I track the weather almost as often as I check the time. Constantly assessing weather information is important to me, mainly because of my work as a photographer, and it’s also important for a number of personal reasons. I check the weather at my current location. I also check the weather at other places where I might be going, and where people who are close to me are located.
My go-to app is Apple’s built-in weather app for the iPhone. But I also use several other weather apps by independent third-party developers. Through the years, I’ve amassed quite a number of different weather apps. When a new weather app pops up, I make sure to take a look. Sure, all weather apps basically tell me the same things, but they do so in different ways. I’m obsessed with the idea of how a weather app might present information in the best, clearest, easiest, and most useful way possible on my iPhone, on my iPad, and now, my Apple Watch.
WeatherNerd is a new weather app that I’ve been using a lot recently. When it came out, it immediately gained a lot of attention not only because of the way it presents its data through an amazingly designed interface and animation, but also with how it presents a different kind of information that’s not readily apparent in any of the previous weather apps.
Josh Wright of All Star Apps is the developer of WeatherNerd. WeatherNerd is his second app on the Apple App Store. The first app he developed was a calculator. I got really curious, and along the way, I got the chance to ask Josh a few questions about WeatherNerd.
Here it is —
DOMINIQUE JAMES: What made you decide to do a weather app?
JOSH WRIGHT: I'm from Norman, Oklahoma, home of the National Weather Center, so weather has always been a popular subject. Plus we have a lot of tornadoes around here which keeps things exciting.
DJ: Are there any weather apps developers like you near the National Weather Center?
JW: There are a number of weather developers here in Norman, but I don't know any of them personally. The build some really cool apps—“Radar Scope" is one of my favorites for sure—especially during tornado season.
DJ: How’d you come up with the app’s name and icon?
JW: The original name was "Yesterday's Weather" to be ironic and emphasize the comparative feature. Then it became "Weather Up" because "Yesterday's Weather" was too misunderstood and misleading. "Weather Up" felt pretty vanilla, so I showed my wife my list of ideas and she liked “WeatherNerd,” so I went for it!
DJ: How is WeatherNerd different from the many others? What sets it apart from the rest?
JW: The most unique WeatherNerd feature is the comparative forecast "9º warmer than yesterday" plus the graphs. I used to have another weather app (in 2009) that started out only showing the comparative forecast. I shut it down years later because I hadn't thought through how much weather data costs & it wasn't sustainable. So I built it again because people said they missed it and I've learned that “people asking for something" is a great way to drive development. Plus I was always bouncing between apps and wanted to build what I considered the perfect weather app (with hyperlocal, radar, comparative, graphs, etc).
DJ: How long did it take you to develop before publicly pushing v1.0?
JW: I started working on designs for Weather Nerd in April 2014, development in October 2014, and released in March 2015. It wasn't full time, Weather Nerd is something I do on the side.
DJ: What's the most challenging aspect of developing an app for iOS? The most challenging in developing WeatherNerd in particular?
JW: The most challenging aspect of iOS has to be the amount and quality of competition. I want to believe that building something great means success, but the idea and the implementation seem to be only half of the battle. There are so many "overnight success stories" that actually took years and years of hard, hopeless work to become popular. The scary part is when your dreams come true and the app blows up because you start seeing a lot of edge cases.
DJ: Any other apps in the pipeline you'd like to develop?
JW: I work on another app called Draft Night which is for Fantasy Football, so that's coming up soon. Otherwise, I think WeatherNerd will keep me busy for a while.
DJ: Other than developing apps, do you do other things? What are you into?
JW: I pretty much just write software and hang out with my family—pretty boring, i guess!
Notes: The WeatherNerd app is designed for both the iPhone and the iPad, and also for the Apple Watch. To check out and download the app, click here. For more information, visit the developer’s website, All Star Apps.