I am proud to announce a new version of Meteotemplate is now available – this time a real major update in terms of new features and another on of the “front-end” updates – meaning most of the changes are changes you can directly see on the page, help you as an admin or brand new pages.
There really is A LOT of new things – but the update is actually quite simple and should not take very long. This update further extends the possibilities for blocks, menu, homepage, introduces several new designs, many new design tweaks in the main setup, several brand new pages, adds “semi-support” for some programs for the API (Cumulus etc.) etc. etc. And one absolutely unique feature, which I am sure you will all find very useful!
Let me just say one more thing – if you want to update to this latest version, please make sure you read the whole post and the update instructions very carefully. I spent hundreds of hours preparing it, including the documentation, to make it easy for you, but also for myself and you will save me a lot of time if I am not asked the same questions answered in this post by dozens of people 🙂
You will need a download token, I will probably issue just a few at the beginning to make sure the upadte works fine. I will try to make sure you will always get a token within 24 hours, unless some serious problem is discovered and I need to pause the updates. DEMO has been updated already and wiki as well.
I know this will sound harsh, but if you do not read and follow the instructions and something goes wrong, I will be very hesitant to help you. In v12 update I spent hours fixing things only because people “assumed” things rather then reading what to do and you have to understand it is quite frustrating to spend hours preparing the documentation, which people then ignore anyway.
In particular I would like to thank Luc from Suriname for his invaluable help.
Major new features
- PDF files – this is something I have always wanted and was never able to achieve, now finally I think it works as I wanted it to work. You can now create nicely looking, formatted and print-friendly PDF files from several pages – daily reports, monthly reports, yearly reports, astro calendar, forecasts, annual sunrise/sunset calendar and more!
- New seasons page – detailed statistics grouped by seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter)
- New Annual Maximum Potential Solar radiation page
- Fullscreen blocks – in the main setup you can now enable “fullscreen blocks” – when enabled, each block will have a small icon which when click will open the corresponding block in a fullscreen popup in full detail
- New Links page – the original Links page has been deleted. Instead you can now build your own Links page directly from the control panel using graphical user interface
- Create your custom pages directly from the control panel – it is now possible to create unlimited number of custom pages directly from the control panel – just provide the HTML and the template will automatically add the header, footer, Meteotemplate styling and create a link for this page so that you can add it to your menu
- Help dialog – possibility to add a Help icon to the header, accessible from all pages, which shows descriptions for icons and a text which you can specify in the control panel.
- My notes – new page in the control panel. Simply write note down whatever you think might be useful. This page is only accessible to you and can be used for example to note down api keys, to-do list etc.
- Save/load homepage layouts – you can now save unlimited number of homepage layouts (block positions, column widths, block order etc.) and then just load them with one click. This allows you to prepare several layouts and easily change them whenever you want to, separately for Desktop and Mobile version.
- Direct menu links – you can now specify if a tab link in the menu should open normally or in a new browser tab
- Direct links – menu links/icons can now go directly to a URL without opening the menu tab
- Menu with icons – icons can now be placed directly to the menu instead of tab names
- Auto menu.php update – the menu.php can now be updated with a single click from the admin menu tab.
- Share buttons – added possibility to add Share buttons (Facebook, Google+, Twitter) to the footer, loaded separately to make sure it does not slow down your page
- Sitemap – in the footer you will now find a new link that will show your automatically generated sitemap, including an XML-valid version, which can be submitted to search engines
- Admin blocks – specify blocks which you only want to see as an admin
- Admin plugins – add plugins to the admin menu tab, only visible to you as an admin
- Multiple header/footer blocks support
- Block export (experimental) – add possibility to export each block as JPG image – this is still experimental and does not work for all blocks
And much more… read further for full description
Detailed list of new features/changes
- PDF pages – you can now create PDF reports from several pages. These are optimized for PDFs, print-friendly and in the Main setup you can also specify the default paper size (A4 or Letter). This includes Daily reports, Monthly reports, Yearly reports, Annual sunrise/sunset calendar, Astro calendar, Forecast Outlook. Links to these PDF files are always on the corresponding website version of that page at the top.
- New seasons page – this page shows detailed statistics for the various seasons, of course taking into account your hemisphere. This includes graphs, tables and summaries.
- New Annual Potential Solar max – this page shows a graph and a table of the potential maximum solar radiation based on your latitude and the corresponding day of the year.
- Fullscreen blocks – this is a brand new feature. If you enable this in the Main setup, each block will have a small “fullscreen” icon in the bottom right corner. If you click it, a full screen popup will appear and the corresponding block will load to full width of that dialog box.
