Over the years, a dozen or more clients have all created some variant on the “Our Location” widget in their sidebar. The idea, which they always come up with independent of one another, is to create a sidebar banner using the “Arbitrary text or HTML” widget and include information like their address, contact info, and a map.
I’m frequently asked to fix the styling on these things, or add Google Structured Data to them, which often means re-writing them with clear bug-free code. This weekend, I decided I’d had it with editing the same code every time so I went to work on a plugin that would add a “Locate Us” widget to any site in 30 seconds.
Please be advised that at this point, the plugin only works with United States addresses. Adding the array and Ajax data to support international locations + postal codes was more than I could do over a single weekend.
What the plugin does
1. It allows you to add your business location as a widget including optional fields for an email address, a phone number, and the ability to display a small map.
2. It allows you to specify what type of organization or group you are and then adds the appropriate XML for Google’s spider.
3. It geocodes a physical address into a longitude/latitude, which it then feeds that to the Google maps API and outputs a marked map in real time.
4. It has a few key adjustments like zoom level and map size on board along with targetable CSS classes.
What the plugin does not yet do
1. As I said, I didn’t have time to support international addresses. It’s not a minor undertaking.
2. The plugin contains no default styling or style controls so it’ll just run off of your default sidebar style, however, you can style it yourself.
3. I will add the ability to customize the word “Location” or hide it entirely in version 1.0.2 but it’s almost 1am on a Monday morning so… not right now.
4. Likewise, I will fix the map size field so that you cannot add non-numeric strings that risk breaking the CSS. I will also make it clear that the measurement is in pixels. Again… Monday morning… not happening yet.
It’s not much to look at just yet but I could use a few more sets of eyes on the thing. I’m open to feature requests as well, though I won’t promise a timeline for implementation.
Thanks for your time!
Ian Armstrong / Imperative Ideas