Scripts / Extras
Can I change the caching time?
In some cases you can. Some scripts have this in their settings. However, the default interval is usually chosen to be the best compromise and takes into account how often the external data source is being updated, the response time and the amount of data that needs to be downloaded. It is therefore recommended to use the default value unless you have a particular reason to choose a different one.
Can I use Meteotemplate for commercial purposes?
No. The template cannot be used for commercial purposes. This holds even if you offered to me some financial compensation. There is also the fact that the template uses some freely available libraries (eg. Highcharts), which are also only available for non-commercial purposes.
Can I view the template on any computer or do I need particular software to do this?
No, you do not. The template can be viewed on any computer or device equipped with a browser. Unless you installed the template on a local server it should be possible to access it from any place (again unless you have special IP restrictions implemented in your .htaccess of your server).
Can the footer be removed or modified?
No. Do not remove the footer because it contains some scripts that are also necessary for the rest of the page and are included there simply because it is desirable to run them at the end when the rest of the page is rendered.
Can the graphs be exported as an image file?
Yes they can. If you look closely, almost all the graphs have a little icon in the top right corner. If you click it, you will choose the image format and then specify the dimensions and an image should be generated shortly. The dimensions really depend on which particular graph you are trying to export. My suggestion is try one and if it does not work, try increasing or decreasing the ratio until you find the ideal one.
Can the tables be exported?
Yes they can. Version 3.0 Sour Cherry introduced a new feature. Most tables in the reports and other parts of the template now have a little toolbar above them. You can export the values to various formats including CSV, XLS (Excel file), TXT, DOC or even as an image (PNG) or JSON object. One thing to note – if you choose for example the XLS file, the file will be saved without an extension. All you have to do is always give the file the particular extension and then you can open it in this format. So if you are trying to export as .doc for example, just give the file a name “export.doc” etc.
Can you add visit counter?
This is a common question. Using a visitor counter is something you really should try to avoid. Why? First, it slows down your page, some people will have this blocked by different scripts –but most importantly – visit counters are something I call „the internet of the 90s“. They were very popular in the past, but today, every professional will tell you you should never include this. Knowing how many people visit your site, which pages, how long, where they are from – that all is absolutely essential to know – but it is essential to know for you – the webmaster! Not the user! This is why Meteotemplate has integrated Google Analytics, which gives you very detailed reports about everything. There are dozens of reasons why you should however not show it directly on the page (not to mention that let´s be realistic – our sites will not have millions of views and so is it really something you want to show to your users? And sometimes I also see people with visit counters which show over 30 people online nonstop – which obviously just means their counter is unable to filter out bots. Other “internet of the 90s” things include animated GIFs allover the place, as many colors as possible, fonts with 3D effects, large shadows and animations. If you absolutely want it, you can of course add it yourself, but I would highly recommend you don´t do it (just google it and read about why in detail) and keep your website professional looking and looking as a website from the 21st century :)
Do I need a solar sensor?
No you don't. Solar sensor data is supported by the template, but it can be disabled in the settings and you will not see any “null” data – which is the case of the demo at meteotemplate.com. I myself do not have a solar sensor, but for illustration purposes I did not disable it so that people can see what it looks like despite the fact the values are always 0.
Does Meteotemplate use Flash?
No, none of the pages in the main template, as well as plugins, uses Flash. This technology is these days considered obsolete and most major browsers will soon stop supporting it (mobile devices already block it). Therefore all the features in Meteotemplate use HTML5 and CSS instead.
How much does the template cost?
The template is donationware, offered completely for free, which includes the main files as well as plugins and even support. If however, you find it useful, you can contribute to the development and support to cover the costs for the domain, hosting and other costs associated with operating the page, by using the PayPal donate button included in the DEMO or the metetemplate.com homepage. Everything you see is purely a hobby that I do in my free time so your contributions are very much appreciated.
I find it difficult to understand certain things in the wiki, would it be possible to make this a bit more clear?
It is difficult for a developer to write the wiki because I have to try think like a “normal user”, which does not always have to be accurate. I might explain things which are obvious and likewise I might skip things I think are easy and they are not. The best would be to make a video tutorial, but that is impossible because screen capturing is very demanding and my laptop is absolutely unable to do such thing so this is not an option and I have to rely on examples in the wiki and text.
I noticed that the solar data in the Metetemplate demo are not working.
Actually it is not the scripts that are working, but rather the fact I do not have a solar sensor. For illustration purposes however, I did not disable it.
I would like to add/remove values to my database via the admin section of the template but I can only do this one by one. Is it possible to do this in bulk?
No it is not. And this is not because it would not be technically possible, but because it would be too dangerous. My assumption is – if you are familiar enough with MySQL and phpMyAdmin, you will use that to do it. If you are unfamiliar with it and so need to use the admin section and automatic scripts of the template, then it is dangerous to include a script that could do this in bulk. You could for example delete your entire database in one click without the possibility to go back if you did not know exactly what to do and make some wrong action. This way the worst that can happen is that you will delete or add one incorrect record, which you can either miss in case of deletion or remove quickly in case of addition. If you really think you need to do some bulk operations and do not know how to use phpMyAdmin, contact me and I will assist you with it.
