Meteotemplate is a free website template for anyone who wants to share the data from their weather station on the internet and also contains many other interesting weather related content. It was developed and is being maintained by Jachym from the Czech Republic with help of many other extremely helpful people (see credits).
Meteotemplate has first been released in the summer of 2015. It all however started 2 years earlier. In 2013 I purchased the WH1080 weather station. It is probably one of the cheapest weather stations with a USB port on the market. The fact it has a USB port and can be connected to a computer was just great 🙂 I have always been a “statistics freak”, even when I was little, I kept track of anything from the temperature, to the number of cars that passed on our small street.
I didnt know much about websites, I had a vague idea of how a website works and created a very simple personal web using a WYSIWYG editor. Now I began researching the possibilities there are in terms of publishing weather station data. I first purchased a small router and flashed it with Meteobridge to allow realtime updates.
I found several website templates available already, but even though I was amazed by how much work and effor people have put into these, none of them really offered the details I wanted and even the design was something I wanted to be “my way”. So rather than installing these in a matter of a few minutes, I decided to start learning HTML and make my own template, despite the fact I knew this is not going to be a matter of a few days. Back then I was still studying masters degree at a Uni and I had a part-time job already in the Czech national weather service, but fortunately since I am one of those people who are ok with 4 hours of sleep/night, I spent nights coding. I never actually bought any textbook, I simply knew what I wanted to achieve and just used the trial/error method and kept trying and searching the web for answers, until I got what I wanted. It did not take long before I discovered that HTML is definitely not going to be enough and so I slowly got to know PHP, then AJAX, MySQL, CSS…. Over time I got some first results and I decided to create my first weather webpage. I registered the meteopage.com domain and started posting stuff there.
Over time there was more and more stuff and the number of visits increased. And I got a few emails from people asking if I was using any template and where they could download it. My reply was that unfortunately it is not a template, but a site developed from scratch.
It was at that moment that I started thinking about making this a template as well. The problem was that I knew this will require rewriting 99 % of the code. The page simply was not created with this in mind so there was no way of customizing it – all hard-coded in Czech, metric units, fixed styling, no solar sensor data etc. On the other hand, I thought that rewriting it as a template would be advantageous also because the first pages of my site I did when I knew very little about programming and I knew that I should have done some things differently and that in the future this would cause problems anyway and I would have to change the code.
Another thing was that I was aware of the fact that WH1080 is not very accurate and I cannot afford my dream station Davis Pro 2 Plus 😀 and since I live in a large city with several professional stations, my data is more like my hobby rather than something useful to anyone. And so I thought it would be nice if my effort of creating that site would be used by someone, whose data is much more relevant.
So I started writing the code from scratch, using my site as a source of inspiration (my site is here, but since I started meteotemplate I have much less time to work on this one). Even though I successfully graduated in June 2014, I already had a full-time and part-time job, so the situation was similar, I had to do it during nights, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. Also, I must emphasize that I had support and got to know many very helpful people, who offered help by reporting bugs, testing, suggesting new features and last, but not least, I felt it is worth it.
The template was entirely created in Notepad++, a text-editor with a built-in FTP client, which I highly recommend to anyone developing websites. I do not use any other programs for writing code as I find it easiest when I can just do everything myself and have total control over what is happening, even though it does take longer.
I would like to thank especially everyone on the WX forum, where I met some amazing people who were willing to help and support me in what I am doing.
HW and SW used
- Station: WH 1080
- Data upload: MR3020 router with Meteobridge
- Computer: Acer Extensa – Lubuntu Linux, 1 GB RAM, 40 GB HDD
- Atom, Visual Studio Code