Stable Booking Engine

Suggestions and ideas to make Beds24.com better
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posadajavier
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:46 pm

First let me rant for a bit, I invested a lot of time to get more functionality on top of this basic booking engine and I hate that every month or so I discover that the developers at beds24 are making modifications that break my previous code. I like them improving the booking engine, but I hate receiving notifications that the booking engine is again broken, especially with summer season around the corner.

Wouldn't it be great if there was an option to choose a booking engine version that only receives security fixes but stays stable, including all functionality and assets(.jss,.css,...)?

Here are some of the things I did for last year's season,
  • * Add css styling.
    - I added a responsive solution of my own for mobiles and tablets
    - Integration with the main page
    * Added js to fix broken translations
    * Added google analytics scripts with parcial Enhanced Ecommerce support
    * Added js to create responsive iframe - The only thing that hasn't broken so far
    * Custom confirmation page and email
    * And some things more
Problems I had,
  • * Css
    - It was broken this early this year even though support said I could roll back to the previous version. Where the hell did booking3.css come from then?
    - Beds24's non-responsive view had definitely changed. It completely broke my booking engine.
    * Last year I helped to fix the Spanish translation of the booking engine. Some of the proposed changes were never applied, for which I created my own fixes
    - But surprisingly some of the translations that were OK have changed to worse.
    * Template variables recently broke. I don't know why the decimal separator changed from a point to a comma breaking my JS code.
    * Some other small nuisances
I know, in retrospect I should have developed my own wordpress plugin for the booking engine based on beds24 api and not in the iframe. I didn't know it was going to be so problematic.

I have a script that checks every 6 hours for changes in the pages and assets and when that happens it sends me a notification. However it doesn't detect everything, like it was the case with template variables and even if it does it can take a day or a few days to create a workaround. Emulating a full browser user experience and testing each and every possible case is beyond my capabilities.

Finally a non related topic. I was browsing the wiki and in my experience the instructions about using iFrame Resizer can lead to problems. If the clients have antivirus addons installed in their browsers, a warning about a cross-site scripting attack will appear. They are going to put the credit cards there so they'll freak out. Solving it was hard, you have to create a proxy in a virtual directory of your own main domain, for example if you choose mydomain.com/booking/ as the virtual directory, mydomain.com/booking/booking2.php?params should proxy the page beds24.com/booking2.php?params

Doing it right isn't easy, it requires configuration on your webserver. Using a subdomain(i.e. booking.mydomain.com) doesn't get rid of the warning.
markkinchin
Site Admin
Posts: 911
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:43 pm

Hi

First of all, thank you for taking the time to provide such thorough feedback about your experience.
The customizations you have performed are exactly what we encourage.

In the previous 6 months we released a responsive version of the booking page and there have been an unusually high number of changes to accommodate this, especially behind the scenes.
Our intention was always to leave the old booking page (we call it the adaptive booking page) as unchanged as far as we possibly could but obviously some things leaked through and have affected you.
We are only expecting to make bug fix and security updates to the booking pages going forward from here.

The inclusion of booking3.css on the adaptive page was with hindsight a mistake, it is only really required on the following pages where the guest starts to enter their booking information.

Our translations are community sourced and if they have been poorly translated please let us know so we can fix them. There is also a setting to exchange fixed translations with your own text (SETTINGS->BOOKING PAGE->DEVELOPERS "Custom Text"), I would recommend this over javascript whenever possible.

For most numeric currency template variables there are now two versions. One is translatable and the other not. The translatable version will use the current display language locale settings for decimal point and thousands separator. The non translatable version will always use a decimal point and no thousands separator and is suitable for scripts.

Thanks for the heads up about the iframe resizer script, we will update the instruction with further information concerning this issue.
oreste.rivetti
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:21 pm

markkinchin wrote: Our translations are community sourced and if they have been poorly translated please let us know so we can fix them. There is also a setting to exchange fixed translations with your own text (SETTINGS->BOOKING PAGE->DEVELOPERS "Custom Text"), I would recommend this over javascript whenever possible.
That's what I've used and it's served me well, so far. The only minor issues that I found:
1. The "Book" button label can't be changed, because changing "Book" in the first page affects "Book" at the top of the second page.
2. [Potential issue] If you change the English base labels then we have to check for broken translations.

#2. is quite common. The way around it is to establish a source label base that isn't language-specific. For instance, the Book button label would be "100", which translates into "Book" for the English language. And so on. That would fix issue #1 as well. If you do such change, then providing an online translation table would be a very welcome addition.

You upside for all such work:
1. Establish beds24 as a translator friendly/friendlier engine
2. Better translations from the community
3. Fewer complains.

Going back to the OP, can you please comment on his first question, if a stable branch engine can be provided side by side with the development branch engine? That sounds entirely sound to me - assuming enough development/testing resources are available.
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