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Meteotemplate WIKI
A - Introduction
B - Download
C - Configuration
D - Data Import
E - Updates Setup
F - Control Panel and Homepage
G - Customization
H - Glossary
I - About

A. Introduction

What is Meteotemplate

Meteotemplate is a free website template to display data from a weather station. It uses a MySQL database to store all the data and therefore allows extensive possibilities of viewing and analyzing your data. This includes interactive sortable tables, graphs, interesting visualizations, maps etc.

Meteotemplate is also characteristic by its extreme customizability and ease of use. You can choose from over 15 languages, hundreds of possible color combinations, fonts and other design features. You can, however, also customize the content. The homepage is highly modular, built from small widgets referred to as blocks. It is up to you to decide how you want your homepage to look like and in addition there are almost a hundred different plugins, add-ons to further extend your website functionality and features, new ones added frequently.

You are now about to go through the wiki, which will guide you through the process of installation. If, however, you feel lost, do not hesitate to contact me, everything is described in this tutorial, but it could be that some parts are unclear to you or the default setting does not work in your particular case. Also, please make sure you read before you do. People often "assume" rather than read and it will save time to you and me if you follow the instructions and do not run into any problems that result from ignoring or skipping parts of this wiki.

Last part of this tutorial is a Glossary. In this glossary you will find definitions of some terms used in this tutorial and their particular meaning in the context of this template. It is therefore a good idea to also look there.

I also recommend you read the About section. I try to do my best, but being a relative newbie and only having this as a night-time hobby, since I have absolutely no formal IT education, it is possible that you can find bugs or problems, which I will try to fix, but it is important that in such case you also let me know.

Terminology

You will need a basic understanding and familiarity with the following terms in order to use this DIY (do-it-yourself) installation. Each word has a link attached that provides a basic definition. Further information can be found by a web search on the given subject. These are general terms from IT. However, one section of this Wiki is a Glossary. This glossary contains terminology particularly for this template and can be useful if you ever don't quite understand what some term means.

Database Directory Domain FTP
Webhosting JavaScript MySQL PHP
Server Text Editor HTML CSS

Good to know

FTP

It is a good idea for you know at least the basics of how FTP works and have the ability to use an FTP client. I recommend the freeware Filezilla for manipulating files on the server. However, if you feel completely lost, then this is always something I can help you with.

English

The documentation is in English and it is also easiest for me to communicate in English if you need support. I also know French and German, but I am not very confident in these languages (and of course Czech, but I don't assume many of you will know this extremely difficult language ;) However, I want to emphasize that this is not a must and I have already installed and set up the template for people who did not know a single word in any of the languages I am able to speak - there is always a way of getting your point across.

Text Editor

During the set up and later on when using plugins etc. you will definitely need to set some parameters in the scripts. Please DO NOT use the default Windows Notepad because it inserts additional invisible characters into files, which can cause problems that are particularly difficult to spot. I highly recommend the superb freeware Notepad++ which I use myself exclusively and in fact the entire Meteotemplate has also been coded in it (including all HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript etc.). Other options include PsPad or some more sophisticated software (IDE) such as PHP Storm or NetBeans.

If you are using a Mac computer, the supplied Text Editor works perfectly for editing, but you must change the settings for the quotes so that they are straight quotes and not the default smart quotes. Straight quotes are required for editing the scripts.
1) Open the TextEdit application and select Preferences from the pull-down menu. Uncheck the 'Smart quotes' box and also uncheck the 'Smart dashes' box to avoid problems with dashes.
2) Go to System Preferences, click the Keyboard icon, uncheck the box next to ‘Use smart quotes and dashes.’ Straight quotes will now be the default setting in the Text Editor.

Prerequisites

The below points cover things that are absolutely essential. If you satisfy those requirements, yet know absolutely nothing about web development etc., I can do the rest for you. Once you know/have the prerequisites, we can begin the tutorial. Even if you don’t have everything in place yet, reading the tutorial first is a good idea.

Weather Station

A weather station that is capable of being connected to a PC or to a device such as Meteobridge, which I use myself, to send data to the internet.

Connection

You can use special PC software to download data from your weather station and upload it to the server. I personally think the best is Weather Display, but another very good one is Cumulus or WeatherView.

You can also use a device that directly connects to your station and sends data to the internet. The best example of this is the Meteobridge, which I use myself. It is also possible to get data from a weather network such as Weather Underground, but the template also supports the WeatherLink website if your station has a built-in function to send data there and there is a possibility to use data from the NetAtmo API.

