Weather Underground Goes JSON-Only With New, Freemium API

Garrett Wilkin
Sep. 12 2011, 09:37AM EDT

Popular weather data site Weather Underground (Wunderground) has a new version of its Weather Underground API and two things are notable: its former XML service is being phased out in favor of JSON. And it has a very clear pricing structure, though there's a free version for non-commercial projects.

The API pricing structure is clearly defined and quite reasonable.  It fits into the freemium category with zero cost plans available for developers and other light users.  To get serious, like 10 thousand calls per minute kind of serious, only costs between $300 - 750.  I have to think that if I was able to generate that many API calls per minute to Wunderground’s service, 750 bucks would be a bargain.  The real kicker is the historical data set which will cost you $500 - 5,000, though that, too, is free in the developer version. There's also a basic paid plan for $20 per month, with a reasonable rate limit of 5,000 calls per day.

A key note here is that Wunderground decided to offer the JSON format first in this new incarnation of their API.  XML was the format of choice in the original iteration.  This is yet another sign of JSON’s wide acceptance as a standard in the API industry.

The documentation of this API is detailed and lets you test drive the API calls in just a few minutes.  There are also “Hello World” implementations written in PHP, Ruby, Python, and Javascript. Error logging and rate limit use monitoring are built into the API.  Wunderground is clearly working to be hospitable to its future API partners.

This is one of 16 weather APIs in the index, which does not include Google's Secret Weather API.

Garrett Wilkin

Comments

Comments(2)

Your article states "there’s a free version for non-commercial projects.". That's great... but where do you see that on Weather Underground's site? I couldn't find it, and when I emailed Weather Underground's Matthew Gregory, was told that "All of the queries that your app generates (through anyone that uses it) will count towards your key usage."

Any light you can shed on this will be appreciated.

[...] In addition to new entrants, there was an update from at least one of the old stalwarts. The Weather Underground API made a bunch of changes, including a transparent pricing plan. It was an especially developer-friendly approach since Weather Underground replaced XML with JSON. [...]