I would like to be informed about what is new with regards to the template. Where can I find information about new stuff?
The answer is the blog. I publish new posts anytime there is a new plugin, update or even other things such as bug fixes etc. To make it easier, you can also use the “Subscribe” feature and you will get emails whenever there is something new – don't worry I will not spam your inbox, you will only get an email if there is something important new.
I would like to use Meteotemplate, but I already have weather station measuring for some time. Is there any way I can import historical data?
Yes there is! No need to start from scratch. There are in fact several methods in which you can import your data. One is using log files of various software. There is a script for importing data from Weather Display log file, Cumulus log file. Next option is using import via CSV (the format of it is described in the Wiki) or you can even download data from Weather Underground server if you have been sending your data there. If you need assistance because your data is in a different format, send me an email and I will see if there is a way of importing your data. I have made several customized scripts already so don't worry, there is always a solution!
If I install the template, will I get exactly what I see in the demo?
Yes you will. The demo uses exactly the same scripts, always the most current version. The only difference is that the DEMO has also all the plugins installed, even though you are then likely to install only some. There is only a few exceptions. One is for example the Live Gauges plugin. This plugin takes data directly from software such as Weather Display or Cumulus. Since my weather station is not connected to these, the demo uses randomly generated data. The WL-IP plugin has no demo at all because it only works in the backend.
None of the options available for updating the database are available for me, is there anything I can do to make it work?
Yes, send me an email. I have made several customized scripts already so don't worry, there is always a solution!
What do I need to update my database? What software and hardware is supported?
Meteotemplate currently supports outputs from Weather Display (clientraw), Cumulus (realtime), Weather View and Meteobridge. Data can also be downloaded and used for updates directly from Weather Underground server or Weather Link server. Meteohub can also be used as it is capable of generating clientraw.txt, a file with the same format as is produced by Weather Display, so you can use the same script as for Weather Display updates.
What does that lock icon in the footer mean?
This is how you access the admin section of the template. If you install the template, you will choose a password for this template – this is in no way related to your FTP or MySQL database password. Simply choose whatever password you want to use to access the administration section of the template. This section is used to control certain things on your page, which normal users cannot access and so it is password protected. This includes for example the possibility to add or delete values from the database, save forecasts (in case of the forecast comparison plugin), write stuff to your station diary (in case of the station diary plugin) etc. If some plugin has some features only available to you as an admin, it is described on the plugin info page.
What if I make changes to my database (delete/add records). Will this be reflected in the reports?
Yes it will. All the pages in Meteotemplate are calculated in realtime, so the changes will be reflected in all pages immediately. The only exception is for example cases where data from external sources is used. One such example would be the forecasts. If you change the city for the forecast for example, your template will still use the cached file, which was downloaded using your original settings. In such cases you have two options – either delete the cached file and new one will be created when you then first run the page, or you can simply wait until the cache expires and the new data will already reflect your changes in the settings.
What is caching and why is it used?
Caching basically means saving data. Some scripts use data from external sources – earthquakes, current conditions, forecasts etc. This data cannot be calculated or taken from your station so an external data source must be used. However, there might be a limit in how many calls you can make to that source (if you have an API key), it always takes more time to download data from other pages than if it was on your own server. Therefore the scripts use caching – once new data is downloaded, a copy of it is made and saved on your server temporarily. Then, when the next user views your page, the scripts first check when the cached file was created and if a certain period has not yet expired, it uses the data from this cache rather than downloading it again. The time interval is always set based on how often the external source is being updated. For example, there is no point in using cache interval of 10 minutes if the external source is only updated hourly. It is always a compromise between the data being up-to-date and loading time.
What is the browser compatibility?
I must admit I am a Google fan, so I use everything from Google starting from Gmail, Gcalendar, Gdrive and of course Chrome. Most of the time therefore I test everything and design in Chrome. However, I also have Firefox and there is always someone who helps me and test also Internet Explorer although I highly recommend using one of the others such as Chrome, FF or Opera. IE is always problematic. Have that said, it should still work fine in its latest version (11). Microsoft Edge is also problematic with regards to testing but it should also be fine. Same goes for Apple and its Safari. The template should also work fine in mobile devices running Android or Mac.
What is the difference between a block and a plugin?
Very simple :-) Think of a "block" as a widget you can put on your homepage. It is a small window application, which cannot run stand alone and is shown on your homepage. Plugins, on the other hand, are separate pages on your site, for which there is a link in the menu. These can often even consist of more than one page and are not related to your homepage. Also the installation process is different. Blocks go to the Blocks folder, plugins to Plugins folder. Blocks are added in the index file, plugins are just added as a link in the menu.
What screen resolution do I need?
The template looks by far best on Full HD resolution or 1600+. However it should still work with no problems at screen resolutions higher than 1000px. Smaller resolutions might be problematic in some cases. However the template uses as much as possible dynamic styling. Only in some graphs and tables there is obviously a limit beyond which you just cannot “squish” the elements more without making them unreadable.
Where does the data about eclipses and Moon phases etc. come from?
This is all loaded locally from text files that are part of the main package, or in case of Moon phases etc., the scripts actually calculate this themselves. This means there is no need to load this from external source, which is always risky because not only it can take long, but also, if they change the structure of their site, the data would not be available. The scripts are currently made so that they will work at least until 2020 or 2030. If the template still exists by then, I will release an update :-)
Which FTP client do you recommend?
