Category Archives: API

Building A Weather App With The WeatherBug API

Over the years, the WeatherBug API offered by Earth Networks has been used in a number of areas. It has found a home with everything from weather widgets to applications like Weather Watcher for the Windows desktop.

Today, I’m going to be talking about iOS development and how you can utilize the WeatherBug API to offer the most hyper-local, accurate weather possible. One of my favorite examples of the WeatherBug API on iOS has to be the iDress app that I wrote about in 2010. The application took WeatherBug’s API data and used it to help folks decide what was the best way to dress for any given day. The graphics, flow and general idea was 100% that of the app’s developer. But the data, comes from WeatherBug’s API.

Do I have your attention? Would you like to create something amazing like iDress? In this article, I will provide a jumping off point from which you can take your working knowledge of iOS development and build from it, a weather application of your own weather-specific app creation.

 Benefits of the WeatherBug API in your next mobile app

As you’ve seen from the link above pointing to the iOS application, iDress, including WeatherBug data translates into hyper-local weather access with a very high degree of accuracy. Because of the importance of the data being accurate and the need for a decent weather data API to access local weather data, using the WeatherBug API makes a lot of sense. So what types of apps might benefit from the addition of local weather data and forecasting? Take a look below.

 

Application ideas that would benefit from using WeatherBug’s API would include:

-Locale based apps

-Photo apps (where location is a factor)

-Social apps

-Travel planning apps

-Apartment hunting apps (bad weather can ruin any move to a new location)

-The list of possibilities are endless!

Getting started with iOS development

If you happen to be a developer who has yet to take a dip into the iOS development waters, I’m here to suggest some great worthwhile resources for you.

The first resource is a great book on building location aware apps. It’s written with the beginner in mind, so a developer new to iOS development should feel right at home as they comb through the pages.

And the last resource I would suggest is a development tool called WeatherKit. This elegant development solution allows you to easily install WeatherKit into your iOS project simply by dragging it in. From there, simply scroll down the Github page for the project and read along with the provided instructions.

Using WeatherKit, you will be able to quickly integrate Conditions, Temperatures  and even “WKObservation”…which is used if you want to provide weather data for multiple locales by accessing WeatherBug weather data.

Getting API access

Ready to get started? Perhaps you’re interested in developing a brand new application that offers weather in a unique way. Let the WeatherBug API handle the data gathering, use WeatherKit to make managing the data easy and most importantly — signup for WeatherBug API access. Signing up for API access will provide you with a WeatherBug API key so you too, can develop the an amazing iOS weather application!

Using WeatherBug API with WinForms

In previous articles I’ve discussed the WeatherBug API, while sharing some great examples of people coming up with creative uses for the WeatherBug API during their own development process. Today, I came across a new example that I think really hits the nail on the head. The video provided below shows you how one can use the WeatherBug API with something called Windows Forms.

So how does this work?

Using Microsoft Visual Studio, the creator of the above video demonstrates how he created a simple tool that would use the WeatherBug API’s alert data to send him an alert when critical weather conditions were taking place. The example application itself is a vanilla alert box that provides users with the following basic information.

Using WeatherBug API with WinForms

Alert for: This space is reserved for the locality where the weather alert has been issued (town, region, etc).

Last updated: Here you’ll find the space where the last API update to this simple application will appear.

# of alerts: And finally, this is the space where you can see the number of alerts available. Pretty self-explanatory.

When the creator of this software clicks on “Get Update,” the API updates the application with the latest weather conditions as the command would suggest. It’s really fairly simple to get one’s mind around once you’ve had a chance to examine the basics.

Using WeatherBug API with WinForms

The next step we see in the video is the developer clicking on File, then changing the ZIP code so he can test a new location. One thing that I found to be really neat is how this developer used Google to find a weather alert already in progress from another locale. From there, he took the affected ZIP code info and then entered it into the WinForms app. It took a few attempts to find the right location, but once he got the proper ZIP code in place, this developer managed to get an alert bubble to appear next to the clock. Outside of the bubble, the two alerts given are displayed within the app, easily read.

What I really enjoyed about this video is how easy it was to implement the API in with the functionality of the WinForms experience. It proves that the WeatherBug API is compatible with just about any kind or desktop or Web app programming a developer happens to be working with.

Getting the WeatherBug API for yourself

If you’d like to take a crack at using the WeatherBug API, the process couldn’t be easier. Just head on over to the WeatherBug API page and sign up for access. Once on the page, you’ll be presented with three choices: Personal, Commercial, and Mobile Device. Choose the option that best suits your needs and start developing your own weather app today!

