New Plugin – Station Diary

Logging the weather conditions and analyzing past weather has always been something I wanted to do – which in fact was why I designed my template in the first place. It is great to see all the stats, graphs, especially for someone like me who loves statistics. However… there are still things that computers just cannot do yet and information that simply cannot be deduced purely from the measured data.
I therefore kept a small weather diary, where I wrote down my notes for that day. But I had a problem, it had all the notes, but did not have the numbers, so I had to copy them from my template outputs and it was time-consuming and didn’t look good anyway.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought about this and so I thought – how about I tried to connect the “two worlds” of computer analysis and human input and combine them to form one final solution. I searched the web and I didn’t find anything like this so the only way was to try to create something myself.
I have been working on this for quite some time, trying to include all the stuff I wanted to and since I decided to include this also as a plugin, I had to make sure it is easy to use and intuitive and compatible with all the other Meteotemplate features.
I hope you will like it too, but please make sure you read carefully the instructions and info below so that you know how it works, what it can do and how to use it.

This new plugin is basically trying to mimic a physical station diary. At the beginning you will see your library – a list of available “diaries” for your station – one year = one diary. These diaries come in two versions – normal and “pocket edition”. The pocket edition is simply a stripped down version of the standard edition. It is smaller, does not contain all the data like the standard version and so also loads faster. I will now describe the features of the standard version, so some of them are not in the pocket one.

Once you first open the diary, you will see a book that has days for that particular year, for which there are data in the database. For each day you will see the standard calendar things such as day number, month etc. Then, at the top you will see the statistics for that day – average temperature, max/min, humidity, pressure, precipitation, dew point, etc. and times for sun rise, sun set and day length. There is also a small graph showing the hourly course of temperature and column bar graph for precipitation. This forms the header. Likewise, at the bottom in the footer, you will see “normals” – i.e. the averages for this particular day along with the deviations from that average. The interesting part however, is the middle section. In this middle section the script will first automatically insert certain events/comments – this includes: monthly/annual records (so for example “warmest day of the month” etc.), but apart from these weather-station related data, it will also show (including icons, adjusted to your hemisphere): moon phase, beginning of seasons, equinox, solstice, meteor showers, lunar and solar eclipses. All these also accompanied by detailed info of time of occurrence, in case of the eclipses it will also show you picture of the path, give info about duration, position, type etc. And now comes the most interesting part…. the rest of the middle section is for your own content. I will now describe how that works:

There is another script, which will only be accessed by you as a webmaster (addDiary.php). In this script you will get a page with a text editor, where you can write any text and also use the toolbar to format it, just like you would do in Word or similar programs. You can make the text bold, you can insert links, images, center the text, change the colors etc etc. Once you write this text, you select a date from the calendar below and there is also several sets of icons so you can choose an icon for that day too. Then, you only have to provide the admin password (the one specified in config.php) and click save. And now, this formatted text will be saved to your logs and when you again load your diary, you will see this text in this middle section for that day, including the desired icon at the top. The text can be as long as you want, if it is longer than the page, it will automatically create buttons for scrolling up and down. You can also edit previously created records – simply choose the date for which there already is some text, and this text should be automatically loaded into the editor and you can modify it and save it, including the icon.
In addition, you will find a few extra pages at the end of the diary – this includes tables with annual and monthly summaries, maps of the position of your weather station, information about your website, including automatically generated QR code and a calendar. Below the entire “book” is a selection menu which you can use to navigate through the diary.

