Opening Hours Stack

Opening Hours Stack | Doobox | £14.99

Is your business actually open when a visitor from the other side of the world visits your website? Good question. And one that Gary Simpson has answered. Doobox’s Opening Hours Stack “knows where both you and your visitor are in the world, and offsets their current time to your location time, accounting for DST (Daylight Saving Time), and displays what you’d like as the appropriate content, based on whether or not your business is actually open at that time.

Gary has created this stack with the intention of letting site viewers know your company’s hours of operation based on the viewers time zone. You don’t want “Open for business” displayed in Sweden when you’re actually “Closed for business” in New York. If you’re operating a SOHO business, and using your home phone or cellular phone as contact information, you don’t want calls at 2am waking the family. This stack will reduce those issues as compared to just posting your hours of operation on your website as text with no context of actual Time Zone (some people can’t figure out how to calculate local time from store time based on GMT) and this stack takes that out of the visitors hands and makes it crystal clear!

The Opening Hours Stack has the capability of displaying a company’s open/close status on a per-day basis or, for those companies that have multiple open/close times per day, up to 2 can be defined (i.e. Saturday open from 9am to noon and 2pm to 6pm). If a company that you are developing for has more than one location (i.e. Washington DC and San Diego CA), you can use one instance for Washington DC Hours and another instance for San Diego CA hours.

Usage:

First, add the Opening Hours Stack to a Stacks Page type in your project, then define the location of the company (i.e.: Toronto Ontario Canada or Postal/Zip Code) which is typed in the stack setting “Your Location”. Simply verify it with Google by checking the “Test Location” option and preview the page in RapidWeaver. If verification is successful a message displays saying as much, and once you receive that success message in the preview (takes a few seconds), you must uncheck the option right away or you will be viewing that success message on your live site all day long!

If verifying fails because your Time Zone cannot be determined/detected by Google, a failure message is displayed, at which point you simply enter a major city close to your location and try again. Daylight Savings Time is adjusted for automatically, no tinkering required for seasonal changes (if you have them).

All 7 days of the week are customizable for Open and Close times, with the option of configuring a second set of hours for that location. The displayed results for the Open and Close area are a Stacks drop zone, so you can drop anything from text, paragraph, image or even a combination of other stacks into the zone. You can even put the Opening Hours Stack inside another stack such as a model page. This provides compete customizability on what is displayed when the company at the specified location is open or closed globally.

A very nice feature Doobox has built in is a Compact and Tidy stack selection which reduces the stacks viewable footprint on a stacks page in Edit mode to a more manageable level, although you can easily compress it down even farther by using the Hide stack feature. 

The Opening Hours Stack weighs in at about 45kb bandwidth usage when using multiple instances on a page, a little less when only one instance is added to a page and this is because the same code is used for the different instances (except for per stack settings that you define in each stack). Doobox has included the ability to add as many instances as you have locations for, all using the same amount of bandwidth regardless of number of instances on the page/site to show different location hours per geographical location. Very cool that the same code is used repeatedly for additional instances without affecting page load time!

Open and Close defined times are based on the 24 hour clock scheme, separated by a period instead of a colon for hours and minute designation (See cheatsheet below). The stack has pre-filled times already applied to each day, so use them as examples when setting up your open/close times. 0.00 means that the store is closed that day when entered in both the opening and closing time fields of that day.

Click here for 12 hour to 24 hour clock conversion cheatsheet.

Requirements:

Realmac Software – RapidWeaver® 6.x+
YourHead Software – Stacks 3.x+
Stacks Page type

Conclusion:

I absolutely love the Opening Hours Stack by Doobox, especially as there is not a huge bandwidth concern considering what the stack does. Any small business to large corporate entity that you build a site for can definitely benefit from the use of this stack. I think this stack definitely falls in line with the developmental philosophy of Doobox of feature rich stacks with high functionality, code reuse, minimal load time footprint and beautiful retina stack icons, I highly doubt you would be disappointed in its functionality. No, it won’t be for everyone, but it may well be exactly what your client needs.

Because of the flexibility of the Opening Hours Stack drop zone in the Open and Close section of the stack, there is little room for improvement with this stack as I see it. It could be even more powerful if it displayed the current viewers time zone or added “We will be open in X hours from your location” (with customizable colour) that could be displayed above the current content from the stack drop zone… but that’s about the only feature request I would add.

I’ve tried this stack on several themes by different developers (previewed locally through RapidWeaver and MAMP) and have had no issues as long as the Theme is a more current one (made specifically for RapidWeaver 6 and Stacks 3, not RapidWeaver 5 and Stacks < 3).

As it’s quite a niche product, whether you buy it or not will likely depend on the client’s or your specific requirements, but I can tell you that I have bought it and will use it on my sites that I develop as required.

Disclosure: I personally purchased the Opening Hours stack. I have no affiliation with Doobox Software at the time of this review other than being a purchaser and user of Doobox’s products.

Angus MacPheep

Angus MacPheep is the man behind the mask, the ghost in the machine. Don’t be fooled by his suave good looks and reckless disregard for convention — he’s the real driving-force behind RapidWeaver Central, a madly intuitive aesthete who makes inspirational leaps of faith and conjures pixel-perfect design magic from the uninspiring ether. He’s also a real hit with the ladies.

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