It's been over one month since our last update! 5.0 is here and with it several items that I wanted to tackle prior to chase season. The previous version of the website was slimmed down. It was time to start building on it. Below is a list of the notable changes can find around the website. We share these changes as a service to you but also as a record to look back on later. You will need to clear your cache or press CTRL F5 on your computer for changes to appear!
Warnings, Watches, and Bulletins
We've added warnings as a key piece of the website which now integrates with the feed and new report map in both real time and historically (data archive starts today). For now, on click you will be redirected to the NWS webpage for additional information if available.
Another key piece that wasn't always high priority but decided to add it in because implementation was easy. We now have password recovery emails (in addition to registration confirmations)! Members with a home city present and opted into promotions emails will receive an email when a warning is issued for their county. Included in those emails will be all currently active weather bulletins from the NWS as well as recent reports and more! We will be monitoring the emails we send to make sure it's working correctly. If you do not want emails, make sure you turn that flag off on the account or simply click unsubscribe at the bottom of your email.
Reports Map Viewer
We've added an interactive map capable of displaying current radar, reports, warnings, and imported content in real time and historically! This is another end point for all the content we feed into the database, including your imports. We've done some testing but not enough to cover everything, so being this is our first attempt please allow room for errors.
The feed needed to be re-balanced due to a large amount of items and information coming through. Started by limiting storm reports to Wisconsin only. Filter buttons work but not well, this will have to wait. Cleaned up the composer, I think it looks much nicer now. Added a counts bar to each feed item when favorites and comments present. Tinkered with appearance of all items in the feed again. The end result is one clear, coherent, chronologically ordered list of information pertaining to weather happening as it happens around the state! Not many websites can do that!
We've finally made our tagging system usable! You can create new tags via the composer by hitting the # key, just like twitter. This adds a new dynamic to our website that will also help categorize ideas and topics. All tags link to a tag page which pulls all relevant active and public information sharing that tag including reports.
AKA, storm reports. We have innovative plans for storm reports! Whew! Now that's out of the way, we've created a page that shows you all possible report types (through our website only). This is just the first group of observation types and there will be many more in the future once we've discovered the best way to effectively use them all. Remember, this is for entertainment purposes only! We do not forward reports to the National Weather Service YET. You could use our report tool and share the link to your local NWS office? Please use the "Test" type to try it out.
Signing up for WISCONSINWX.COM is now a better experience! We removed some of the unnecessary inputs such as password question and home city selection. This just means that the account page you are sent to after signing up requires more attention, but it seems like everyone has been finding their way through that quite easily.
Added a simple frequently asked questions page that we could build onto in the short term. Answers questions about storm chasing and Wisconsin Weather. We're planning a much more robust education system.
Observation (report) & Post Deletion
We take our no-strings attached policy seriously. Prior to this update deleting a post would leave behind any imported media. Deleting a post now removes everything contained within that post. Poof, gone! No strings attached. Observations(reports) can now also be deleted. We prevented deletion of reports in the past for a couple reasons but wanted to give you more freedom. Again, please use the "Test" report type when trying out this feature.
We changed the appearance of the website again. Home page was redesigned but will need more work in the future. Favorited reports now appear on your profile. Changed favorite symbol from a heart to a star. Improved maps. Tinkered with search bar. Cleaned up profile page; where banner not present it is removed. Cleaned up login page. Images uploaded via the report composer will be dated with the report date. Report items had numerous fixes and upgrades including proper display of reports that had multiple images imported. Fixed issue with commenting on profiles and stories as well as pasting in HTML. Made forecast page show more thunder graphics. Testing out a new COOP observed precipitation map. Many bugs fixed and framework created for future projects.
This summer we are planning a less intense update schedule so we can focus on storm chasing. We have two key projects planned to arrive tentatively before July 21 revolving around storm chasing and video archives. I won't give any details as it only exists on paper so far. We currently have a category system but we want to reserve it for education, whereas an archive would handle video catalog/sales services for our storm chasers.
WISCONSINWX.COM has been in development for a couple years and it feels great to finally be clamping down on the Wisconsin Weather world!