I myself use Filezilla. I personally think it is the best FTP client out there. It runs on all platforms, it is absolutely free and last but not least, can also be “installed” as portable version, which you can simply put on your USB stick and use on any computer anywhere.
Which weather stations are supported?
The template communicates with your station via an intermediate – it could be some weather software such as Weather Display or Cumulus, or it could be a device such as Meteobridge. Therefore all you need is to make sure that your station is supported by one of these. The only other thing that is required is that your station has sensors to measure the values required for the template. These are – temperature, humidity, pressure, precipitation and wind speed. Ideally your station will also report wind gust and rain rate – however this can be calculated by the template if necessary, just like dew point and apparent temperature. Solar sensor is also supported by the template, but it is optional and can be disabled in the settings.
Why do I need to register for some extra services?
Some scripts require registration to get an API key that you can use in the template. There is one very important thing to note. There is one condition that I will always make sure holds – all the registrations required must be for free – in other words, even if you are asked to register, you will never have to pay for this. The way I make these scripts is that if registration is required, it is for free and I make sure that if there are also paid options, the free one is sufficient. The reason for requiring registration in most cases is to make sure people don't overload their servers. Meteotemplate however uses caching so you don't have to be worried about exceeding the daily quota for queries.
Why does the interactive banner use conditions from external source and not mine?
The answer is simple – the data Meteotemplate gets from your station cannot be used to generate the banner because what the banner needs is to now for example if it is mostly cloudy, clear, overcast etc. Even if your station is equipped with a solar sensor, such information cannot be derived from it. You could detect whether or not to show rain, but even that would be problematic. There is no way of differentiating between rain and snow and also, there would have to be some kind of a limit for the rain rate, because it might just stop raining for a minute and it would immediately stop. Since you need to load the conditions from external source, it makes sense to also load the precipitation/snow etc.
Why does the mobile version not include the plugins?
The mobile section includes those pages, which were (and were possible) optimized for small screens. Some pages simply can´t. Your template is not like a “average website” – it has lots of graphs, maps etc., things that cannot be simply cut in half and placed on a new line. And if you make the graphs/maps too small, they are also useless. I therefore only included those pages that form the core of your template – current conditions, forecasts etc. There is one more thing that I need to emphasize – “mobile version” does in no way mean this is the page you should look at if you use a smartphone or a tablet. This should rather be called “small screen version”. Today´s smartphones and tablets will most likely be absolutely ok with displaying the “desktop version” just fine, so you can of course use that and in the Main settings you can specify, what screensize will be the threshold for displaying either mobile or desktop. The mobile version will then only be displayed to people with smartphones with very small screens where if I included the plugins in the mobile version, the pages would be unusable anyway.
Would it be possible to automate the update/install process for blocks, plugins and template?
Very common question. Theoretically yes, this is technically possible, but there is one fundamental problem. The problem is that sometimes people have all sorts of permissions in different folders. What this means is that there would be three possible scenarios: 1) update process would proceed flawlessly 2) update process will fail completely -> you would need to do the update manually just like you do now Those two are ok, but it is the third one that makes this impossible. The third one is the case where only some files are updated in some folders. This would lead to a total mess and incompatible scripts, the site would most likely not work at all and it would be very difficult to then revert it back because you wouldn´t even know what exactly was updated/changed etc. Another problem with this is that for some reason, some people cannot access my site. It could be either problem on their end (provider´s firewall) or my end, I really don´t know, but I know that some people cannot load the latest block versions etc. And with regards to auto-updates, people often copy files into incorrect folders and if this script was then executed from an incorrect location, it could have severe consequences on the functionality of the entire page.
Can I have two templates installed on the same server?
Yes you can, just make sure you have them in separate folders and make the corresponding changes in config.php. You can then have each set up individually in terms of plugins, colors etc.
Can I use a free webhosting?
Theoretically yes. The only condition is that your free webhosting includes support for PHP and MySQL. However, I highly recommend you also check the limits. I have seen some people using Meteotemplate on free hostings, but it is usually extremely slow and the space is very limited in the database. Nevertheless if you have no other option, you can of course try it.
Can Meteotemplate also be used without the MySQL in the backend?
No. If you only want a webpage that displays the values, without all the other stats etc. I suggest you use a different template.
Can the template be completely installed in a subdirectory of my server along with other pages/templates?
Yes it can, the template works absolutely fine from any subfolder, just make sure you specify this correctly in the config.php.
Does the download package also contain the plugins and blocks?
No, the download package only contains the core template files. If you want any of the plugins, or blocks you can download the ones you want in the Plugins/Blocks section at meteotemplate.com.
How much space will I need for my database on the server?
You might be surprised but not much. For example, the DEMO at meteotemplate.com is updated every 5 minutes, meaning there is 288 complete new sets of values (temperature, humidity etc.) every day. After 4 years, the database is approximately 25MB big + about 15MB for indexing purposes. Most webhosting providers offer database space around 1GB at least so you could theoretically keep your data for the next 150 years even without extending this space :-) This is thanks to the fact that the whole template calculates everything in realtime and only needs one single table in the database (unless you are using some plugins, some of those require an extra table, but those are really small, only taking up a few kilobytes of space).
