Weekend Weather Update

Posted By: Nathan Betzen on Nov 10, 2011 in Dev Journal

As many of you are aware, recent API changes have forced XBMC and most XBMC-based software offshoots to change the way they handle their weather app. We have refrained from commenting until now, because the Team wanted to internally discuss what the best step forward would be.

weatherWe were debating between a few different options, ranging from simply updating the current app with a new provider to totally nuking the weather app from XBMC-core and making it all addon-based.

Well, as you can probably guess, we here at XBMC don’t like doing things halfway. If there is a “right” way to code something, we will do everything in our power to code it that way. And so we’ve chosen to acknowledge our mistake in making weather part of XBMC core, and, as we speak, Spiff and Amet are busily pulling weather out and creating an easily replaceable and updateable Weather Addon.

This by itself shouldn’t add very much time to the Eden dev cycle, but it likely will cause current skins to break, which means we’ll need to allow enough time for our brilliant Skilled Skinners to make their changes.

Update: I’ve since been informed by Skilled Skinner Ronie that Spiff’s magical unicorn powers and coding skillz should actually prevent current skins from breaking. Chalk another one up for the brilliance of Team XBMC.

Thanks much for everyone’s patience. Feel free in the comments to let us know if you’d rather we fixed the problem a different way, or if you’d rather we just got rid of weather entirely, in favor of sticking our heads out the window.

Finally, for your weather forecast: Winter is coming.

Discussion - 77 Comments

  • the_stag Nov 10, 2011 

    I personally really like the weather on XBMC. I have a dedicated HTPC hooked up in my living room, and the weather icon in the corner (Transparency Skin) adds a slight touch of class that really enhances the quality of XBMC. I will definitely be getting a weather add-on if it is removed from the core.

  • BMaz Nov 10, 2011 

    Initially I said ‘sure remove weather and make it an ‘add-on’, but considering the fact that many different phone OS are using weather widgets as a built-in function of those OSes, shows the importance of weather.
    I say keep it a core part of xbmc.

  • wut Nov 10, 2011 

    “in favor of sticking our heads out the window.”

    I use it for the upcoming forecast, not current weather.

  • Flanhare Nov 10, 2011 

    Meh, I don’t care. IMHO you can always check the weather on your phone, tablet, computer, through the window or whatever :-)

  • sera Nov 10, 2011 

    The weather is a great feature but I agree with removing it from the core. Though for us end users, we are unlikely to notice any difference (and I’m sure most are glad of that)

  • tmc701 Nov 10, 2011 

    We live in a climate where the weather tends to fluctuate greatly certain times of the year, so having a convenient heads up to the coming weather is handy. Not to mention that the weather greatly increases the SAF.

  • Dan Nov 10, 2011 

    I support the choice to pull it out and make it an add-on. I like lean software with a lot of add-ons a lot more than bloated software.

  • Bubba Bob Bob Nov 10, 2011 

    Where I live, in the middle top right of nowhere, the weather was never right. My Zip code includes to many regions (Coast and Inland) and with other regions being bigger then where I live my forcast was always wrong.
    If different plugins exist for weather, maybe one will be my corretc local forcast.

  • Warren Nov 10, 2011 

    I am not to fussed either, weather.com is normally 3-10deg c off the actual temperature in my country, area. Having a update-able plug-in would be great, I’d like make a Au version that gets the weather from a au source.

    But hey, love you works.

  • Anonymous Nov 10, 2011 

    I think there is some value in having weather forecasts available on xbmc however I agree that this should be moved out of the core and as an add-on.

  • gabbott Nov 10, 2011 

    I think there is some value in having weather forecasts available within xbmc but I agree that it doesnt belong in the core of xbmc and better suited as an add-on.

  • Anonymous Nov 10, 2011 

    Cool and when this add on is ready (i.e. for development, not use) where can we find it and hack it to use a better weather service than weather.com? We Aussies need some proper BOM data!!

  • ads_german Nov 10, 2011 

    or summer’s coming… down under ;)

    yeah, weather.com is always well off the mark over on the west coast of aus too, so an addon based system to make it easier to develop something based on a local source would be great!

  • Dave Nov 10, 2011 

    keep the weather!

  • RogerS Nov 10, 2011 

    I agree that the Weather functionality should in principle be an add-on but I would love have seen that more effort is being put into the Audioengine or quality of the graphics drivers (Hardware acceleration on Linux) instead of making major changes to secondary functionality off XBMC.

  • ICA Nov 10, 2011 

    As long as I can still have the temperature displayed at the top of the screen (or where ever the skin puts it), it doesn’t matter to me.

