What the Dark Sky Acquisition means for Hello Weather
Hello friends. You might have seen yesterday’s news that Dark Sky has been acquired by Apple, and they’ll be shutting down their API services next year.
You might have also noticed that Hello Weather uses Dark Sky’s API for a bunch of things. So does that spell doom for Hello Weather too?
This isn’t too big of a problem for us. We’ll continue to run Hello Weather long into the future.
In fact, several years ago, we saw this coming. When we first made Hello Weather, it originally only worked with Dark Sky. Then Dark Sky had a brief outage, which meant that WE had a brief outage too.
At that point, we realized we don't want to have our product dependent on a specific company—especially in the tech industry, where companies come and go at warp speed.
So to safeguard ourselves, we pioneered the idea of having multiple different weather providers in the same app. We built a big complex system to unify multiple companies’ data into our unique design, and added special logic so we could switch between them if any provider had operations trouble. We added Weather Underground first, then The Weather Channel, AccuWeather, and AerisWeather. (We even have a fallback radar service, in case our main provider goes belly-up.)
This also worked out great for customers, because having multiple forecast options in one app is awesome! Since then, lots of other apps have adopted this approach too, and it's become a standard practice.
So what will change when Dark Sky’s API is kaput?
For us, at least two things:
- We’ll be adding more data providers in the next few months.
- We’ll eventually switch to a new default provider, since Dark Sky is currently our default.
That's really it. No big deal.
It’s possible that we won’t be able to support the real-time precipitation info like Dark Sky had, but we’re going to try our best to replace that with something new. We’ll keep you posted.
Final note: congratulations to the Dark Sky team!
It’s no understatement to say that Hello Weather wouldn’t exist at all if they hadn’t built such a unique, accessible product (and graciously opened it up for developers to use so easily.) We started out as a couple of uninformed weather newbies, and Dark Sky literally gave us the tools to create something new.
It’s bittersweet to see them go, because we love the independent spirit of small companies making big things. But we’re grateful for the years of support and help they gave to us, and we’re looking forward to seeing whatever they cook up at Apple. Cheers to them.