I do not have the possibility to run CRON jobs on my server, is there any way I can update my database?
Yes there is. There are freely available CRON services on the Internet. The only important thing is that you want to make sure they can be run in ideally minutely intervals or 5 mins at most. Check the Wiki, there are some links to CRON job services that I have tested myself and seem to be quite reliable and free.
I don't speak English and I do not understand how to install the template / I have a problem.
That is OK, just send me an email in whatever language or use Google Translator. Hopefully I will be able to get your point. I know some French and German as well so that would in most cases be ok too.
I just downloaded the template what should I do first?
First thing you should do is read the instructions in the wiki! However in general the first thing you should do is go through the setup file as instructed in the wiki. Then set the updates and then start the customization.
I read the entire wiki, but I feel completely lost and have no idea where and how to begin. Can you help?
Yes I can, I have in fact done this many times. Given that and also the fact I developed this whole thing, it is relatively easy for me to install it and also spot any potential problems. Just drop me an email and I will assist you or install the whole thing for you should you wish. This also applies if you do not speak English. I don't speak it, but I do understand French and German as well, so you can send me email in that language (though you will get a reply in English :-) and if you speak yet another language, then just simply try Google Translator and hopefully I will get the point :-)
I used some other templates in the past and there was no need for MySQL, so why does Meteotemplate need it?
Meteotemplate needs MySQL because the way it works is fundamentally different than for example the Saratoga or Leuven templates. Those actually do not calculate anything or store anything, these templates are connected to your weather analyzing software (Weather Display, Cumulus etc.) in your PC, which sends data to it such as “Today's max temperature was…..” and the template simply display these numbers. Meteotemplate on the other hand, only gets the raw data and then saves it into its own database. All the statistics etc. you then see on the page are calculated in realtime using this database. The disadvantage of this is that it obviously requires a slightly more complicated set up – you need the database. But, it then gives you basically unlimited possibilities for analyzing the data, which go far beyond what the weather software sends to the template in the associated text file (clientraw, realtime etc.).
My config.php shows as not writable, but I changed the permissions already.
Yes, this is a common issue. The server detected your config was not writable. Unfortunately, it saved this information and now simply uses the cached info even though your config is already writable. If you are sure you changed the permissions, you can simply ignore this message and everything should work fine.
My database is in different units than the ones I want to see on the homepage, is that a problem?
Not at all. In the settings there are two sets of units you need to set. One is for the units in the database, so that the scripts know which units are those and the other is for the ones to be displayed. Before anything is displayed on the page, the scripts first check this. If these are the same, it simply shows you the number from the database, if not, it first performs the corresponding conversion. The displayed units are also used in case of some of the plugins where it is possible to use several different ones. So the general rule is – for database units set exactly the units that your database is in. For the display units, choose units that you want to see everywhere on the page. The display units can be changed any time or even changed by the users themselves if you allow this in the settings. This user setting is then saved on their computer as a cookie.
What PHP version do I need?
The scripts are being developed for PHP 5.4+, but I try to make sure they also work fine with PHP 5.3. However, anything older than 5.3 is likely to cause errors on some pages. If you are using a version older than 5.3 I strongly recommend you upgrade your server to PHP at least 5.4. This version has been around for several years (current is 5.6) and has been thoroughly tested. So far, anytime I recommended someone to upgrade, they never had any problems. Especially in case of the change from v.5.2 to 5.3 there were quite a lot of new functions introduced, which is why I cannot make certain things work under 5.2 without making major changes to the scripts.
What exactly does the CRON job do?
Think of CRON job as a way of automatically executing a particular script at particular time or regular time intervals. PHP scripts are executed by running them. If for example you open a PHP script in a browser, it is executed. You want to make sure that the updating script is executed at regular intervals so that you do not miss any data. If for example your page was constantly visited by someone, you would in theory not need CRON jobs, however, it is likely that there are times during the day (or probably night) when there is no-one on your site. In such case there must be a mechanism that will execute the script even at these times – and this is what CRON job does.
What is MySQL?
MySQL is a relational database management system. Meteotemplate uses MySQL to save and handle all your data. You cannot access MySQL directly from FTP client, but have to use an alternative display method, usually most hosts offer the phpMyAdmin system, which is where you can make all changes, look at the actual content etc. However, unless you know exactly what you are doing I recommend you do not try to make any changes there. Knowledge and usage of phpMyAdmin as such is not required for using the template and if you are unsure and make a mistake there, you could delete all your data in a single click without the possibility to go back. So be very careful when using it.
What is the WU API key? Where can I get it?
WU API key (Weather Underground API key) is a key you get when you register at wunderground.com. Registration is for free and so all you have to do is go to wunderground.com and create a profile there. If you already have a profile, simply sign in. Then, when signed-in go to http://www.wunderground.com/weather/api/ and you should either see your code or be able to generate it. This code you then copy and paste in your forecast settings in the template.
Where can I download all the template files?
You can download the entire template at the meteotemplate.com if you click on the “Download” link in the menu. The downloads are always available as 2 packages. One is for updating if you already have Meteotemplate installed and only want to upgrade to the most recent version. This package only contains the updated pages. If you want to make a clean install or simply are downloading the template for the very first time, use the normal download package.