- Custom pages – in the control panel there is a new link – “Custom pages”. Here you can create unlimited number of custom pages. You just click “new page” and then provide the HTML. Meteotemplate will automatically add header, footer and styling to match the rest of the template and also create a link to this page so that you can add it anywhere in your menu.
- My notes – did you ever want to note down something regarding the template? An api key? Something to do later? Now you will never forget about it again as this page is exactly for you. Just write down anything you want and save it. Then open it again and whatever you wrote will appear. This page is only viewable to you when logged in as admin so you can include even things you don’t want users to see.
- Homepage layouts – this is a new feature for the homepage layouts. You can simply save the current layout, give it some name and later just easily reload it. For example, you can create two layouts – one for winter and one for summer. Then you can easily change them with a single click.
- Menu – several new features were added to the menu
- possibility to use icons directly in the menu – instead of the text (weather station, weather, climate etc.) you can now include icons
- possibility to create direct links – you can now set a particular link in the menu to open a URL instead of triggering opening of the actual menu tab
- possibility to open links in a new browser tab – you can now add new parameter to the syntax of external link which will open that link in a new browser tab and leave the current opened
- possibility to automatically update menu.php – this is useful for example after installing a new plugin, the menu.php will be automatically loaded and updated from meteotemplate.com, using a link in the admin menu tab (however I cannot guarantee this will work for everyone, you might for example have problems with this feature if you are using https because my server is http, if it does not work you will have to use the manual update just like you did until now)
- Help dialog – you can now add a new icon to the header (below the settings icon), which will show a “help dialog”. This dialog will automatically show description of icons used throughout the template and a text, which you can specify in the Info pages setup page in the Control panel – so you can include any text you think might be useful for the user to use your site in your own language.
- New designs – I have added a few nice designs you can use
- ocean blue
- tropical green
- desert yellow
- midnight black
- sunset red
- fire orange
- polar purple
- New Links page – the original Links page is gone, you can now create your own. In the Info Pages setup there is a new section where you can specify these links, choose an icon, link etc. and Meteotemplate will automatically generate this Links page for you
- Admin pages
- admin blocks – in the homepage layout setup page you can specify blocks which will only load if you are logged in as an admin
- admin plugins – in the menu setup page you can specify plugins which will have a link in the admin menu tab – i.e. be only visible to you (note: the plugin will not be completely inaccessible to users if they enter direct URL, but they will see no link in the menu so it is unlikely they will find this page unless they have a direct URL available)
- Share buttons – in the main setup you can now activate Share buttons. This will add a share icon to the footer, when you click it, the share buttons will load (meaning they will only load after you click this icon, preventing your page to slow down loading if the particular service is not responding). The Share buttons include share button to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Clicking them will share the page you are just viewing.
- Sitemap – a new icon in the footer will now show you automatically generated sitemap of your site. In addition, there is also an XML-valid version, which is accepted by search engines to better understand and index your site.
- New design options:
- flat design – in the Main setup you can now activate “flat design”. This will create a “flat” looking homepage, removing all block borders, shadows etc. By default this is disabled. You have to see if it works for you. It will depend on what blocks you are using.
- hide “admin icon” in the footer – in the Main setup you can now enable hiding of the admin enterance (lock) icon. If you do this, the control panel will be accessible by clicking the Czech flag in the footer instead 🙂
- enable/disable menu tab text capitalization
- set title/subtitle appearance (bold, small caps etc.)
- set appearance of the “more” link in blocks
- added possibility to hide multiple block border
- squared flags – possibility to use squared flags instead of the round ones (this will be applied to all default template pages of the template, I will have to update blocks/plugins to reflect this as well later)
- Season icon – possibility to add an icon representing current season in the footer on the left side
- Station icon – you can now choose your station icon globally in the setup (this will be applied to all default template pages of the template, I will have to update blocks/plugins to reflect this as well later).
- API support – it is of course not possible to add API support for software if the developer does not do it themselves. However! What I did was create “semi-support” – this means that even other update options now create the same api realtime file, so in blocks etc. you can just choose “api” and it will work. The goal here is to later remove source type from all blocks such as “current”, “gauges” etc. The output is now same for all. However for these you will still need the CRON job and there will not be some of the other advantages of the api (bypassing FTP etc.). This semi-support for API is now available for Cumulus realtime.txt, updates via WU and updates via custom file. NetAtmo and WeatherLink use plugins to update the template and these will soon be updated too to be compatible with this. Then I can remove update type from all the blocks etc.
- History page – more information was added to the History page
- SVG icons – most icons are now SVG objects instead of images, which has many advantages I have described in some previous blog posts (station pages, astronomy pages, forecast pages, climate pages etc.)
