DND 13: Checking the Weather

Back at it

Phew. The last Design Notes Diary was on December 20th. That’s 21 days ago! (😳). Today is the first day I’m back doing proper work again. While I’ve done bits and pieces over the last few weeks it has been only as needed and highly sporadic.

Sadly the first tasks for me to tackle now that I’m back aren’t some deep product design or incorporating feedback from a recent hiking adventure into Pedometer++…its taxes and accounting. Now that 2022 is in the books, I need to close out its books.

This isn’t too bad, but is mostly just me wandering around to lots of different accounts downloading statements and updating things in QuickBooks.

Artwork Requests

For Widgetsmith I’ve been regularly adding artwork packs to the premium theme area. These have been done for me by the extraordinary designer, Matthew Skiles. This process requires a bit of forward planning to keep generating artwork into the future so that every month or so I have a new set ready to go.

I just composed my request for the next set of theme artwork. These are in preparation for Valentine’s Day. So expect lots of hearts and flowers.

Weather Data Sources

A few days ago the Dark Sky app reached the end of its life. The Dark Sky API itself will be discontinued on March 31, 2023.

While I’ve known for a while that this was coming I haven’t done any work to migrating away from my use of Dark Sky yet. Initially I was wondering if Apple would provide an alternative, which they did in WeatherKit. Subsequently I was waiting to see how WeatherKit worked in practice and whether it was the right way to go.

I spent a while today refreshing my understanding of the various options and providers.

I still haven’t committed to my final strategy here. Right now Widgetsmith uses both Open Weather and Dark Sky for data. This has worked pretty well and typically falls into the mode of all users get Open Weather and Premium users get Dark Sky. But I’d like to make this more user selectable going forward. The funny thing with weather data is that there isn’t one best provider. It seems like each provider has better accuracy depending on location and the type of data you want.

I’m really intrigued by Weather Machine, which is a new service starting up by the folks behind Hello Weather. This is an API service which seeks to aggregate lots of different services behind a common endpoint. If it ends up working out it will be very much what I want. They are still finalizing their pricing and systems but I saw it in an ad on 512 Pixels and now it is on my watch list.

I’m going to snooze this task a few more weeks to see how Weather Machine ends up working out.

David Smith