StatComm 1.6.70 is out bringing new features

Statcomm is out again and it will give you new features set to test it out. Many things are in the making so if you find any problem, please tell us about it, through the contact form, or the forums or the WordPress Repository. (Currently the forum wasn’t moved yet, and still remains in forum.wordpressready.com)

So, what is this current release bringing to you?

Statcomm is out again and it will give you new features set to test it out. Many things are in the making so if you find any problem, please tell us about it, through the contact form, or the forums or the WordPress Repository. (Currently the forum wasn’t moved yet, and still remains in forum.wordpressready.com)

So, what is this current release bringing to you?

Sprite Optimization

Since Statcomm uses a lot of images (an estimation suggest we are using around 750 different icons), the traffic between plugin host (your server) and the browser (your navigation software) could become relevant. A test showed that viewing the main window ,required about 40-50 server requests. It is not much, because the images are small (1k each one) but we started asking ourselves if we could improve it. We saw the Flag Sprite site and since we didn’t find anything similar applied to browser icons nor operative system icons, we decided to take advantage from ImageMagick wonderful capabilities and make our own version of sprites. By the way, we tested a lot of sprites generators, but many of them got limitations that discorage us to keep going (in our test the site CSS Sprites did the best work, although it fell short in some additional requirements)  That worked pretty well actually, and Statcomm 1.6.70 includes a ‘sprited’ version of flags, browser and system operative icons as well.

Does sprites improve plugin response? Indeed. A lot. The sprites does a heavy use of browser cache, and consequent page refresh replaced server request by 304 (not modified) meaning your browser caches the images and reuse it several times without going to the server for additional icons. In a regular test the request went from 40 requests to 26 requests and basically 88% (23 of remaining 26 request)are 304 requests(not modified). That was a huge performance improvement.

Also, we don’t need the icons any longer, so we replaced about 800 icons with only three mid-size images. Not bad.

Is there any disvantage of using sprites? Well,  we don’t know(yet) how to zoom an sprite image using css. If you know how to do this, please email us with the answer, and we will add you with the plugin contributors. For the moment, we have to test some options , so we will try it out.

Instant Spy Feature

If you regularly want to find out more from particular visitors, you will agree that going to another page for seeing additional user information isn’t nice at all. To overcome that limitation, we developed the Instant Spy tool. This cool feature allows you to find out more about users without changing to the Spy page. Just hover the mouse over the user IP and Statcomm will analyze the user , giving a detailed  information, including previous pages visits for that user. For tablet users, click over the user IP instead hovering. (Video demo here)

To make this feature we took advantage of qTip2 javascript toolTip. We considered other alternatives, including the new WP Pointer Tooltip, but qTip2 won hands down with its awesome documentation, examples and forum, not to mention this feature should be work with previous WordPress versions.

While developing, we made some necessary measures to make this feature work. The Instant Spy feature will only work only if you download and activate the Maxmind database, since most of information will come from this source. If you have Maxmind deactivated, the Spy feature will tell you that (and it won’t work). Also, we dropped the hostip.info API switching to the Maxmind database. In our test we found that Maxmind consistenly gives more accurate information than hostip.info and also much faster.

Some options for both spy tools (Instant spy and Spy Page) are available from the Options panel, so go ahead and give it a try of new Statcom 1.6.70

Thanks for your support & enjoy the day!

Sprite Optimization

Since Statcomm uses a lot of images (an estimation suggest we are using around 750 different icons), the traffic between plugin host (your server) and the browser (your navigation software) could become relevant. A test showed that viewing the main window ,required about 40-50 server requests. It is not much, because the images are small (1k each one) but we started asking ourselves if we could improve it. We saw the Flag Sprite site and since we didn’t find anything similar applied to browser icons nor operative system icons, we decided to take advantage from ImageMagick wonderful capabilities and make our own version of sprites. By the way, we tested a lot of sprites generators, but many of them got limitations that discourage us to keep going (in our test the site CSS Sprites did the best work, although it fell short in some extra requirements)  That worked pretty well actually, and Statcomm 1.6.70 includes a ‘sprited’ version of flags, browser and system operative icons as well.

Does sprites improve plugin response? Indeed. A lot. The sprite does a heavy use browser cache, and consequent page refresh replaced server request by 304 (not modified) meaning your browser caches the images and reuse it several times without going to the server for more icons. In a regular test the request went from 40 requests to 26 requests and basically 88% (23 of remaining 26 request)are 304 requests(not modified). That was a huge performance improvement.

Also, we don’t need the icons any longer, so we replaced about 800 icons with only three mid-size images. Not bad.

Is there any disadvantage of using sprites? Well,  we don’t know(yet) how to zoom a sprite image using css. If you know how to do this, please email us with the answer, and we will add you with the plugin contributors. For the moment, we have to test some options , so we will try it out.

Instant Spy Feature

If you regularly want to find out more from particular visitors, you will agree that going to another page for seeing more user information isn’t nice at all. To overcome that limitation, we developed the Instant Spy tool. This cool feature allows you to find out more about users without changing to the Spy page. Just hover the mouse over the user IP and Statcomm will analyze the user , giving a detailed  information, including previous pages visits for that user. For tablet users, click over the user IP instead hovering.

To make this feature we took advantage of qTip2 javascript toolTip. We considered other alternatives, including the new WP Pointer Tooltip, but qTip2 won hands down with its awesome documentation, examples and forum, not to mention this feature should work with earlier WordPress versions.

While developing, we made some necessary measures to make this feature work. The Instant Spy feature will only work only if you download and activate the Maxmind database, since most of information will come from this source. If you have Maxmind deactivated, the Spy feature will tell you that (and it won’t work). Also, we dropped the hostip.info API switching to the Maxmind database. In our test we found that Maxmind consistently gives more accurate information than hostip.info and also much faster.

Some options for both spy tools (Instant spy and Spy Page) are available from the Options panel, so go ahead and give it a try of new Statcom 1.6.70

Thanks for your support & enjoy the day!

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