News Archive

20th January 2014
New version released - auto-caching and improved analytics
Improved heatmap function The latest version of our store locator software - v2.6 - has been released online.

The two main enhancements are caching and improved analytics. All store locators now benefit from a smart caching system which means they load even faster than before, which is good news for you and your users as speed is probably the most important factor to get right in all things web. Best of all the new caching function is totally automated and requires no action by you to get up and running!

A nice new feature of the Analytics module is the ability to see where your users searched for - but you didn't have a nearby location to service them. This could be a good indicator of areas where setting up a new store or distributor might be worth considering. On top of all this analytics goodness, the time-based graphs now render faster than before.

23rd December 2013
Merry Christmas from everyone at Blipstar!
Nativity scene Christmas is upon us once again and we hope all Blipstar users enjoy festive fun and a prosperous 2014! Naturally we have lots planned for the new year in terms of features and improvements - so check back soon.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

24th November 2013
@blipstarnews Twitter feed launched!
Blipstar Twitter feed Blipstar is always improving, and we now have a Twitter feed so Twitter users can keep in touch with the latest news and features. It will also be used for service announcements (e.g. planned maintenance).

But it definitely won't feature what we ate for dinner, top ten lists or links to 'hilarious' video clips.

So if Twitter is your thing you can follow us at:

@blipstarnews

You can also direct message us via Twitter if you like if you have a question.
20th November 2013
Version 2.4.3 released
As part of a continous development cycle a new version of Blipstar, 2.4.3, has gone live today.

Featuring a range of minor tweaks and enhancements the new version also offers the option for providing a whitelist of IP addresses for store locators using the IP limitation function. This function limits the number of searches any device can make in 24 hours (to reduce the potential for abuse of your data). For convenience you can now provide IP addresses that bypass the filter.

Tags are a popular way for allow users to refine their store locator search. If you have a large number of tags (too many to display in a drop down menu) it now uses an autocomplete text box, familiar to uses of popular search engines.

We love to hear from our users when they have an idea for a new feature - so if you do, let us know!
27th October 2013
Store locator viewer enhancements
Results pagination Two new functions have been added to the Blipstar feature list - results pagination and search memory.

Results pagination means when a search returns a large number of results you can now split these over two or more 'pages' (a bit like how search engines work). For example if a search returns 50 locations you could display the first 10, and the user is giving the option to display the next 10, and so on. To use the new results pagination, go to Configure and set the Results pagination setting in the Results tab.

A new convenience feature, search memory, means when a user performs a search, if they search again the values they entered previously are used to pre-populate the search form.

Lastly if you have a large file that exceeds the total number of locations that can be geocoded per day, you can now regeocode without having to upload the file again (option available from the main menu).
10th September 2013
Improved Heatmaps for store locator Analytics
Heat map Heatmaps are a useful way for understand the places people have searched for when using your locator, to help identify hotspots (and cold spots!). The heatmap function of the Analytics module has been enhanced to give greater clarity and accuracy when interpreting your geospatial data.

Analytics comes as standard with Blipstar and can turned on by clicking the Analyze link on the home page when logged in.
11th August 2013
New range of fonts available
Different font styles The fonts available to use in your store locator has expanded to include a number of different typefaces and styles, using Google Fonts technology. It's never been easier to get the look and feel of your store locator exactly how you want it. More fonts will be added over time (and advanced users can set any font they like using an external CSS file).

The new fonts are available for both general text and the title heading (settings found in Configure>Basic and Configure>Heading respectively).
2nd August 2013
Store front thumbnails using Streetview
Example thumbnail of store front You can now help your customers visualize your store locations by using a street view thumbnail (like in the example image). Using Google's street view technology you can find a good "view" of the building and save it as a thumbnail with a size you can define. The image is then shown as part of the results.

To set a thumbnail go to Upload/Edit locations, click the Edit button, find the store and display the advanced fields. There's a link for defining the thumbnail at the bottom.

It's a nice way of helping them locate your store if they know what to look for!
21st July 2013
New version of Blipstar now online (v2.4)
The latest version of Blipstar (version 2.4) is now available.

This minor release features a range of new enhancements and cosmetic improvements. It's now possible for users to select more than one tag when filtering using check boxes (rather than the standard drop-down menu). Filtering by tags is now available on the results page as well as the search page. The maximum number of locations visible for the "show all locations" mode has also been increased to 600. You can now allow the user to select a country on the search page (via a user-defined list) and a new Country search mode (which shows every location in a country specified by the user using a drop-down menu).

The Analytics tool has also been upgraded and now provides improved visualizations of customer search data.
15th June 2013
New version released (v2.3)
We're pleased to announce that the latest version of Blipstar (version 2.3) has gone live!

The key improvement you'll find is a new "responsive design" mode called Auto-size. This automatically and dynamically sizes the store locator window to fit its parent container. So you can have a store locator which "stretches" with your site, ideal for handling the huge array of screen sizes in use today. Other enhancements include new mapping tiles with greater visual clarity and a slightly revised interface (courtesy of the latest Google Maps update).

The site itself has been optimized for smaller screen dimensions making it easy to access your Blipstar account on your iPhone or Android, as well as your laptop, PC or Mac!
1st Apr 2013
Faster geocoding
Geocoding in Blipstar has just gone up a gear! Geocoding (the process of turning addresses into map coordinates) is the most time consuming part of setting up a store locator. A new approach in Blipstar has increased the speed of this process by up to 400%! What this means is less time watching the little red progress bar and more time being productive - enjoy.

