disabled in the past due to advice from our support team.

Main Plugin Incompatibilities Addressed

The main types of plugins that cause issues with Showcase IDX are ones that edit the page content or try to optimize loading of scripts and css:

  • Optimizer plugins
  • Caching plugins
  • Image Lazy-Loading plugins

Installing the beta version

  1. On the Showcase IDX plugin page within your WordPress Admin (left sidebar WP dashboard navigation), deactivate the plugin.

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  1. Deactivate Showcase IDX on the plugins page.

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  1. Delete the old version of Showcase IDX.

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  1. Click ADD NEW at the top of the plugins page and on the next page, there will be an Upload Plugin option in the same area.

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  1. Download the plugin here and then upload the plugin to Wordpress via the Upload Plugin option. Once uploaded, click Install Now.

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  1. Click Activate Plugin. You will be prompted to log in to your Showcase IDX account (if you aren't already) and then choose the website available for activation.

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  1. Configure the default search URL (match it to what you had it set to previously)

  2. Clear all your existing caches from caching plugins, optimization plugins, server caches, browser caches… all the caches.

  3. Test away! ​​

Technical Details

Previous versions of the plugin would include the HTML and Javascript needed to run Showcase IDX directly in the web page where the shortcode was placed. This presented compatibility problems since other plugins would see this content as "page content" and run their normal plugin magic on it. This is where the problem happened, as these plugins were editing our Javascript code!

We now process HTML and Javascript for shortcodes via separate paths in Wordpress. Other plugins no longer see our Javascript in the page content, and thus they are no longer editing and breaking our code.

Sort by "Map Center" improved

We have updated the sort by "Map Center" feature so that it always favors listings closest to the center of the map. Previously, one of the "sort directions" could favor listings far from the map center, and we have determined that choice isn't useful in practice.

The outcome is that you should no longer inexplicable see no markers on the map for the listings that are displayed in the results area.

Updated our new sitemaps for better compatibility

We have improved the way we generate the new sitemaps for better compatibility (one <loc> per <sitemap> and one <url> per <urlset>).

We have also added <lastmod> to <sitemap>.