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ClimaCell Micro Weather API vs. DarkSky API

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ClimaCell Micro Weather API vs. DarkSky API

For any developer searching for a weather API and feeling overwhelmed by the options, I thought I’d share what I learned about these two APIs.

· Integration Zone ·
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I was recently looking at weather APIs and was a bit overwhelmed by the number of choices out there. Two of the more popular options I came across are the DarkSky API and ClimaCell’s Micro Weather API. While both deliver all the basic weather parameters I needed, I found several differences between the two. Overall, DarkSky is a good API if you want basic weather data, but it didn’t seem to provide much beyond what I’ve seen in free weather APIs. The ClimaCell Micro Weather API seems to provide much more detailed data and it refreshes every minute with updated data. What I learned from comparing weather APIs is that most APIs that provide data every minute are recycling the same data that was sent in the previous five to twenty minutes. With this in mind, ClimaCell is better for applications where you want to make sure the data is fresh. This is just one of the things I learned when doing my comparisons. For any developer searching for a weather API and feeling overwhelmed by the options, I thought I’d share what I learned about these two APIs.

DarkSky API

First, let’s take a look at the DarkSky API. This API is well known because of the DarkSky app, which has a very friendly user-interface for consumers that makes it simple to understand the forecast for that day. The folks at DarkSky carried over this simplicity in their API in that it is very easy to use and can incorporate a lot of parameters into one call. However, the data itself doesn’t seem to extend too far beyond what you can get in free APIs. Many standard parameters like temperature are delivered in hourly chunks. DarkSky also has a map feature, which is basically a URL that allows you to embed their map into your application. This means you’re tied to their look and feel and if you have a map view in your app, you can’t layer DarkSky data into your map, but have to make users switch over and see a DarkSky map. Overall, a very easy API to use, but lacking some ingredients.

ClimaCell Micro Weather API

ClimaCell’s API seems to be more advanced in that it has some data and features that you can’t get in free APIs (although, ClimaCell does also have a free version of their API that has comparable data to DarkSky’s). ClimaCell returns minute-by-minute data for multiple parameters, which will probably matter to any app that wants to show anything beyond “here’s what the temperature will be in an hour.” In addition, ClimaCell includes customizable alerting capabilities that are triggered by certain weather conditions. They also have a better map functionality that can layer weather tiles into any existing map application, vs. making people use their map the way DarkSky does. This was a big plus for me; I was able to get the overlay integrated with my map in just a few minutes.

Overall, both APIs are very good and easy to use. The one you choose will depend on what you’re building and your sensitivity to data age plus factors like spatial zoom. DarkSky is best for people who just need very basic data that they could also get from free APIs, while ClimaCell provides more detailed microdata at a lower altitude and with faster refresh times, as well as some more functionality like the alerts. Basically, if you need a more powerful fully-featured app, the Micro Weather API is a better bet.

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Topics:
api ,weather api ,comparison ,app development ,integration ,apis

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