- Tooltips – many pages now include tooltips for icons to improve user experience
- Translations – several pages were missing full translations (interactive graph, station climate, asteroids, daylight etc.)
- up to 50% faster loading time of index.php (the main redirect page)
- improved interactive header weather conditions caching
- optimization of loading times for many pages (trends, station climate etc.)
- the selected menu tab now remains highlighted even after you click it and it opens
- daily report, monthly report, yearly report – added direct links to “next”, “previous” – taking you to next/previous day/month/year available
- station climate page – added tooltips and descriptions of the various days
- clicking the title in the header now takes you to the homepage
- added tooltips and language tooltips to Settings dialog
- all graphs in the template now show link to your page instead of highcharts.com
- data edits page – added wind direction
- interactive graph – precipitation graph now shows daily cumulative value as area and rain rate as columns
- data import – possibility to save the settings (if for example you regularly import file with same format you can save the settings and it will load the next time you click the data import icon by default)
- database backup – you can now backup the database by individual years. Particularly useful if your database is quite large and your server max execution time is not enough to export the entire database.
- new links in the admin menu tab – control panel, menu setup, menu.php update etc.
- plugin setup link – if a particular plugin has some setup page, then when you are viewing this plugin, a link to the setup page of this plugin will appear in the admin menu tab
- when you specify a namespace of a block which does not exist a message telling you you specified a non-existing block will appear instead of just the loading spinner
- prevent CSS caching – when you change any setting in the Main setup, the browser will be forced to reload the CSS file to prevent caching of it
- all fonts now loaded over https
- latest version check – optimized and now includes check of latest template version
- admin menu tab added to Mobile menu
- US/Canadian users – specify your state/province in the Main setup – in the future blocks/plugins this will be applied globally instead of you having to specify your state/province each time
- more descriptive page titles for better SEO
- some text replaced by icons for consistence and better user experience (eg. from/to at interval summary page etc.)
- improved admin menu tab with more actions (direct link to control panel, better organized icons etc.)
- redesigned sunrise/sunset page
- redesigned daylight page
- improved decimal places handling – reports etc.
- some icons were updated to make them more clear (eg. night icon replaced from the original moon icon to a new night icon)
- new functions available in the core template usable in the future in new blocks/plugins (calculating font color based on background, maximum potential solar radiation etc.)
- improved debugging options (extended possibilities for me to view errors on your page when necessary without having to know your passwords. Also the debug mode has been removed from the Main setup. I can now activate debug mode on your page myself and only for myself – i.e. I can temporarily activate it without the entire page showing errors and without anyone else seeing them).
- added possibility to change homepage column widths without having to reset homepage
- default template language changed to American English – this is purely based on the number of users
- in statistics for precipitation, some sums from the entire period of measurement were replaced with more descriptive annual totals
- fixed pressure units in API log file
- fixed a bug where tooltips on homepage in blocks were not using the default template styling
- fixed a bug where the rain drops in interactive header were overflowing the header to the right
- added missing Davis Vantage Vue icon to the icon examples page
- fixed first/last frost dates on the station climate page (bug for Southern hemisphere users)
- fixed cluster icons on climate map page
- footer – prevent duplicated session creation
- fixed bug in yearly report where precipitation was not correctly reported when using inches
- fixed decimal places and rounding in yearly report
- fixed spinner on mobile page
- fixed yearly report visualizations – v13 is not working anymore due to updated Highcharts
- fixed Full Moon dates on the forecast outlook page
- fixed a bug where dates of minimum humidity observation where not displayed on monthly report pages
- fixed font colors on the settings dialog when using light homepage theme
- fixed a bug where header/footer block settings was not correctly saved for mobile layouts
- fixed day length times on astronomy calendar page
- fixed precipitation units in station warnings in the header
- fixed header current conditions font color to ensure good readability
- block export – this is still just experimental and does not work correctly for all blocks (menu blocks and a some specific blocks using graphs etc.). If you enable this, you will see a new icon in the bottom right of each block, which when clicked will export the corresponding block as a JPG image file and trigger the browser download dialog.
- As always! Step number one is making a backup!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In particular, make a backup of the following files/folders:
- template root folder: config.php, header.php, indexDesktop,php, indexMobile.php, footer.php, api.php, .htaccess
- update folder
- admin folder
- I know this will sound harsh, but… if you skipped step 1, made no backup of the listed files and something goes wrong, I will not help you. I am always happy to help people but you have to follow the instructions.
