ANNOUNCE: xfce4-weather-plugin 0.8.3 released

Harald Judt h.judt at
Mon Feb 18 20:49:18 CET 2013

xfce4-weather-plugin 0.8.3 is now available for download from

  SHA1 checksum: 1344000b6d7db4297d33079eaf599faf840a59d5
   MD5 checksum: 755b33089c02afe88abb39253003a7f3

What is xfce4-weather-plugin?

A weather plugin for the Xfce desktop environment


Release notes for 0.8.3
This release is quite a rewrite and brings along so many changes that
I'll simply try to summarize only the most important ones. Scroll down
for the complete release notes.

But first, an important notice for distributors and package
maintainers: Please read the README, it contains important information
about the new GeoNames build-time option! Updating to 0.8.3 is
strongly advised, as it fixes at least two severe bugs (HTTP/1.1 and
spamming webservices).

To all other users: Please read the README, the answers to your
questions might be in there. Please read TODO before asking for
feature requests and filing bug reports. Report bugs to the bug
tracker and issues with translations to the xfce i10n mailing list.

Short release notes:

* Replace internal HTTP implementation by libsoup; this gets the
  search dialog working again and makes the plugin future-proof
* Fix timezone issues by putting the plugin into the timezone of the
  chosen location
* Cache and interpolate data
  - possibly improves current weather
  - keeps plugin going for a while without internet connection
* Support icon themes (see README for using and creating themes!)
  - add brand new icon theme "Simplistic" by Simon Steinbeiß
  - add small variation of the "Liquid" theme for dark panels
  - improvements to existing icons
* Rework configuration dialog
  - settings are applied instantaneous
  - tooltips provide encyclopedic information about weather-related
    stuff, enhancing user-experience
  - the Location tab lets you tweak latitude, longitude, altitude and
    timezone (autodetection powered by GeoNames)
  - the Units page does away with the insufficient imperial/metric
    checkbox and empowers you to choose the units used in your
  - useful appearance tweaks
* Improve the scrollbox (font, color, multiple lines)
* Add new (calculated) values: dew point and apparent temperature
* Optimize CPU usage and power-save mode using upower
* Improve download handling and widget updates
* Improve UI feedback by making the main plugin container a panel
  toggle button
* Improve support for RTL languages
* Many translation updates
* Update README with important and useful information

Thanks to Simon Steinbeiß for contributing the brand new Simplistic
icon theme and his advice with the design of the new config dialog,
and to Masato Hashimoto for extensive testing. Also, many thanks to
all translators who spent a lot of work on the big amount of new,
often hard to translate strings (I think the plugin holds the
leadership regarding to the number of strings).

Complete release notes:


- Replace the old buggy weather-http implementation with libsoup.
  This solves compilation errors on some systems like Solaris and
  makes the plugin compatible with HTTP-1.1 chunked transfer
  encoding. Proxy settings are now handled via environment variables
  if set, which is how most other applications do it. Apart from that,
  communication is now asynchronous and doesn't block the UI (bug
- Fix a rather severe bug in 0.8.2 which caused sending a HTTP request
  to the forecast service every 15 seconds in case of a download
- Analyze HTTP status codes and implement API deprecation warning.
  Status codes and deprecation warning are visible as warnings in the
  panel output.
- Weather data downloads are performed every 20 minutes, astronomical
  data updates only once a day. In case of failure, there will be
  retries in shorter intervals for some time, then the plugin will
  return to the standard interval.
- Rewrite the update code. Update events are now processed in time, or
  in certain unforeseen cases like suspend/resume within an interval
  of maximum 10 seconds.
- Implement caching of data. Astronomical for the current day and
  weather data will be cached and read on startup and when location
  data is changed. Besides reducing network traffic and a seemingly
  faster startup, this means the plugin can operate without internet
  connection for a while. More information about caching is available
  in the README file.
- Improve calculation of daytime forecasts and current conditions.
- Caching of data also improves calculation of current conditions.
  Data for current conditions is now interpolated and calculated for 5
  minute intervals. If data for the beginning of the current interval
  is not available, the plugin reverts to the old, non-interpolating
  behaviour of being slightly to largely imprecise about the current
  weather, to a degree depending on the time interval for your
  location. In short, only data for the end of the current interval
  will be shown as earlier data is not provided by the forecast
- Fix/work around timezone problems by /moving/ the plugin into
  another timezone. This makes the plugin show local times of the
  chosen location and probably fixes other bugs that might occur
  when the user changes the timezone (bug #9524).
- Add a proper "About" dialog (bug #9379).
- Use panel toggle button instead of an event box as the main plugin
  container, to indicate whether forecast window is open or closed,
  and to give better UI feedback for the user. This is similar to
  other plugins like the datetime plugin.
- Remove info button from summary window.
- Remove forecast entry from plugin context menu (bug #9319).
- Remember last selected tab in config and summary windows. However,
  the setting is not saved to the config file.
- Reformat detailed weather report in summary window.
- Fix cursor not changing correctly in details tab.
- Fix logo transparency issue with some themes in details tab.
- Show tooltips for forecast cells in summary window.
- Show information about previous and scheduled downloads in the
  details tab.
- Update comments for the weather symbol descriptions.
- New value: Apparent temperature (bug #9564).
- New value: Dew point.
- Rename value: Atmospheric pressure is barometric pressure.
- Rename value: Humidity is relative humidity.
- Rename value: Medium clouds is middle clouds.
- Guess amount of snow precipitation from rain.
- Use more digits for precipitations in inches.
- The new config dialog applies options immediately and contains
  explanatory tooltips for nearly every item.
- New options to set latitude and longitude manually.
- New option to set the altitude (in meters or feet, depending on
  the chosen unit on the units page). The elevation model
  is not very good outside Norway.
- Altitude is auto-detected using the GeoNames web service, which
  isn't perfect but better than the elevation model outside
  Norway and free. GeoNames data can improve over time by receiving
  voluntary contributions.
- Rework unit system support. The simple but lacking METRIC/IMPERIAL
  units option has been replaced with single options for every unit
  so that the user can create a customized unit system, with more
  units available than before. It still tries to set up the right
  "set" at location auto-detection, based on the country code.
- Use g_timeout_add_seconds for scrollbox updates where applicable
  instead of g_timeout_add. This has the potential to save CPU time.
- Add scrollbox toggle option. Saves CPU time significantly.
- Disabling scrollbox animation reduces CPU time sigificantly.
- Improve handling of scrollbox updates. Updates don't disturb or
  restart animations in many cases and seem to happen more seamlessly,
  except when desired, e.g. on user-provoked data resets.
- New option to set font size manually and removed code that did it
  automatically (bug #9369).
  Font settings can be undone by middle-clicking on the button.
- Implement scrollbox text color support (bug #7488).
  Text color can be undone by middle-clicking on the button.
- Implement scrollbox multi-line support (bug #5722).
- Option to round values in scrollbox, tooltip and forecast tab, which
  makes the widgets look a bit cleaner. In the details tab, always the
  exact values will be shown (bug #9509 and bug #9318).
- The user may now choose from two different forecast layouts: "Days
  in columns", a calendar-like variant similar to the one in pre-0.8
  versions, and "Days in rows" which was used beginning with
  0.8.0. The latter is still the default.
- Implement tooltip styles: In addition to the default tooltip that
  some people might find a bit verbose, a simple tooltip style is now
  available, showing only some interesting values. This is a bit
  experimental, and either the current solution will be enhanced,
  probably by providing more styles, or dropped completely to keep
  things simple.
- This version introduces icon theme support! The user can add folders
  with icon sets to ~/.config/xfce4/weather/icons and select them on
  the appearance tab on the configuration dialog. Icon themes will also
  be searched in the THEMEDIR specified at compile time. Please read
  the docs for more information if you're interested in creating icon
  themes (bug #6464).
- Improve liquid icons: Crop the borders and resize the icons while
  applying sharpness filters etc. This makes them look bigger and
  easier discernable.
- New icon theme "Simplistic" by Simon Steinbeiß, which should look
  good on light and dark panels.
- New icon theme "Liquid Dark", a variation of the liquid icon theme
  better suited for dark panels.
- Add optional support for upower for extending battery life. Power
  saving can be disabled via a hidden option in the config file.
- Improvements for translators of RTL languages.
- Use GArrays for storing timeslices and glib data structures in many
  other places to improve portability and maintenance.
- Rewrite and refactor most code, fixing and protecting against
  possible crashes.
- Make building the plugin work with automake-1.13 (bug #9763).

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