Why do I not need CRON for the other stuff?
You only need the CRON job for the database updates. Let's use the earthquakes as an exmaple. The data is loaded from an external source which is updated every hour. It could happen that you miss one hour, but that would mean no-one looked at your site in that time. As soon as someone displays your page, the PHP is executed and data downloaded. Therefore the user always sees the most recent data and if it did not update, it simply means no-one visited your page and so it does not matter.
Will the template work without the plugins and vice versa?
If you install the core files of the template, everything will work absolutely fine. You can run it without any problems without having to install any plugin at all. However, this does not apply for the other way around. The plugins DO NOT work as stand alone scripts. They are dependent on scripts contained within the core scripts and files of the template and so if you only download those and want to run them on a separate page, it will not work. Many extra functions and design settings are loaded from the default config.php, the header, footer etc.
Are the statistics calculated in realtime or at specific intervals?
The stats you see are calculated always in realtime and take into account even the latest measurement in the database.
Can I add my own block on the homepage?
Yes you can and it is in fact very easy. Simply go to the index.php and find where you want to add it in the HTML and then insert a new div and give it the class “block”, like this: <div class=”block”>. This will automatically create a new block and give it the right styling. Then follows your content and end it again with the div ending tag </div>.
Can I really add unlimited number of webcams on the homepage?
Theoretically you can, however, also take into account how long the images take to load. Obviously you don't want to be loading 10 several megabytes large files on the homepage.
Can I use a plugin as a block (or vice versa)?
Definitely not. They are completely different scripts with different purpose. Block is a small “widget” for your homepage. It must be compact, and must not be too demanding because you are loading many of them on a single page. Plugin on the other hand, often consists of several separate pages and shows lot of information and is included in your menu.
Can you add Accuweather to the forecasts?
No, that unfortunately is not possible because Accuweather does not offer any free options for their API.
I am using Meteobridge and I would like to use the current conditions updates, how do I create the mbLive.txt?
For this you will need the liveGaugesMB plugin. Go to the plugins section and look at the documentation for this plugin, which includes instructions how to install it, use it and a download.link.
I can switch the services used for the forecast on the homepage, but I would like to use one that is not included.
Each service has a different way of how they report their data, some give it as XML, some use JSON and even the structure and actual content differs for each. Some give daily forecasts, some give hourly, some give 5 day forecasts, some give 10 days… This means that there must be a customized script to analyze every single one of them that will be able to analyze it and then create a unified output that could be displayed in the homepage block. I tried to use the ones that are global and the most used ones. It is obviously not so much a technical issue, but rather a compromise. If you would like some other service to be used, just send me an email and I will see if it is possible to use. There is only one condition – it must be available for free – in other words, if any API key is required, it must be offered for free. I will not consider adding any scripts/services that would require paid access even if you yourself have this subscription paid.
I see that the homepage has blocks which give information about earthquakes, world times, radar etc. These are in the plugins section. Does that mean I need to install these plugins to have these blocks on my homepage?
No. The homepage shows this and has all the scripts it needs without the necessity to install any of those extra plugins. Basically the way this works is that the homepage offers a “summary” of those plugins. It is therefore still recommended that you install them if you find it useful. The plugins are an extended version of this. But the important thing to note is that the homepage will work as it is included in the main download file.
I would like to use a source for the warning section, which is currently not included in the available options.
Each service has a different way of how they report their data, some give it as XML, some use JSON and even the structure and actual content differs for each. This means that there must be a customized script to analyze every single one of them that will be able to analyze it and then create a unified output that could be displayed in the homepage block. I tried to use the ones that are global and the most used ones. It is obviously not so much a technical issue, but rather a compromise. If you would like some other service to be used, just send me an email and I will see if it is possible to use.
Would it be possible to use drag&drop for the homepage layout?
Yes it would and in fact that’s what I wanted to do initially. Unfortunately, I soon realized a problem. This would work perfectly fine for normal blocks, but what about multiple blocks and menu blocks – how would that work – it wouldn’t… So we again have the same problem – because I gave you more possibilities and more features, it also means there are now things that cannot be done. I can now choose – discontinue multiple and menu blocks and implement drag&drop functionality, or leave it as it is…. I think more people would prefer the current state because it takes more time, but the result is better. The other option would mean some things would not be possible and there won´t be any extra features, it would only be slightly less time consuming and easier. I still think that best solution to this would be a video tutorial, but that is not an option because of my slow laptop.
Can I download the plugins/blocks and use on a different page/template as stand-alone versions?
No, unfortunately this will not work. The blocks/plugins all use the template settings and also require scripts, functions and CSS styling files included in the main template files. You can try to download all of them, but they are not part of the download package for the particular plugin. You would also need to change the paths accordingly in all those files and even then, there could be a clash in some of the scripts and very likely problems with the styling when you combine the Meteotemplate stylesheet with some different one. This is not to say it is impossible, but it is definitely not easy to accomplish.
Can I use any combination of plugins/blocks?
Yes you can, they work completely independently. Each plugin is only dependent on the main template files, but will work in combination with any other plugin installed.
