By Adam Grossman on .
When we launched forecast.io three and half years ago, it was really our first foray into displaying general purpose weather information. At the time, Dark Sky was a very different app than it is today: It only contained rain forecasts for the next hour! No timeline for the day, no 7-day forecast. Just a minute-by-minute hyperlocal forecast for the next 60 minutes. In the years since, the app has evolved tremendously, growing into a full-featured weather app.
As time has gone on, it has become clear that we shouldn't have two distinct weather products, so today we're launching a complete redesign of our website and pulling it into Dark Sky where it belongs.
Along with this, we're also relaunching our weather API for developers under the Dark Sky brand. Out with "The Forecast.io API" and in with the "Dark Sky API", living at its new and improved home: darksky.net/dev.
The App vs. The Website
As a companion to the app, the new website looks and feels very much a part of Dark Sky, and they both provide clear and accurate forecasts (since they're both powered by the Dark Sky API under the hood). But websites and apps serve different purposes — both with their own strengths and weaknesses — and we've tried to take this into account when designing the new site.
The mobile app is always with you in your pocket, so it has a clear focus on notifications and quick glance-ability. It's built on top of a suite of rich notifications and the ability to get in and out quickly.
The website, on the other hand, is built with exploration in mind. It enables you to really dive down into a forecast to get details on what's going to happen and when. Click on a day, and you'll be presented with a timeline along with high/low temps, sunrise/sunset info and more… click again, and you'll get an entire page of information and graphs for that particular day.
We've also made the Time Machine feature much more prominent and useful, letting you explore the past and future weather for many different locations around the globe.
And on top of the forecasts, we've layered on a whole collection of new weather maps, built from the ground up…
Dark Sky Maps
I'm insanely excited about our new interactive maps, which are some of the most beautiful and detailed maps you're likely to see: from temperature, to radar, to wind, to UV index and more.
Our goal with the maps is to make them clear and easy to understand. The whole purpose of weather maps is to provide context for the forecast, to give you a bigger-picture view of what's happening. So often, though, weather maps serve only to confuse and obfuscate, with weird lines, befuddling isobars, and garish colors. So we've designed ours to be an aid to understanding, and I think they turned out downright gorgeous.
And with a new experimental system that applies microclimate adjustments to the forecasts, these maps are incredibly detailed — in some cases down to a kilometer resolution, providing unprecedented close-up detail.
Here are just a few examples:
Wind speed and direction off the coast of the southern United States.
Temperatures across the United States.
A 3D view of global temperature.
Microclimate effects in the hills and valleys of the Himalayas.
Worldwide precipitation forecast.
Detailed precipitation radar.
UV-Index across the United States.
A 3D view of global UV-Index.
The maps can be seen on darksky.net, or full-screen on maps.darksky.net. They turned out so nice, that we're eager to share them: we've provided an embed generator so that people can incorporate them into their own websites.
The Dark Sky API
The Forecast.io API, used by tens of thousands of developers, is also getting a rebranding as the Dark Sky API. It comes along with an improved website, and a better developer interface and documentation, and now lives at darksky.net/dev.
Current developers need not worry: while we've updated the URL interface from api.forecast.io to api.darksky.net, the old one will live on until at least the end of the year. There's plenty of time to update your apps and services to point to the new site.
So be sure to check out the new darksky.net. We hope you like it, and we're eager for feedback!