  • DJVege Nov 10, 2011 

    Definitely the right way to go, in my opinion. XBMC should a media centre at its core, with ALL THESE extensions/addons available!! I know i’m only 1 amongst many, but my personal view is that XBMC should be user friendly for 2 yr olds, up to 100 yr olds.

    Install, add sources, start viewing! Enjoying a sexy library should be a cinch to setup.

    Then the settings and addons should be available for custom setups, advanced users etc…

  • Carl Nov 11, 2011 

    Is that a Game of Thrones reference?

  • bjorn eriksson Nov 11, 2011 

    The weather forecast is something I use occasionely but maybe a addon would suit it better!
    +1 for Game of Thrones reference :)

  • Ash Nov 11, 2011 

    Winter is only coming if you are in the Northern Hemisphere!

  • Magnus Nov 11, 2011 

    RogerS :
    I agree that the Weather functionality should in principle be an add-on but I would love have seen that more effort is being put into the Audioengine or quality of the graphics drivers (Hardware acceleration on Linux) instead of making major changes to secondary functionality off XBMC.

    I completely agree in that the hardware accelleration needs more work, and this is more pressing than the weather widget.

  • NIx Nov 11, 2011 

    I would also rather see the Weather app as an won addon then to be in the core. I thought that was the idea behind Eden and all upcoming version, to make everything more modular

  • Paul Lagerwerf Nov 11, 2011 

    I applaud your attitude! “we here at XBMC don’t like doing things halfway”

  • krka01 Nov 11, 2011 

    I agree, weather should not be part of the core, an add-on/plug-in for the weather is the right approach.

  • openelec Nov 11, 2011 

    I have always had weather enabled, the main reason being “because I can”. In all honesty I have never used it to actually check the weather or weather forecasts (like many people indicate, I use my phone for that). Thus I support moving it out of the xbmc core

  • Francis Henriksen Nov 11, 2011 

    I used to use the weather app, but since I got a smart phone I don’t use the one in xbmc anymore. But I would agree that making it a addon is a good decision as it makes xbmc less bloated. I hate how many software developers just add and add too many forced features to the main app so it gets very huge and have alot of functions and features you rarely use. Keep it simple and have the core features in xbmc, then its up to people’s preferences if they wanna add more apps etc. :) .

    Good job team xbmc, I cannot wait (like all others) for the next big release of xbmc.

  • Harley Nov 11, 2011 

    Thanks! I would also love to see weather condition fanart + animated icons in the default Confluence skin :)

  • Brainfrz Nov 11, 2011 

    I guess it is, not sure it’s a great reference to make though. On game of thrones the winter isn’t exactly a good thing ;)

  • rormeister Nov 11, 2011 

    Good plan! I think taking Weather out of the core is a good move as it streamlines the build and focuses on what XBMC is really good at. Weather should have been an addon all along.

  • Mister fish Nov 11, 2011 

    Strange that XBMC coders seem to focus on benine nonsense instead of making advances in the actual relevent stuff…24bit audio support, bitstreaming protected audio formats for supported hardware etc.

    It’s baffling the time wasted and slow progress, then when something is looked into it’s some big massive taske. We’re talking about removing the weather section. Surely a 10 minute job.

  • natethomas Nov 11, 2011 

    Ah, Mister Fish. Good to see you are volunteering to take care of this truly trivial task for us, so that we can better focus on more important things. Tell me when you are ready for your 10 minutes to start, so I can begin the timer.

  • h.udo Nov 11, 2011 

    I don’t really care if it’s a core or add-on functionality. I actually use the “sticking our heads out the window” approach and it kinda worked for me in the last 36 years. That being said, you have all my support to whatever you decide.

    @Mister fish, you can have your 10m: http://www.online-stopwatch.com/countdown-timer/

  • Tight_wad Nov 11, 2011 

    We use the weather all the time. Getting weather alerts when I am in my theater room is a great feature. Hate to think a tornado was heading my way and I didn’t even know it.
    Not sure that there is any reason to have it remain in the core of XBMC. If it goes to the add-ons, I think that it would only make it better.

  • aptalca Nov 11, 2011 

    I *KNEW* spiff was a unicorn :-P

  • Bärbel Nov 11, 2011 

    Hi ! i miss the weather and i think it was a good part of XBMC. I look every day what is goning on with the weather problem and is there a fix at the forum. So please fix that for ME ;-) At the other side a stable and fast xbmc is also important for me. I dont realy need a 24 bit sound ( for what is that ? ) ;-) but fast and stable is must have.