How often do you release new or update plugins?
This is really irregular. Since I do all this in my free time it really depends on how much time I have and also, some plugins take much longer than others so I can never tell when they will be finished and released.
I downloaded the plugin, what should I do next to install it?
In the Plugin download section at meteotemplate.com there are three columns, one has an “eye” icon, this is the demo. Next is the actual download link and the third icon (Info icon) will take you to a page dedicated to that particular plugin. This page includes description of the plugin, how to install it and also links to direct download, demo and possibility to add comments (via the blog).
I have an idea for a plugin, which currently does not exist.
That's great! I always welcome new ideas, just send me an email to email@example.com and we can discuss details and if feasible I will try to make one. Or use the Suggestions/Bugs section at meteotemplate.com.
In one of the plugins I was asked to provide a path to a file (for example in the WxSim plugin) and I used the absolute path, but it tells me the file was not found.
Some servers do not allow loading or checking file existence from external sources. Since you provided an absolute path, the script thinks it is an external resource and blocks this. In such case try using a relative path to the file.
Is it possible to install all the plugins in bulk?
No. The reason for that is that I would have to make recompile this package with every new release/update of a plugin. Also, some plugins are not meant to be used simultaneously. For example there is a plugin showing the live gauges. There are 3 versions of it, depending on which software you use (Weather Display, Cumulus, Meteobridge). Installing all three of them would therefore be nonsense and in fact even lead to errors on the page.
Is there any page where I can find information about what is coming next?
No :-) It is always a surprise :-) And this is also because I often work on several things simultaneously and based on how much work load I have in my normal job and how much support I have to offer – which is usually unpredictable in advance, I never know when and what will be finished next.
Why is the plugin/block version different from the template version?
The plugins are released separately, this means that they have their own versioning. However, this does not mean they do not work in older/newer version of the main template. In general, when a new update is released, the plugins are either compatible with it already or if not, all the plugins that could cause problems in the new version of the main template, are also updated. So if you have the most recent version of the plugin as well as the template, it will work just fine. In most cases, update of the main template requires no changes to the plugins at all. However, this only applies to the so far released plugins. In other words, if a new version of the main template is released, the subsequent new plugins might not be compatible fully with older versions (usually most things work and it is mostly design details that might not be displayed ideally).
Can I add other parameters to the alldata table?
This is a problem. The alldata table includes the default parameters – those that everyone has (with the exception of solar, which is optional). Some people then also have other sensors – but not all and most importantly – the sensors and their combination they have is very diverse. This means that the table would have to be made particularly for you, with the parameters/sensors you measure/have. The scripts which then use the data in the alldata table, need to know what those parameters mean to use the right units, axis scaling, min/max on graphs, decimal places, icons etc etc. And – you must not forget that every single extra column will make a difference to the loading times. So theoretically you could add extra columns, but it would slow down your page. The page would still work fine, but you won´t see the data on the website because the template does not know what you added, what it is, how to treat and display this.
Can I modify the pages which are actually part of the main template – i.e. pages that do the station statistics, reports etc.?
Yes you can. But keep in mind three things. First, make sure you really know what you are doing because otherwise, something might just stop working. Second, if you make custom modifications then I can no longer guarantee I will be able to fix any errors you have on the page since I will not know what exactly you have done or be unfamiliar with the code you added/edited. And third, remember this will be a problem during template upgrades. Obviously the updated files will be in their original structure, they might have some new functions of course, but they will not include any of the changes you made so unless you think it will then be easy to copy those changes in the new files, try to avoid modifying the main template files.
Can I use the same color for both of the color parameters in the design settings – resulting in just one-colored theme?
Yes you can, technically there is no problem with it. However, make sure you actually look at the pages then, because for some colors this could lead to some text or sections being difficult to read. It really depends on the particular color you chose.
Can I use the same font for both the font parameters in the design settings?
Yes you can and there should be no problems with it. Your headings and menu will simply use the same font family as the rest of the text.
I need an icon for one of my custom pages and none of the ones already in the icons folder are useful.
Send me an email saying what exactly you need and I will see if I can create one for you.
I noticed that the demo on meteotemplate.com has different colors and/or fonts than some other pages that use Meteotemplate. What will my site look like?
Your site will look exactly like you want it to look like - in other words, once you download the files, in the settings you can choose from over 20 color themes and those can even be combined in a combination of 2, which gives several hundred different possible combinations. Same goes for the fonts. In addition, you can allow the user to change the settings and only choose the default one. In such case, the user can click the settings icon located in the top right corner and choose their own color combination and font, which is then used throughout the whole page and this is saved as a cookie so the user will see this anytime they visit your page in the future without having to change it again. You can of course however, disable this and only let the users to display your site in the default colors and fonts you set in the settings file. The DEMO has the cookie option enabled, which means you can test how the page looks yourself before installing it using the DEMO. The design can be changed any time later on, simply specify a different color in the settings file config.php and it will change the look of the entire page. Plugins also use this styling.
I would like to track the number of visits to my site, how can I do it.
I highly recommend using the free service provided by Google, called Google Analytics. You can register for free and it gives unbetable amount of graphs, statistics etc. You will be given a special code which you need to paste on the site you want to track. The best idea is to paste this into your header.php, which means you can track your entire website and do not have to copy and paste the code to each individual site – which would also be problematic when the template is updated, because you would then have to repeat the whole procedure again.