I would only like to add few more things with regards to functioning of this. During the very first time you open the diary – the first time you run this script after uploading it and adding it to your template – the script might take longer to load – this is because the last section, which includes information about your station, also contains a map of it. This map is created automatically and saved on your server, so the next time it will just use this saved image, but during this first run of the script, this map has to be created so it might take slightly longer. The second thing to note is that the editor for adding notes should work in all browsers, but unfortunately, if you want to use the formatting features, those will only work in FF or Chrome, not IE. Third, in order to save resources, all the data regarding moon phases, eclipses etc. will only be automatically added until the year 2030, but don’t worry, I will probably release an update until then 😉 Likewise, the data is only available since 1990, but I don’t assume anyone of you has a database with data prior to this date.
When you are reading the diary, you can flip pages either by using the arrows at the top, or by clicking on the side of the page or by using keyboard left and right arrow keys.
I welcome any further suggestions, there is surely still stuff to be added, but I must admit that at least for me, this is a great thing to have and I haven’t seen this anywhere else.
Hope you enjoy it

Main features

  • automatic generation of days from database info, including day number, week number, month
  • daily averages, maximum, minimum for all parameters (info about solar displayed based on config.php settings)
  • sun rise, sun set, day length (for station location)
  • hourly graph of temperature and precipitation
  • comparison to normals, including deviations
  • custom content for each day – possibility for adding formatted text, links, images etc. using HTML, added using an interactive text editor automatically
  • custom icon for each day
  • automatically added content:
    • statistics for days (eg. warmest day of the month, day with lowest average pressure of the year etc.)
    • moon phases
    • solar, lunar eclipses
    • meteor showers
    • seasons beginning (based on hemisphere)
    • solstice, equinox dates
  • calendar
  • annual statistics
  • monthly statistics
  • information about weather station, including maps
  • information about website, including a QR code with link

Install instructions and how to use

  • unzip the folder and upload all the files and directories into your plugin directory (it will be called “diary”).
  • add link to your menu – the main file is the diaryIndex.php (this is your library page).
  • adding notes to the diary – type in addDiary.php for the URL and you will see the editor and fields for date, password and icon (you can put a link to this somewhere in your admin section or even on the library page, but I did not do this because remember that users would be able to access this, but it would be useless to them because without knowing the password they won’t be able to add anything or edit anything anyway). Select date for which you want to add the content, select icon (all optional), provide your admin password and click save. If you want to edit previously created item, first select the date and the already available content and icon will load and you can edit and again save changes. Another option is to create or edit these entries manually. All entries are saved in the directory called “logs” as standard text files containing HTML formatted entries. Each of these logs is named using the date for it in the format YYYYMMDD. So you can also create all entries manually and then upload these text files to the server (or edit them manually etc.). However, make sure you specify the format properly. The first word in the file is the name of the file for the icon, the name of the image of that file (eg. “sunny”) etc., without the extension. These icons are found in the icons directory under forecasts. Then, after the name of the icon insert three dollar symbols ($$$) as a delimited and then follow with the text. If you do not wish to have any icon, simply start with $$$ and continue.
  • This plugin should be compatible with versions 1.x, the only thing that will not work is the tooltips for the individual images showing what that particular icon means.

Remember this is Diary 1.0 and I am open to suggestions and I plan to further develop this as I think it is quite unique, yet very useful thing to have. I already have some things that would be worth adding, but I want to see first if people like it at all and whether it would make sense to add more stuff.


8 thoughts on “New Plugin – Station Diary

  1. Hi Jachym,

    Thanks for this very useful plugin, which makes keeping track to past significant weather events so much easier.
    I already have two large books full of short handwritten daily reports, but since November 8th (when i installed the plugin) i’m using the diary instead and i am also planning to add all those written reports to the diary as well.

    You can see the reports here (in German)

    Keep up the great work,


  2. I was just looking at the plugin and realized that both this one and the eclipse one show eclipse times/dates in UTC rather than local time! Wonder if you could either change times to local or put some text in place to remind us with short memories that it is UTC time.

    • Hi Bernie,

      thanks a lot for the donation, and the fact you like it and find it useful makes me even more happy 🙂 Im looking forward to seeing your diary updates 🙂 And as I mentioned in the post, I already have couple more ideas that I would like to add to the diary and ideas for new plugins as well.

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