  • bertybassett Nov 11, 2011 

    its not in Plex and I don’t miss it, so I vote to have it as an add on like the Weather Plus add-on.

  • Stephen E. Baker Nov 11, 2011 

    A lot of people putting in their 2c about whether they use the weather app or not. Just because x number of people use it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be an app, after all the imdb tracker is and I’m sure almost everyone uses it. If it’s popular enough it should be a default app. This is more about being able to update the weather independent of xbmc itself if the API changes. Incidentally it also allows choosing other weather apps instead or not showing weather at all. Since Eden lets you put apps on the main bar in Confluence I don’t think it will make much difference to us, except with one approach the weather app might break until we get the next xbmc, and with the other approach the weather might break until we download the latest update for the addon.

  • Genkilljoy Nov 11, 2011 

    I rather it be part of the overall system core as this would be all ways a blade and not a program you have to pull up. It also makes the overall look seem very professional.

  • John Hakk Nov 11, 2011 

    Either way is fine, I just hope it can be applied to units running 10.0 “Dharma” as I am not ready to upgrade to Eden at this time. Regards.

  • 114 Nov 11, 2011 

    @natethomas LOL

    @MisterFish There are millions of opensource projects available on the internet, however XBMC is one of only a small percentage that is THIS good at what it does. Very few projects are as active as XBMC, and fewer still remain active as long as this one has. I’m all about constructive criticism, Devs need it (even the ones that think they don’t!), but your comment is not constructive in the least.

    Everyone values various features more than others, just because something is not important to you does not mean it is not important to others. Also, there are no other HTPC solutions out there (commercial, opensource, whatever) that hold a candle to the functionality and features of XBMC. I’ve tried just about all of them, and this is king of the heap– bugs, glitches, shortcomings and all.

    What exactly are you contributing to the development of the software? Are you helping to identify and eliminate bugs? Do you provide any addons or other solutions that help fill the needs being overlooked by the core or to work around bugs/problems that are not being addressed in a timely manner (per your opinion)? It is asshats like yourself that drain the life from community driven projects because the devs get tired of busting their butts, for free and on their own personal free time, just to have people like you bitch that it is not fast enough or you don’t like that YOUR priority is not being addressed ahead of the next guys.

    The simple solution to your problem is to get a refund and apply it to another HTPC solution, because there are LOADS of better options out there. If you want things done faster, for free, then do them yourself. That is EXACTLY why opensource software exists. People can take this source and do whatever they want with it, prioritize improvements however they like, and do it at the pace they feel it should be done at. To sit on your hands and do none of the coding yourself and then COMPLAIN that things are not improving fast enough for your liking, while using the software for absolutely FREE, is the pinnacle of douche-baggery.

  • Anonymous Nov 11, 2011 

    +1 for keeping

    10x and 2 thumbs up guys

  • Anonymous Nov 11, 2011 

    @Mister fish
    seriously this is the dumbest comment ever. you obviously have no coding experience. how do you know they are not also working on the things you listed.

  • Digidog Nov 11, 2011 

    Is it possible to have it remain part of the core in the sense of a “socket” ? So that skins have a reference set as if it were part of the core. Weather add-on creators can either follow the socket specs or go from scratch and work with skinners on an individual basis for extra features.

    @114 Not everybody is nice, no need for name calling though..

    @MisterFish … Be nice. It is FREE. A lot of hard work, by Team XBMC, the skinners, the add-on creators, and countless others goes into this so we can all enjoy it. If you have a feature request, I am sure you can find the correct place to post it :)

  • Grampy Bone Nov 11, 2011 

    I didn’t even notice that the weather information wasn’t working.

  • AdriaticBlue Nov 12, 2011 

    I too say remove the Weather app from the core and make it an add-on. It doesn’t work for me in XBMC anyhow and I run a Weather app under my OS.

  • Reg Nov 12, 2011 

    @ MisterFish — It’s hard to put across to you how thoughtless and disrepectful your ill-thought comment was. Maybe consider an apology to the VERY hard working guys who give us this stuff for free.

    @ 114 — Would you mind awfully if I were to steal your word ‘douche-baggery’ That, my friend, needs to be in a dictionary!

    @ Team XBMC — Please ignore the occasional ingrate and carry on the fantastic work at a pace of YOUR choosing. Thank-you.

  • jorgen Nov 12, 2011 

    Make it Add On, those who want it can just add it, those who doesn’t finally gets rid of it. For me it’s useless since I live in a place that doesn’t work with the Weather function anyway. Keep XBMC what it sholud be, the best media experience software, don’t make it a Jack of all trades.

