Introducing Poncho: a simple weather app for Android and iPhone

Jun 14, 2011

Poncho is a dead simple mobile web app for viewing current and next-day weather conditions. It works on Android and iOS, although it's tailored for non-tablet smartphone devices like Android phones, iPhone and iPod Touch. It's a mobile web app instead of a native app, so it may work on even more platforms, but I haven't tested it on anything else. If you go to app.getponcho.com on your device's browser, you can bookmark and/or add the app to your homescreen and run it virtually just like a native app.

Add to Homescreen on iOS and Android

Poncho basically consists of 2 simple views: a weather tab and a locations tab. The app will automatically detect your location (if you allow it to) and you can add other locations just by entering a zip code, city or place name into the input on the locations tab. View the weather for any of your locations just by tapping on the location. On the weather tab there's also a radar button that will take you to a weather radar integrated with Google Maps.

Background and Tech

For obvious reasons I've been hugely interested in mobile development for the last year or so. Between that and all kinds of new UI frameworks and tools springing up on an almost weekly - if not daily - basis, I wanted to jump head first into developing something for mobile platforms.

Poncho runs mainly on Spine, a lightweight MVC javascript framework for building web applications. Instead of the bloated jQuery, it uses the more lightweight and mobile-geared Zepto framework. Since I'm using YQL (Yahoo Query Language) as my weather API and HTML5 LocalStorage to store the user's locations, I needed to choose a javascript templating language as an efficient way to display the data. I chose Mustache for my Javascript templates for it's small size and efficient rendering.

I'm hosting Poncho on Google App Engine and have used Remy Sharp's awesome Inliner tool to inline all the HTML, CSS, Javascript and Images into 1 file. Since the main goal of the project was a learning experience and building an app that I myself would enjoy using, I've open sourced the project on GitHub. If you're trying the app out and having any problems or notice any bugs, please create an issue.

Plans

I'm starting to put together some features and additions I want to make to Poncho, including adding a landscape orientation view. I'm also considering packaging and bundling the project using PhoneGap so that it could possibly be distributed through the Android market.

Note: Poncho's weather icons are the awesome Mobydock icons by Wojciech Grzanka

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