Is it possible to add my own pages to the template?
Of course! You can add as many pages as you like. To make it easier, there is a folder called “custom” in the template root directory. The best approach is to place all your custom pages there. The reason for this is that this folder is never included in the update package so whenever you upgrade the template version, there is no risk you will accidentally overwrite this folder with your customized content. Also, inside the custom folder, there is a file called “blank.php”. You can use it as a “template” for your pages. It is basically a blank page with all the template styling already applied to it, including the header, footer etc. So you simply enter whatever HTML you want in the “main” div and then add a link to it in the menu.
Is it possible to generate some sort of image that I could use as my signature on forums or used on other pages?
Yes it is and it is quite simple. Just download and install the “Stickers” plugin. With this plugin you can create many different images that will show your current conditions. You can choose the parameters, colors, text etc. Such sticker will then have a particular URL, which can be used on other websites such as forums.
The station icon that I downloaded as part of the template does not look like the station I have, can I change it?
Yes you can. Go to meteotemplate.com and go to the Extras section. Here you can choose from several different icons that reflect the most common weather station shapes. Simply choose the one you want, download it and replace the station.png icon in the “icons” folder.
What hardware and software do you use for development?
I develop everything on my laptop, which is a bit outdated now, but still works. It is an old Acer with Pentium Dual Core, 1GB RAM and 60GB HDD. I have the Linux Lubuntu distro installed and with regards to the actual coding, I use Notepad++ exclusively (in Linux opened via Wine) and Filezilla. I tried some other softwares, but there aren't many available for Linux or are too demanding for my PC so I always went back to Notepad++, where I write all the HTML, CSS, PHP etc. I strongly recommend it! For icons and other graphics I use mostly GIMP.
What weather station do you use?
I myself have a Fine Offset WH1080. However, due to the place where I live it is not located as it should – 2m above ground etc. In addition, there are two professional stations nearby, so I take my own data as rather something to drive the demo.
When was Meteotemplate first released?
Meteotemplate was first released in July 2015. First versions did not have any code name, but I then decided to include one to make it easier to distinguish between versions. First such version was 1.2 Strawberry, followed by 2.0 Watermelon and 3.0 Sour Cherry.
Who develops Meteotemplate?
Meteotemplate is developed by… me :-) OK, seriously, my name is Jachym and I am from the Czech Republic. I basically try to do everything myself – icons, design, PHP, blog, wiki and of course support. Therefore please be patient if I don't get to you immediately, I try to get back to everyone however. Also, I must emphasize I have no formal education in programming. It is purely my hobby that I first met 2 yrs ago and only do during nights in my free time. It is therefore also very likely there are many things that could be improved and my code is far from ideal – again I am absolutely opened to any feedback and suggestions. In fact, negative feedback is actually much more helpful so if you find a bug, security vulnerability etc – please contact me!
I can only see the icons in the menu when I am logged in as an admin or I cannot see them at all, I just see very weird symbols.
This is because of how the fonts are loaded and how some servers are configured. See this blog post for a solution: http://meteotemplate.com/blog/?p=1614.
I checked the statistics in my weather software and they don't match with the ones calculated by the template.
If the deviations are small, then the most likely reason is that your database does not contain all the data your weather software does. It could be that your CRON jobs did not execute sometimes or your weather software did not send data at all intervals. If the deviations are relatively large, then make sure you have the correct units set and then use the admin section of the template and check the actual raw numbers in your database used for the calculations. Then compare these with the numbers in your weather software. The stats calcualted by the template use built-in MySQL functions so it is highly improbable there would be a mistake in the actual calculation and so the reason is in 99% of cases in incomplete data in your database. You can however, import the missed values into the database retrospectivelly. All the reports are generated in realtime so it will be taken into account immediately.
I get an error saying “Unexpected end of file….”.
Vast majority of servers recognize the <? command as “<?php”. However, not all. I try to always make sure I use the full tag, but it could happen that I accidentaly forgot and since my server is ok with the shorthand tag, I might have missed this. In such case therefore, go to the particular php file and see if you can find the tag “<?” somewhere without the subsequent “php” word. If you do, add the “php” after this and see if it helps. Then please also let me know about this so that I can make this change globally in the download files.
I get the “Page not Found” error.
There are 3 possible causes of this.
I installed a new plugin, but when I use #plugin(…) in the menu, I cannot see it.
This is because you probably installed a recently released new plugin, which was not available at the time the latest version of the template was released. This means the menu.php has no reference and information about this new plugin. All you need to do is go to the Downloads page, download the menu.php (use the menu on the left) and then upload and replace your existing menu.php in the template root folder (don´t worry, your menu customizations are saved separately).
My banner occasionally only shows a one-color background instead of the image.
Yes this can happen if Yahoo temporarily does not have data available for your location and for conditions only reports “unknown”. In such case either wait until the cache expires and the scripts try to reload the conditions, or delete the headerCache.txt from the template root, which will force the script to create a new cache file. The reason why there is no mechanism that would simply not cache the data if there are no conditions available so that it tries automatically next time, is that in these cases it is usually when Yahoo is overloaded. Therefore, if the script tried to reload the conditions with every single display of the page, it would fail most of the time and also substantially increase the loading time of your web. It is therefore better to just have the one-color background for some temporary time period and then try when the cache expires if the data is again available.