  • tosta Nov 12, 2011 

    I use the weather in XBMC a lot, so I’m happy it’s going to get fixed. It’s a pity that it’s not going to be fixed in Dharma :-(

    Thanks for all the good work!

  • miesjel Nov 12, 2011 

    i think the best decision would be: try not to be dependant on someone else’s software.

    If you’re putting time and effort in a program, make sure you have controll over the code. So i would say No Weather, since a unilateral decision about changing api’s etc breaks the function. Make it an addon

  • Banned Dude Test Nov 12, 2011 

    Just keep it and link to a placeholder number. By the time you get rid of it and finally release your beta there will be a solution…
    don’t be such pussies

  • Xavor Nov 12, 2011 

    All the White Walkers thank you for your dev-otion.

  • Tommy Nov 12, 2011 

    Couldn’t agree more. One thing I love about XBMC (apart from the product) is the patient and generous way people conduct themselves on the forums unlike so many other places.

    I use the weather a lot but agree it most probably should be a separate add on.

  • Maimon Mons Nov 12, 2011 

    The proper weather forecast is:

    Tomorrow’s weather will be pretty much the same as today. [Enjoy|Sorry].

  • andrew Nov 12, 2011 

    Anyone willing to create weather app based upon Environment Canada info? :)

  • Anonymous Nov 12, 2011 

    don’t let weather hold up the new release :(

  • Rayzer999 Nov 13, 2011 

    Cheers to the XBMC team. Donating thier time and efforts to amazing delopment that benifits so many.

  • John Hilla Nov 13, 2011 

    Personally it maybe better of an idea to use either the feed from Noaa or perhaps even Underground Weather. Both have excellent options. Somehow mentioned before that Weather.com became to commercial in the sense it’s like an giant ad that runs other stuff other than weather. Basically a sell out from it’s core reason to exist.

  • Dr. Lektro Nov 13, 2011 

    I don’t use the weather app very often (almost never), so removing it from the core seems the right decision to me.
    Making it available as addon, will please a lot of other users (eg: friends of mine, who already installed it).

    Thanks for the great work!

  • Zebraitis Nov 13, 2011 

    I have one comment to add to this: I have no opinion on whether weather should be kept in the main program, or not.

    HOWEVER, I do think that we need to keep one functionality that the weather ap provided: verification of internet connectivity.

    By having the weather ap show the current weather on the main page, it provides an immediate indicator that there is an active connection to the internet.

    No weather displayed, no connection. Simple.

    (… so don’t bother updating your database for your new movies, or start to troubleshoot your ISP connection.)

    IF you remove weather from the main OS, THEN make sure to keep main screen display still part of the add-on.

    ALTERNATIVELY you could develop a small connect icon, green light indicatior or some other geegaw that would allow for that functionality on the main page.


    Oh, and if we are asking for small favors: Could you PLEASE add a “Your source is not available, do you want to continue?” message as part of the clean database process?

    Since many of us now use NAS as source, having one off-line can result in hundreds of movies being removed from the DB. … and that ain’t cool at all.


  • Zebraitis Nov 13, 2011 


    Oh, and by the way… even for the Southern Hemisphere, the XBMC Dev team’s weather predition: ” Finally, for your weather forecast: Winter is coming. ” … Is STILL correct.

    It’s just coming later.


  • Leon Nov 13, 2011 

    Good to know the team notices this problem! It is nothing major but will be pleased if it get fixed and act as a script addon (that means there’s choice and things will get fixed). I’ve worked on Chinese TV-Series scrapper during the weekend simply because none is working right now, made some progress there as well… anyway…THANKS FOR THE GREAT WORK!

  • Kujo Nov 13, 2011 

    I think it makes sense to have the weather feature as an add-on instead of core feature.

  • anthony Nov 14, 2011 

    i use the weather app quite often. But I think it makes sense to make it an addon

  • cipher999 Nov 14, 2011 


    I think that it is not mentioned clearly enough in the blog post :

    !!! the weather feature of xbmc is broken for everybody right now in Dharma !!!

    THIS IS WHY the developers are rethinking the whole weather thing.

    I had to browse the forums to be sure that my current problem with the weather is related to that post, or it’s just something that got wrong with my own config.

    As for plugin or code feature, I’d advocate leaving it in the core, because it’s a default part of many oses.

