Introduction

The WeatherAPI Locationforecast/2.0 service gives you a short -and medium weather forecasts for the whole world, up to nine days into the future. It is by far the most popular product we provide, and should be of interest to everyone.

We assume you have already gone through the Getting Started tutorial, which explains the most important concepts of the API.

Choosing a format

Locationforecast/2.0 comes in three flavours (endpoints):

  • classic: This is the same XML format as version 1.9. Use this only if you already have a working client which you want to migrate with minimal work.
  • compact: This is the new forecast in GeoJSON format, which includes enough data for most needs
  • complete: This is the same format as compact, but with more data (soon it will also include probabilities). It is quite large and should not be necessary for most users.

From now on we assume you will be using the compact endpoint, which you can find an example of here:

https://api.met.no/weatherapi/locationforecast/2.0/compact?lat=60&lon=11

As you can see you have to specify the location using geocoordinates. If you need to lookup these from place names we suggest using GeoNames or OpenStreetMap Nominatim. Do not use more than 4 decimals to avoid blocking (this is necessary for effective caching).

You should now read more about the structure of the JSON format we use, and the data model which explains what the various variables mean. There is also an official reference documentation available, where you can try out the various functions in the OpenAPI interface.

Writing a locationforecast client

Since there are literally hundreds of different programming languages (791 on RosettaCode alone) it is impossible for us to write example code for even the most popular ones using the Weather API today. Instead we are going to give you just the basic information you will need to write a client in your chosen language:

You will be needing the following tools in your chosen programming language to use the Weather API :

  • a HTTP useragent library
  • a JSON parser
  • an RFC 1123 date format conversion library

A list of suggested libraries for various languages are listed in Appendix A.

Once you have the libraries installed and a basic website or mobile app running, you can start implementing the client interface code.

Steps to handle a request

  1. Initialize a variable sitename with the name of your website and some contact info (e.g. a GitHub URL, a non-personal email address, a working website or a mobile app store appname). Do not fake this or you are likely to be permanently blacklisted!
  2. Construct the Locationforecast URL with the necessary parameters. Always use HTTPS, as lots of unencrypted traffic can make you throttled or blocked.
  3. Generate a Useragent object, with a custom User-Agent request header using the sitename variable as value. If this is missing or generic, you will get a 403 Forbidden response.
  4. Call the request method of the Useragent object with the Locationforecast URL. For optimal performance, use a callback or promise which will enable you to continue running while the data is being downloaded (non-blocking I/O).
  5. When the download is complete, check the HTTP Status header and handle each condition separately (see the Status Code documentation for specifics). In particular, pay special attention to the 203 (deprecated product) and 429 (throttling) statuses. Also check the Expires and Last-Modified timestamp headers (in RFC 1123 format), parse and store them in variables for later use.
  6. If the result is a success (a 2xx status), send the request body to the JSON parser, which should return a suitable data structure for your programming language.
  7. Before doing anything else, you should store the returned data structure in some semi-permanent local storage (e.g. on disk or an in-memory key-value store), along with the expires and last_modified timestamp variables above.
  8. You can now process the forecast JSON data as necessary and present it to the user in a suitable fashion.
  9. If, at a later time you want to repeat the request (e.g. the user has refreshed the page, or you want to update the data) you must first check if the current time is later than the expires value stored earlier; if not you must continue using the stored data. Do not send a new request every time the GPS position changes by a metre!
  10. If the expires timestamp is in the past, you can repeat the request. However you should do this using the If-Modified-Since HTTP request header with the stored last_modified variable above as value. If the data has not been updated since your last request you will get a 304 Not Modified status code back with no body; you should then continue using the stored data until you get a 200 OK response.

If you still want to see some example code in your chosen language we suggest taking a look at the following third-party libraries for Go, JavaScript, C#, Perl/Mojolicious or PHP.

Dynamic web pages and CORS

When contacting the API directly from the browser using Javascript, you will run into CORS issues. For example it is not possible to add your own User-Agent header; instead the browser will send an Origin header identifying your website by its URL. If this is missing, is localhost or a local IP address behind a firewall, you risk being throttled and/or blacklisted. Do not use this in production environments!

Reminders

Please follow our mailing list or RSS feed to get important informasjon about upcoming changes to the API.

Appendix A - Suggested client libraries

Here is a list of known libraries which may be useful. More will be added in the future.

Language HTTP useragent JSON parser
JavaScript Fetch Fetch
Python requests (example) json
Go http-client json
Perl Mojo::Useragent Mojo::JSON::XS
2020-06-30, Geir Aalberg