Domain and Server

You could use your own server. If this is not an option, you can use external webhosting for your page. People often ask if it is possible to use a free webhosting. The answer is yes, but... make sure the freehosting provider includes all the other necessary things. Also, keep in mind the fact that freehosting tends to be very slow, unreliable, and is more or less intended for very simple sites such as a some blogs or simple personal sites.

Meteotemplate is not a simple site - it uses lot of PHP, Javascript and a MySQL database. Free is good if it works, but consider paid hosting because of its reliability and features. You can even find suitable hostings at introductory prices currently starting at around $1 per month (1and1.com etc.).

PHP Support

Your server must support PHP. The lowest supported version by Meteotemplate is (theoretically) 5.3, but a safe bet is PHP 5.4. If you have the option to upgrade to 5.4 or higher, I highly recommend you do so. Version 5.4 has been around for several years, is well tested, and most importantly, it has some useful new features which are used in the template. I did try to replace the features of the template that are not compatible with 5.3, but I cannot guarantee everything will work exactly as it should.

MySQL database

This is the core part of the template. It is necessary that your server has MySQL available to store your weather data. The template only uses one table in the database (if you do not install any other plugins), so it is not very large. For example, 4 yrs of data in 5 minute intervals, would take up approximately 40 MB. Nevertheless, Meteotemplate will not work correctly at all without the MySQL database.

License

Meteotemplate is offered as a free download. However, there are certain things that can and cannot be done. Please read the section below very carefully!

  • Meteotemplate is offered for free with optional donations, but no hidden costs. This includes all the add-ons and support as well.
  • Meteotemplate can only be used for non-commercial purposes! This also means there should be no ads or banners (Google ads etc.) placed on the site where Meteotemplate is used. This not really a matter of Meteotemplate as such, but because of the fact that it uses some libraries and data sources, which are also only available for free for non-commercial purposes.
  • you may modify the code as you wish.
  • you may NOT re-distribute (or even resell!) the code yourself. If you want to offer a download link, then point to the official download site at meteotemplate.com.
  • the footer must be left on the site, with the link to meteotemplate.com, though you can add your own text there as well.

About Wiki

In this tutorial, you will be guided through the process of installing the template and its addons that are called blocks and plugins. During this process, you will also learn the basics of how the whole template functions.

This Wiki should be regarded as a brief installation tutorial. It is not intended to be an all-inclusive document for learning about servers, ftp, directories, etc. (See above for links to help with these topics). Your comfort level with installing and configuring the template is somewhat dependent on the level of your PC skills, and your general knowledge of web pages, web providers, and server configuration. But don't let this intimidate you - knowledge based links are provided above and throughout this tutorial, and my contact preferences are provided below if you need help.

If you encounter problems or have questions during the installation and setup of the template, here are some helpful resources:

  • see the FAQ section.
  • contact me directly via email at jachymcz@gmail.com, via Skype (where my nick is jachym.czech), or at Facebook (www.facebook.com/meteotemplate/). Email is a good first choice, but Skype would be faster since we can speak directly to each other and avoid the back and forth of email. Facebook can work, but I prefer the first two communication channels. Just the same, I am more than happy to help you in any way that I can.
  • ask for help at one of the two forums where I regularly post things and read comments from people. There you may also find others who are willing to help answer your questions.
    • WX forum - a great forum for weather enthusiats. You will find here answers to many questions you might have and people there are really helpful. The forum is administered by Ken from Saratoga, who has also helped me and offered support. There is also a thread dedicated to Meteotemplate.
    • WD forum - another great forum, dedicated especially to users of Weather Display software. It is administered by Brian from New Zealand, the developer of Weather Display, who is also extremely helpful and offers support for his great software. There is a thread dedicated to Meteotemplate too, so especially if you use WD, this is a place to get information as well.

Keeping the Lights On

The template is offered free of charge and the entire site is 100% ad free. Not only is the download package free, but support is also free (which I am more than happy to provide if needed). If you decide later that you like the template and find it useful, you may want to help offset the costs associated with running the website – hosting and domain. A PayPal Donate button is located in the footer, and on several other pages throughout the site. All donations will be applied to operational costs. With this said, please note this: financial support is highly appreciated, but completely optional and I do not make any distinction between those who donate and those who choose not to do so.