    Would it be possible to backport the fix to dharma ? Otherwise please give me another way to fix weather on dharma (an existing addon?), it’s actually the daily routine of somebody in my household to turn on the TV to figure out which clothes to put on :)

  • Kendo Nov 14, 2011 

    I’m all for keeping the weather app. Not really useful per se, but just nice to look at with the Transparency skin. But agreed, Should be an add-on. Thanks for all the hard work. =)

  • spiff Nov 14, 2011 

    my useless work is now in git master. mr fish, good that you have a working plan. looking forward to your patches!

    i for one know that
    ( ) hd audio is even lower on my list after this.
    ( ) i’ll jump right on adding hd audio support now. after all, a whining non-contributing user said so!

    guess where i’ll put the mark.

  • KiZD Nov 14, 2011 


    Kujo :
    I think it makes sense to have the weather feature as an add-on instead of core feature.


  • hellrider77 Nov 14, 2011 

    Dear team-members.
    I have been using xbmc for almost a year now.
    Words would not be enough to describe my gratitude for all the hard work and commitement you guys are putting into this free (did i say ABSOLUTELY FREE??!!!) project.

    It is the best and useful piece of multimedia software i have ever used without paying a dime. (well i am actually thinking about making a donation).

    I love the weather section and i don’t really care where it sits (core or add-on) as long as i will be able to use it.

    The only thing i would really really like is confluence skin to display weather as transparency does.

    Either way and no matter what your decision would be (even totally ditching weather from xbmc) i’m still considering making that donation ;) .

  • Stephen E. Baker Nov 14, 2011 

    @spiff: The second one? j/k I’m aware of your M.O. for taking out frustrations on the entitlement cultured masses by denying them what they demand. Meritocracy 101.

    Anyway thanks for the weather work.

  • Stephen E. Baker Nov 14, 2011 

    Btw. could I dissuade you from working on things ‘I’ don’t think are important by posting inflammatory remarks demanding that they be worked on right away? Crafty…. unless it kills motivation to work altogether, in which case sad :-( .

  • sdsnyr94 Nov 14, 2011 

    I agree with removing it from the core… Anything that can be affected by a 3rd party, such as weather.com, should be an add-on. This way we only have to wait for the add-on to be updated, not wait for the next stable XBMC release or switch to nightlies. And the devs can devote their time to what they do best! Thanks everyone.

  • branlr Nov 14, 2011 

    Woah… some serious gratitude issues in this…

    To everyone who complained:

    1. Weather was broken, it needed to be fixed or removed. Removing and remaking as an add-on was not just “a decision”– it was more like “the only logical decision considering the direction of XBMC’s addon system, the existence of alternative weather addons, and the possibility of future breakage based on change in providers api/site structure, which will now require only that the addon is updated.”

    What exactly is the problem, then? That a feature unrelated to this blog post wasn’t added this time around? Well then help yourself to a little #2.

    2. A broken thing ought to have priority over a new feature. Period. No matter what you think about the weather section, it needed to be dealt with. I would not want XBMC full of broken features at release time because they added something new rather than maintaining the functionality that I already expect to work, and any new user would expect that the features in XBMC’s stable core are functioning.

    3. Why would you think that just because one thing is being worked on, something else is not? The fact of the matter is, that there are multiple developers with different expertise working on different problems at different times. Problems do not get worked on in a linear fashion by the entire team–in pretty much any team, anywhere, doing any task.

    4. I know, it’s cliche… but… seriously… not only is it free (therefore, how can you complain), but it’s also open source (therefore, you can fix it yourself, as well as any official Dev can). If you do not have the skills, it is a choice you made in terms of how you spent your time.

    Would you go to a free concert by a virtuoso and DEMAND they play your favorite piece of music, and criticize them for not succumbing to your whim? Who are you to demand such things? Especially when you clearly lack the ability, and therefore can’t possibly know what is involved in the fulfillment of your request… baffling.

  • obaw01 Nov 14, 2011 

    I’m saddened by the XBMC users that feel that weather is not useful. I adore this feature. I use it everyday. The current conditions only really serve to make XBMC attractive, but the five day forecast is what I really “use”. If the developers feel that it is superfluous, I understand, but I’m still pretty bummed.

  • Marshalleq Nov 15, 2011 

    Summer is coming if you’re in NZ like me!

  • Chris Nov 16, 2011 

    If taking out the Weather would free up any CPU cycles I say go ahead.

  • Annalytical Nov 20, 2011 

    Love the weather app!! please keep it.
    Great job to all at XBMC. I look forward to your solution. International weather forecasting is important to us as we travel regularly.
    Thank you!

  • Maas Nov 21, 2011 

    Hi XBMC team,

    The weather app is a lovely tool, really we or “I” will miss it :( .
    It what makes XBMC stand out really.

    thank you all for the great support you offered us in the past years.


    Maas :)

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