Weather In The Taskbar

How to show weather information in the Windows 7 taskbar using native system functionality.

By Den Delimarsky in Projects

February 2, 2010

I decided to enter the CodeProject “Windows @ Work” article contest. The idea behind it is creating an application that is using some of the new features Windows 7 has introduced.

Since I had some experience developing software that is using the new Windows 7 features (the taskbar and associated jumplists, to be specific), I thought that it would be a good idea to participate in this contest as well.

After a short period of brainstorming and whiteboard drawing, I decided to use the full potential of the Windows 7 taskbar. The application I have created is called WeatherBar, and it uses the taskbar to display weather conditions in a specific location. I used Google Weather API as the interface to worldwide weather (it is easier to use and it returns enough data in a single API call).

The main application window looks like this:

Weather application screenshot for Windows 7

The UI is pretty simple. The image on the left represents the current conditions in the city/town specified. The current temperature is represented both in Fahrenheit and Celsius scales. Then there comes the humidity and the forecast for the next four days.

The numbers above each of the four days represent the highest and the lowest temperature expected for the day.

To specify the location, the user should click on the Change Location label.

Here, the user can either enter the location directly or use the Location Selector, which is useful if the user lives in the United States – once clicking the button with the globe, a window with a map will appear.

Changing the location for the weather app

There, the state can be either selected on the map, or through the list on top. Once selected, the second list will become populated with the cities/towns in that specific state.

But let’s get to the most interesting point of this application. So far, it is not much different from any weather application/gadget out there. What makes it special is the ability to use the taskbar to display the actual weather conditions, so that the user doesn’t have to switch to the application directly or view the desktop to look whether the humidity is high and there is a chance of rain.

Here is how it looks like. The humidity is displayed via a progress bar inside the application icon in the taskbar. Whenever the humidity is normal, the progress bar is green.

Taskbar icon showing normal humidity

When the humidity is above average, the progress bar turns yellow.

Taskbar icon showing above average humidity

And when the humidity is high, the progress bar is red.

Taskbar icon showing high humidity

As you probably noticed, the icon is different from one case to another. The application icon represents the current conditions and is updated every 3 minutes (so does every weather parameter).

What about the forecast? Well the user doesn’t have to go far to find that either. All he has to do is right-click on the application icon.

Weather forecast in the Windows 7 taskbar

A jumplist will appear, showing the forecast for the next four days (excluding the current one, obviously). The icons on the left also represent the conditions for specific days. If clicked, the link will bring you to the Google Weather API page for the current location (which is stored in the application settings).

What I personally like about this application, is that I don’t need to look anywhere but my taskbar to find the current weather, therefore I am not distracted much from whatever I am working on.

If you are curious to see my contest entry (as well as download the early build of WeatherBar), you can visit this page. This project was also covered on Lifehacker.

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