We are thrilled to launch version 3 of our Vehicle Importer WordPress plugin. This plugin imports car, boat and power-sport vehicles into WordPress websites running Inventory Presser, an inventory management plugin for dealerships.
While some customers in our private beta prefer to enter and manage inventory directly from the WordPress dashboard, most users already have an inventory management system in place. Part of making Inventory Presser the best dealership website solution is importing inventory from a variety of sources totally, effortlessly, and as fast as possible. Today, the best tool for that job is Friday Systems Vehicle Importer.
A brief history
Our importer started life as a fork of the WordPress Importer, one of the tools that makes moving a WordPress website easy. Our first iteration was running the WordPress Importer via wp-cron a few times a day and making it look in the uploads folder for the WXR file to import. As the number of customers in our private beta grew in 2016, we took a top-down approach to reinventing the code.
Today, the plugin is a lean vehicle and photo importing machine that checks for changes every few minutes. Our website customers have always been spoiled by the speed at which new vehicles and photos have reached their websites. Our Lot Wizard deal processing software has always pushed updates to websites in 15 minutes or less, and our dealers have never had reason to expect anything less.
WordPress is ubiquitous, so the challenge of writing good plugins is that they perform in a wide variety of hosting environments and server configurations. The hosting provider we chose, WP Engine, has a non-negotiable 60 second script timeout. This is not uncommon. After one minute, any PHP script that is still running is terminated. Inventories containing 300 or 500 vehicles have to be updated as quickly as those with an order of magnitude less.
A single vehicle might have 20 photos that take up 5 megabytes of disk space. Fetching those files from another server and creating all the thumbnail sizes WordPress wants could take most of a minute, so we pursue every opportunity to optimize our import. Version 3 is working well today for customers with more than 500 vehicles and more than 6500 photos, but we are looking forward to the next challenge.
Here is a screenshot of the set-it-and-forget-it (hat tip Ron Popeil) user interface:
Photo by kliemphoto