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Drop #231 (2023-03-30): (Should We Talk About The Weather?)
briefsky; Weather Spark; Innovative Wx Views
Where I abide, Spring is finally upon us. While we still have a few plowed snow mounds decorating parking lot corners and light posts, it is most certainly an advent of allergy season.
I've run my own personal weather station since I was a wee lad, and consider myself a (very) amateur meteorologist. I am always on the lookout for new gear and new ways to display weather data; plus, I know I've previously shared that Carrot Weather is my daily driver (and their Weather Snark Bot just got leveled up with ChatGPT, so it's been even more fun to use it), but you also know I'm a tech gadfly.
So, today we look at one beautiful and customizable weather web app, another site with some very clever visualizations giving you a new perspective on weather patterns for various cities and regions, and a catchall section with three innovative ways to view the weather, plus a web-i-fied version of the best weather CLI tool.
Aside: If you use a Davis Instruments station or Weatherflow Tempest station, you may want to poke through my GH repo as I've got some useful tidbits in there for those devices. I also have some apps for Apple's terrible replacement for DarkSky.
Since I do run my own kit, I've been looking for various ways to display my data. I've made CLI and iOS apps to do that (ref: the Drop's info) but I've not made any web displays, and I kind of really want to.
briefsky showcases what you can do with Svelte (an innovative Web Components framework we've Dropped before), Vite (a build tool and development server for modern web projects), and Tailwind (a drop-dead amazing CSS framework and more) when you really know how to wield those tools.
You can hit the app directly and bookmark any settings you change to re-use them. It saves no state on the server (a rarity in these dark times). Better still, you can fork the repo and learn tons about solid modern web development practices.
Since the "app" retains all configuration in said URL parameters, you can even bookmark multiple locations or weather providers:
WeatherFlow Tempest (I tested this one w/my Tempest API stuff, and it works great!)
It's very straightforward to add your own as well.
This one is a keeper.
Weather Spark offers detailed reports of the climate and average, year-round weather for nearly 150K locations across the globe, including:
Average Temperature — including an Average Hourly Temperature Heatmap
Sun (daylight amount per-day and sunrise/sunset)
Solar elevation and azimuth (a compact representation of the angle of the sun above the horizon and its compass bearing for every hour of every day in the reporting period)
and, enough more that I'm not going to type any more bullets 🙃.
It has charts galore, including this general climate one that shows you how horrible it is in NH in the summer (they don’t have closer data to me).
They fully explain their methodology and have m@d c00l design skills, whic shows because the site is also gorgeous.
This one is also a keeper.
Innovative Wx Views
Humans have been visualizing the weather for ages. Even the sites I've presented above use fairly traditional ways of showcasing various measurements (though Weather Spark does have some spiffy and somewhat different views).
The design team where I work has been conducting discovery and brainstorming sessions, and that's been a wonderful experience. I’ve been learning to think outside my very rectangular box, and keep trying to figure out more ways to look at my own cyber data in unconventional ways, and I've been seeking out the same for weather displays.
Here are some I’ve found.
Weather Gradient is a simple site that makes an animated, full-screen weather gradient for you based on the conditions in your areas. It's really neat, and I'm working on figuring out the choices they made in their algorithm (the JS is minified, but it is small to begin with and is pretty readable).
Typo Weather combines two of my passions: typography and meteorology into one with a crazy cool way to view weather conditions (ref: section header image).
Weather Patterns is not as polished as some other sides, but it does a fine job showing temperature radials for selected regions, backed by 30 years of weather data.
Finally, the OG best CLI weather client is also on the interwebs.
Can't wait to see what other innovative ways to display what's happening in the skies above us.
While it may not be showing you the weather outside, Rainy Scope is a little too convincing of a simulation for my brain.
And, I just can’t help it. Due to the Drop’s tagline I gotta close with some R.E.M. ☮