With rc8 just released i hope this will be the last of it. I cannot find any more bugs or quirks. I hope you discover the same. So I hope I can finally release AdRotate 3.7 soon.
I am quite excited and pleased with how this whole development cycle went. All be it a bit longer than expected. I really think the feedback form in the betas helps a lot and gives people an easy effortless way to send in their comments and ideas. And many did! dozens of useful emails with even more useful tips, bugs and suggestions. Awesome!
So what will 3.7 bring, in a nutshell.
Aside from over 21 bug fixes there are also a number of changes and tweaks to improve current things. But more importantly there are a number of new features.
The current wrapper feature will remain, as requested by many people, the new wrapper will work together with the current to provide an easier and better way to creating blocks. Previously blocks simply lined up ads and inserted a LineBreak to create multiple rows in your grid. AdRotate now uses some sophisticated calculations to create and actual grid using valid CSS and HTML. This grid is made dynamically and resizes itself based on the ads available. This means that if you tell the block to show 10 adverts and only 6 are available, those 4 extra spaces are simply not shown. Not wasting your pixels in your ad location with silly empty space. It is also now possible to add more advanced borders, spacing and margin to the blocks using valid CSS without actually knowing or writing CSS. So novice users could benefit greatly of this.
Note that due to the new wrapper you will need to reconfigure a few things for each block you have, otherwise the grid is not properly created and the block will show in a funny way!
This allows you add adverts to pages and posts without editing your theme or even using shortcodes. For now this feature is only available for Groups. And if successful might be expanded to blocks. Depending on feedback.
Basically what this does is offer a simple setting where you decide to add advertisements to posts in categories or pages, as many as you want. You can add adverts to the top or bottom or both locations using a simple dropdown menu and selection box.
AdRotate 3.7 will allow exporting of statistics to a CSV file. In the early stages of development for 3.7 I’d been tasked to create this for someone and I think I’ve created an easy to use set of options. Every advert, group or block can have its statistics exported. You can choose a month or a whole year to export and have the file emailed to you (or a select group) or download it. This feature will be built on and expanded in a future release to improve overall statistics displaying.
Timeframes for adverts:
Have this ad that you want to show only on Mondays and only allow 10,000 impressions on that day? And this other ad that only shows during lunchtime (your time) and disables after 12 clicks? Timeframes can do that. Replacing the normal start and end date system and allowing fine-grained control of when what shows and for how long. Every advert can have unlimited timeframes.
Speed and performance:
A number of improvements have been made to make AdRotate faster and less of a burden for your servers resources. This is especially important on heavy traffic sites and sites that have AdRotate working for a longer period (bigger databases). Notable changes are that if your database uses innoDB but AdRotate does not. AdRotate will convert itself to innoDB. The bigger tables now use indexes which will speed up searching for records on some servers. Stats tracking is now a bit more picky on what to save and cleans up better after itself. This means that less data is saved and more is removed when it’s no longer needed. This is all done automatically and in the background. And lastly. Several features that ran cleanup tasks and other database intensive things now run on a schedule instead of every page load. This will greatly increase loading time of pages and overall site performance for some users. The database is cleaned up every 3 hours instead of every page load for instance. On heavy traffic sites this will have some positive effect.
So what’s to prepare for?
After you’ll upgrade to AdRotate 3.7 you’ll be prompted with the normal stuff. But when you upgrade and you use blocks or groups. Reserve some time, 1-2 hours, to review your current configuration and make some changes were required. Do *NOT* expect everything to work right out the box if you’re upgrading.
1. If you use blocks. You’ll need to reconfigure them, all of them. Take note of the size of the ads in those blocks and at least specify the size for each block. If ads in the block have different sizes simply use the largest size.
2. The blocks are now calculated by rows vs columns (similar to a spreadsheet program) instead of X ads in X many rows.
3. If you have pages and categories selected to show certain ads using hacks in your theme or by using shortcodes. You might want to go for the post injection method. This will allow you greater flexibility in some situations.
4. Current start and end times will be migrated into timeframes but you might wanna review them and start using a more advanced sales schedule for your ads selling periods of the day or week to show ads giving your advertisers a better audience for their adverts.