Zik-Tok Talking News And Weather iPhone App

These days it seems like the WeatherBug API is really picking up interest on the mobile platforms available. In my latest example, we have an application that quite honestly, is unlike anything I have used before. The application is called Zik-Tok, it’s currently available for free on the Apple iPhone and here soon, it looks like it will be making an entrance into the Android Marketplace as well.

What is Zik-Tok?

The idea behind the application is to be able to let it run, speaking the day’s events to you. News, Weather (from WeatherBug), Traffic Reports, Stocks, Twitter and Personal (tasks/reminders). What makes this application interesting is that if you’re someone who does a lot of driving, you can have your iPhone plugged in through your existing speaker system (many cars offer this) which means you will have the content of the day spoken aloud to you, as it cycles through the events of the day.

The application is highly customizable, so you can have it just reading the weather highlights or perhaps just keeping up up to date on the latest Twitter feed happenings. But for drivers, it’s the weather info and the traffic reports that are likely to hit home almost immediately for the end user.

Zik-Tok Talking News And Weather iPhone App
Enlarge photo here

Where can I get Zik-Tok?

You can download this application for free, from the Apple App Store or from this iTunes link. Remember that some aspects of the app need to be customized to your preferences before its ready to be used. And also keep in mind that if one voice tone is difficult to understand, you can select the second option. People have different levels of tone deafness, so this setting up right can play a crucial role in having a good experience with any background noise going on around you.

WeatherBug has an API?

Yes, WeatherBug has a fantastic API packed full of functionality that will meet with the needs of most developers looking to integrate real time weather data into their applications. All you need to do is apply for a key, then start developing! Real-time data, Geo-mapping, this is an API that will keep up with the most demanding development project. Best of all, it’s already done the heavy lift for you. All you need to do is get it included it with your software.

Weather Doodle

I’m really excited about this latest iPhone application to take advantage of WeatherBug’s API. Weather Doodle demonstrates in a very true form that the sky is the limit when it comes to utilizing WeatherBug’s API in any given application, especially for those wanting to harness the best in timely, accurate weather information.

So what does the app actually look like? Well you’re in for a treat. I have both the official video from the Tiny Mammal development company, in addition to my own tour of the app.

This is a demo of the paperscape theme, as there are two themes available that can be used.

This is my tour of the Weather Doodle application, powered by WeatherBug.

In this video, I give you a full tour of what the iPhone application provides you, how it works and a sneak peak at the breath taking visuals of the default included theme.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRCPDAuvzJA

Explaining what makes this weather application different, is best left to the video as you really have to see it to believe it. The visuals are amazing.

The core features provided however, include:

- Current temperature/conditions

- Support for multiple locations. Just slide the screen side to side to jump from one locale to the next.

- Five day forecast, with full-on automated effects and visuals.

- Ability to turn on or off, extended information such as humidity, wind and actual current conditions.

Want to learn more about the WeatherBug API for your own software projects?

Getting involved with the WeatherBug API is very simple, just head over to the WeatherBug API website over at Mashery and get yourself plugged in. From there, you too are in a position to harness the weather for your latest and greatest weather data creations!


iDress For Weather Update To 2.0

In the past, I have shared news about one of my favorite apps for the iPhone called iDress. Utilizing WeatherBug’s own API weather data, the application allows its users to make appropriate clothing choices depending the weather outside. The audience is primarily aimed at those with disabilities that might make choosing clothing selections, challenging without some guidance.

Here’s a list what makes the iDress application unique:

  • It is the only weather app designed for people with disabilities (assistive technology)
  • It was just updated so that photos could be placed in the closet thus making it directly meaningful for each user!
  • I believe that iDress is the ONLY weather app made with kids in mind!

iDress is an application in the spotlight for those with special needs:

Who is iDress best for?

  • Think: child with autism who will ONLY wear that one red jacket

  • Think: grandmother with Alzheimer’s who struggles to remember what her own jacket looks like

  • Think: veteran with a traumatic brain injury who has limited short term memory and needs visual cues/reminders

  • Think: college student who puts rival’s mascot in the “hot” closet

  • Think:Teen-ager who wants that A&F jacket for Christmas and puts it in the “cold” closet as a reminder to the parent.

  • Think: anyone who just wants to have fun with weather

Do you have an idea that you’ve always wanted to see built into an application?

Let’s face it, the concept and mission behind iDress is fantastic. From idea to finished product, it’s clearly a winner with a clearly defined audience. And thanks to the inclusion of WeatherBug’s API data, software like this is able provide maximum weather accuracy to its user base.

Want to create your own applications using WeatherBug’s API data? You should, it’s easy to get signed up and started developing desktop or mobile software of your own with the WeatherBug API.