WeatherSoft is up and running!

A bit of background … I am a solutions architect with an interest in weather and weather stations. A few years ago, I set up a weather station at home to monitor the local weather and publish it to the internet so that I could see the conditions at home no matter where I was. This was both fun and rewarding.

More recently, a friend who is secretary at Hastings Yacht Club called me up and asked if I could help them out with their weather station. They had a perfectly good station, but it was controlled by old, out-of-support software on a server in their clubhouse and was publishing data to a website that was not viewable on mobile devices. The website was written in Adobe Flash, an outdated technology that is supported on less and less devices every day. They needed help to get things up to date and didn’t know where to turn.

Initially I wrote a quick analysis of their setup and a recommendation of the next steps that they should take (free of charge of course). This was presented at their committee meeting and as a result they asked if I could help to implement the recommended steps. We agreed on a charging model and I began work.

The first step was to update the software. To replace the old, out-of-license copy of Weather Display, I installed the free software package Cumulus. Cumulus is well-regarded in the industry and has an active forum with a large user base for support. Although development on the established version of Cumulus (v1) has stopped, the latest version is stable and reliable. There is a new cross-platform version (v3) which has been in beta-test for a few years now.

To enable the new software to run in conjunction with the existing Weather Display, I made use of a small utility that splits the output from the weather station. This meant that a new website could be developed and tested while the old one was still operational.

The next step was to create a web site. The new web site is based on a template by Brian Underdown called “Weather34” but it has been customised to fulfil the requirements of Hastings Yacht Club. These requirements included incorporation of sponsor messages, display of webcams, as well as additional information like tide times and marine traffic. This website will be going live soon, but is currently available for viewing here. Of course it is mobile-friendly and does not use Adobe Flash!

Once the website is live, WeatherSoft will be available to assist other yacht clubs in similar ways. Exciting times!

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