First of all, I want to clear something up. Despite some of my recent postings, I think WWL is an excellent application and I don’t see an issue with it now being charged for. Although many of us obviously believe the change over to shareware could have been handled better, I completely support your right to be compensated for your efforts. The problem is that you have a history of dropping things like this on your loyal user base without warning and I hope you can learn to do such things better in the future.
My biggest issue is that despite the feature set in WWL, plain old WW did a better job for me and now it’s basically and suddenly gone. If there were a contest in which served my needs better, WW or WWL, WW would still win. It’s a simpler app and has some “features” (in the fact that there are a wealth of skins and support files for it) that WWL lacks.
With that in mind, I offer a few suggestions/observations for WWL:
As I’ve said before, I really don’t like how WWL will open or take over my web browser and take me to WeatherBug’s website for so many of it’s features. It’s almost like WWL is Ad-ware for WeatherBug. Almost, but not quite. I think that the content should be displayed in WWL directly, or a WWL window, minus the ads, like the custom maps. Alternatively, I think the user might be given the option of removing the buttons from the interface.
Speaking of which, I think the built-in maps (Doppler, Lightning, Infrared,…) should display just the map without the rest of the web page, especially the ads. I don’t appreciate being blasted with ads in the Map Viewer window. There are more ads in those “maps” than there is map itself. The only reason those ads are there is that you’ve decided to show the whole web page from WeatherBug. Maybe this was a condition from WeatherBug in being allowed to use their maps. If that’s the case, please make it easier for the user to avoid using those maps. Give the user the option of taking them off of the map menu or put the user’s favorite maps at the top of the menu so they can reach them easier.
An underlying theme here is this: People generally don’t like looking at ads. We especially don’t like looking at ads in a piece of software that we paid to use. This what drew us all to the original WW all those years ago.
OK, enough of that, moving on: One thing that will be sorely missed is the animated icon set (Meteo Consult) that we were able to use with WW. These icons made the app so much more pleasant to the eye. To open WW and see the sun beaming or at least the clouds raining was fun! I really wish something like that would be made available for WWL. I wish I had the time to do it myself, but I don’t.
The promise of getting access to Weather Underground’s stations for WWL’s data feed makes it worth paying for. I really hope that promise comes to fruition soon. It will be a tremendous boost for WWL.
Finally, an observation/opinion: I believe the reason WW has such a wealth of skins developed and the forums provide such excellent support is because it was freeware and this was a way for people like myself to support the software with time as well as money. Now that WWL is shareware, I fear that such contributions will be significantly diminished because they feel they paid for the software already. For your sake and for the future of WWL I hope I’m wrong. If this does happen, perhaps a little incentive such as a free or discounted subscription for skin contributions might be good.