PS. This is not an April Fool's joke - it really is quicker!
1st Feb 2013
Tutorials on using Blipstar with e-commerce systems
If you use an open source e-commerce platform and want to integrate a store locator this new tutorial is for you. It provides step-by-step instructions on integrating Blipstar with some of the most popular solutions - Open Cart, Magento, osCommerce, Tomato Cart, Zen Cart and Presta Shop. Read the tutorial.
24th Jan 2013
New Blipstar Server version released
Version 2.2 of the host-it-yourself store locator Blipstar Server is now available. Enchancements include IP-throttling for searches and a new range of easy-to-alter options for changing your store finder's look and feel. Find out more.
21st Jan 2013
New Blipstar security feature
Any Blipstar users who are worried that a competitor might use their store locator to piece together all their locations now have the option to limit the number of queries a particular device can make in any 24 period. This is not relevant for most users but if you'd prefer to limit users to genuine customers only then this option adds an extra layer of protection. You can find it on the Configure page (under Advanced).
17th Jan 2013
Blipstar now supports external CSS files
Blipstar allows you to define the look and feel of your store locator, but for those users you want an even greater degree of flexibility help is at hand. You can now point Blipstar to an external CSS file (that you create on your server) which will override the default styles and allow you to perform all kinds of CSS magic with your store locator. The option is available in the Advanced section of the Config page.
11th Jan 2013
Whoops! Retrieving your store locator data
If you ever upload a new spreadsheet of store locations and forget to turn on Append mode, your original data will be overwritten. What can you do? Well help is now at hand because whenever you upload new data blipstar keeps a copy of the previously saved data and you can select the link to download it. So all is not lost!
11th Dec 2012
Using a store locator with SSL/HTTPS
A new option is available for those who want to display their store locator on a secure site (i.e. one using HTTPS rather than HTTP). Although not relevant to most sites it's easy to set up if you do require it. Just log in and go to the Publish page for details.
4th Dec 2012
Importing - XLSX files now accepted
You can now upload data in XLSX format (in addition to XLS and CSV). XLSX is a compressed XML format used by Excel 2007 and Excel 2010.
1st Dec 2012
Second Phase of Blipstar v2 complete
The second phase of a major Blipstar update has been successfully completed.

As well as the new-look site there a host of new features:
  • choose from over 150 preset icons for map markers (or upload your own)
  • display a map showing all your locations
  • store locator loads even faster than before
  • automatic back-up of your location data
  • numerous other enhancements
Enjoy!
Nov 26th 2012
Free Wordpress Store Locator Plugin now available
Integrating your store locator in WordPress used to be a little tricky (requiring some change to the editor) but a new plugin changes all that.

The Wordpress plugin takes seconds to install and simply requires one line of code
[blipstar id="###"]
where ### is your unique Blipstar account id.

The plugin is free and available now - more info.
Nov 23rd 2012
Phase 1 of new version complete
The first phase of Blipstar v2.0 is now complete and online. Phase 1 focused on a complete overhaul of the website design and user-interface. We hope you find it even simpler to use and faster to load too. If you find any bugs or teething problems then please let us know so we can fix them.

Phase 2 is now in progress and is centered on improving the functionality of the store locator code itself. We hope to complete this phase by early December.
Oct 17th 2012
Blipstar Plus - send in your ideas
The next major release of Blipstar Plus is in the pipeline and we want your ideas on how to improve on the current functionality. So if you've got any "must haves" or "nice to haves" now's the time to send them in! Many thanks to people you have already suggested improvements and enhancements, hopefully you'll find in the new and improved version, coming soon.
May 5th 2012
New streamlined process for upgrading and renewing Blipstar Plus accounts
Blipstar Plus is well known for its ease-of-use. And upgrading or renewing your account is easier than ever before.

Previously there was a small delay when the request was processed but now your account is updated instantly. So now you can set up or enhance your store locator quicker than you can say this sentence! Or even this one.
Apr 19th 2012
Blipstar Server v2.1 released
Blipstar Server has had an overhaul and is now even more lightweight and easier to set-up. Weighing in at an astonishingly small 0.2Mb a basic install usually takes less than five minutes and gives you an instant locator solution for your site. Really? Yes, really! Check it out.
Apr 17th 2012
Blipstar Plus v1.09 released
The Blipstar Plus web hosted store locator software has been upgraded to version 1.09. New features include the ability to search by keywords (as well as geographically) or search by state (US only).

The configure screen has had a small overhaul and for convenience, admins can quickly view all their locations on a Google map. Also, when stores cannot be geocoded the Quick Edit function can be used to correct the addresses (rather than having to amend the spreadsheet and re upload it).

The changes have all been made in response to customer feedback, so thank you to those who emailed their 'nice to haves'.
February 6th 2012
New "Quick Add" and "Quick Delete" data function now available in Blipstar Plus
If you want to quickly add a new store to your store locator without amending your master data spreadsheet and re-uploading it, this option is for you.

Simply enter the store name and address (plus optional data fields), click "Add Store", and, well, that's it. This does mean there's a danger of data getting out of sync, but people kept asking for it, so here it is!

The Quick Add option can be found on the main menu when you log in to your account. The Quick Delete option is available via the Upload page.
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