My interactive banner doesn't work. I see just one-color background all the time.
This is most likely because the scripts were not able to automatically detect your location based on your settings in the config.php. You therefore have to tell the script your location manually. In this case open the header.php in a text editor and find the line, which specifies the Yahoo URL used for retrieving the conditions. It should be around line 65 and the actual line starts like this: “$url =”.
Then, go to http://www.weather.com/ and find the city you want to use. If you cannot find exactly the city where you live in, just find the closest one available. Then, if you view the forecast and conditions for that town, look at the URL. For example for my city (Brno), it looks like this:
What you are interested in is the code at the end, in this case it would be EZXX0002. Then go back to your header.php and replace the line with the URL with this one:
$url = “http://query.yahooapis.com/v1/public/yql?q=select%20item%20from%20weather.forecast%20where%20location%3D%22EZXX0002%22&format=json”;where instead of the EZXX0002 you obviously use the code you found at weather.com. Then save the changes, close the file and overwrite the original header.php. One last thing you need to do is delete the headerCache.txt file, which is most likely in the root directory of your template. Then try reloading your page and your banner should now be working fine.
Some things such as sliding panels or animations do not work on my page.
Some translations are not 100% correct.
Yes I am aware of this. Unfortunately there probably is no way of solving this problem. The reason is that every single language is slightly different. The template is primarily made for English, it can be translated, but because the translation is done word by word (or sometimes phrase by phrase), it will sometimes need different word order, different word endings etc., depending on language used. Really the only way to solve this would be making a separate script for every language. Given there is now over 25 languages I am sure you understand this is absolutely not realistic for me to do 25 scripts for everything, not to mention the fact that I do not speak all those languages to know how to program the other version. I try my best to make it at least understandable, but perfect translation is only something companies like Microsoft with their Windows can afford…
The Yahoo forecast shows outdated forecast.
This unfortunately is a major bug in the Yahoo Weather API, reported by hundreds of developers on the Yahoo Developers' forum. Yahoo announced they fixed this bug, but it seems to appear repeatedly from time to time. There is unfortunately nothing I can do about it and in such case I recommend you simply disable the Yahoo forecast in your homepage settings and try later to see if they were able to fix the problem.
The current conditions box on my homepage only updates when I refresh the page.
First of all check the interval you set for updating in the homepage settings. I have also noticed that some versions of Internet Explorer seem to be problematic. If you use IE and your updates don't work let me know. It is a bug that I am aware of, but seems to only appear sometimes and I was not yet able to find the cause of this.
There is a little gap below the header and the menu, which was not there before.
This is happens often when you for example edit a file (most commonly the menu) using the built-in Windows Notepad. This program adds hidden characters into the file. Make sure you avoid using this program and use some other text editor instead, my recommendation is the Notepad++. If you already have these hidden characters in some of your files, simply open them in Notepad++ and in the top toolbar choose Encoding→Convert to UTF-8 without BOM and then click save and upload. The characters should now be gone as well as the gap on the page.
When I load the homepage the settings dialog is “opened” at the bottom of the screen. What is wrong?
This happens if your database is completely empty. If you have no records yet in the database it shows this “error”. As soon as you start uploading data to your database it should fix automatically.
When I load the page I see just a completely blank screen with nothing on it.
This is most likely a PHP server error. The problem in this case is that it does not show you what exactly that error was. Displaying error messages depends on your server settings. In order to be able to diagnose the problem you should enable displaying all errors to see what is happening. To do that, go to this PHP file and somewhere right at the top after “<?php” insert the following line:
Then save the changes, close the file and overwrite the original. Now load the page again and you will most likely now see some kind of an error message also giving you the line number where this error occurred. If you are unable to solve it, then send me an email with a link to this page and make sure you leave the error reporting ON so that I can also see the errors myself.
When I open the page I get a white background, really big icons and the whole page is all messed up.
This is most likely due to the fact the page did not load the main stylesheet properly. Make sure the paths in your setup.php are correct and also check that there is main.php present in the css directory of the template.
When I try to import Cumulus log files, nothing is imported to the database.
First make sure you have your date and data separators specified correctly, that the file exists on the server and that your password is correct.
When I try to run the pages, I get a message “Failed to connect to MySQL”. What is wrong?
This means that you incorrectly set up your MySQL details (login, password, host, database name) in your config.php. Remember, this login and password IS NOT the same as your FTP details. You need to check with your webhosting provider and get the correct details. This can in no way be set up or changed by the template (PHP does not have access to this).
Where can I get support?
There are several options. One is to send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org. Next option is going to one of the weather enthusiasts forums, where I also communicate with the users and there are also some very nice other users who are always willing to help. You can find these forums at www.wxforum.net or http://www.weather-watch.com/smf/index.php.
If you do not find answers to your questions or think there is some question missing, let me know!
If you like this template and find it useful, please consider making a small donation. The entire template and plugins, including support is absolutely free and all contributions will go towards covering the costs associated with running this webpage.