- this update includes many new options in the Main setup file. Some of them are required for the template to run so we will first create config.php compatible with v14 and only then update the rest of the site (config.php v14 is compatible with previous versions so your page will work fine).
- replace the following two files in the install directory: setup.php, createConfig.php
- now go to your page in a browser, go to your control panel, open the Main settings. Just scroll right to the bottom and hit “Save”. This will set all the new options to default, you will set these up later, now just leave it all as it is and press Save, which will overwrite your config.php v13 with config.php v14. This is to make sure that during the time before you set up the new options and update your page to v14 your page is still working fine and there are no temporary errors.
- now in your FTP client open your update package and your meteotemplate folder side by side. The update package as always only includes new/updated pages so make sure you do NOT replace the entire folders unless told to do so, this would result in many files missing because the update package does not include all files.
- open admin folder and replace all files inside it, then open the admin/menu and menu/adminicons and do the same thing. Again, make sure you do NOT just delete these folders and replace them with the ones in the update package – if you do this you will reset your homepage and menu!
- open css folder in the update package and again replace all the corresponding files on your server in the css folder with the updated ones
- open the custom folder in the update package and upload the new customPage.php file to your custom folder on the server
- update the one file in the homepage folder in the corresponding location on your server (homepage/css/style.php)
- open icons folder in the update package, upload the two new icons and then upload the new icons/pdf folder into your icons directory on the server
- open imgs folder and upload the two new folders into your imgs directory on the server
- now open the mobile folder in the update package and again, replace the corresponding files, then open the folders inside mobile folder and replace the corresponding files on the server. Make sure you do not just replace these folders. You always have to open them and only upload the files inside them.
- repeat step 12 with folder pages
- delete folder scripts on your server and upload the new scripts folder from the update package – in this case you can delete the entire original scripts folder. The update package includes all the necessary files.
- update files in the language files in the lang folder
- replace the files inside the update folder.
- now you have to make sure your template is being updated. There are now two scripts that handle this – the api.php and the update.php. Api.php is used by the SW which support the API (Weather Display, Meteobridge, WeatherCat, WeeWX). There is no change here. Then there are update options which use a plugin – NetAtmo and WeatherLink. This is also not affected by this update. If you use any other option – i.e. Cumulus, WU or custom file, please make sure this is correspondingly set up in the Update Setup in the control panel. The clientraw.txt (WD) and MB option type has been DISCONTINUED in v14 because these now both use the API, you just have to make sure you are using the latest versions of these SW. If you are using Cumulus, WU, or the Custom file option there also should not be any change for you. The only problem is if you are still using the WD option in the update setup and use the clientraw.txt method. In such case either update to the latest version of WD and use the API, or, if you are using a different SW, which also generates clientraw.txt format file, you need to use the custom file type option and specify the format of this file.
- add links to the two new pages to your menu:
- replace the files in your template root: indexDesktop, indexMobile, footer, header etc.
- there is one minor bug in the way the database was updated. This needs to be fixed. To do this I created a script which will do this automatically and which you will only run once. This script is called databaseFixV14.php and is inside the update folder in the update package – and should now also be in the update folder on your server. You just need to run this script once by entering its URL in a browser – also make sure you are logged in as an admin, otherwise you will be rejected access. Ideally you should see a message that the database was fixed and you do not need to take any further action, it is only a one-off script. The new files will now update your database correctly so from now on this issue will not be relevant (it is actually related to the rain amount in the interval between 23:55-0:00).
- last step is now to set up the new parameters. I have added the corresponding updates to the wiki, but if you have read about the new features above you should know what each one does. Just go back to your Meteotemplate control panel, open the Main settings again and just read from the beginning, you will notice some new parameters which you can set up, these are mostly design-related so if you do not change anything and just leave all to default it will work just fine. The default values are usually what was used until now so if you do not change it, it will stay as it was, the update is only giving you the possibility to change these. Some of the new things include the state/province for US/Canadian users, enable/disable Share buttons, enable/disable fullscreen blocks, new design options, new customizations in the last section of the setup, some fine tuning of the styling etc. I suggest you just go through it all again and check what is new.
- just a few tips of what you can do now in v14 – in the control panel->Info pages you can set text for the Help dialog and Links page, otherwise they will be blank. In the menu setup you can rename the existing tabs if you want to use icons instead, in the control panel you can use the new link Custom pages to create your own pages providing just simple HTML. You can also save the current homepage layouts you have.
- last just double check your template is being updated, if not, replace just the update scripts (api.php, update.php) with ones from the back up and let me know
And that’s it! Hopefully you are now up-to-date and I hope you enjoy using the latest version of Meteotemplate.