The Weather Network (API Storefront)
Making weather data accessible to the masses with The Weather Network
About The Weather Network
The Weather Network (TWN) is a leader in international multi-platform consumer weather and weather-related services. Specializing on a multitude of digital platforms, The Weather Network also owns and operates Canada’s only weather specialty television network. As one of the most popular websites for weather information for Canadians and people around the world, receiving over 47.5 million visitors per month, they’re always looking for opportunities to make weather data more accessible to the masses.
To make weather data more accessible to the masses, TWN approached Lazer to help design and build an API storefront that would give developers and customers the ability to use TWN’s weather data directly in their application.
As more platforms and ecosystems emerge such as Voice, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, etc, more and more developers look for different ways to create applications that provide value. For many applications and use-cases, the weather plays an important role, however getting access to reliable, accurate, up-to-the minute weather information is difficult for most developers. As a result, it was important for The Weather Network to open up and unleash the information they have at their fingertips, and enable others to use that data to offer new and unique experiences.
Establishing a seamless, simple way for anyone to access an API
When developers look for an API to use to power their applications, they essentially are looking for one that can offer them the features they desire and one which they can start using as quickly as possible. Since The Weather Network’s API endpoints already covered a broad range of capabilities, our primary goal here was to make the storefront as seamless and frictionless as possible for any developer to obtain an API key and start using The Weather Network’s data. The easier and faster it was to get started, the better. To tackle this, we made sure to follow API-first design principles and include:
• A one-step registration flow to create an account and begin trialing an API.
• Interactive user documentation for all the API endpoints.
• Clear, transparent pricing and list of features.
• Frequently asked questions and their respective answers.
• Seamless transitions between French and English content.
• API usage monitoring dashboard.
Determining an effective, pricing model
When deciding on the pricing model to abide by, there were a number of considerations to take into account. Ultimately we landed on a tiered-usage model, that is composed of a base monthly subscription cost for a fixed amount of API calls, followed by an overage charge in case the user wants to go above the tier’s usage limits. With this pricing model, we were able to ensure we provide users with predictable pricing and to ensure their applications never shut down unexpectedly. And in order to give developers the opportunity to get their feet wet with the API, we provided a free tier as well, which contains a small amount of API calls available with a maximum of 1 API key.
Handling payment processing seamless with Stripe
Stripe is the best software platform for handling payment processing for any internet business. With Stripe, we were able to handle the complexities of a subscription product as well as scaling of overage charges, as well as attribute many different types of products for a given customer.
Leverage AWS for managing APIs effectively and securely handling user authentication
To solve for a critical piece of the API storefront experience, we leveraged Amazon API Gateway and Amazon Cognito extensively. Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service that makes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale. With Amazon API Gateway, it allowed us to handle all the tasks involved in accepting and processing up to hundreds of thousands of concurrent API calls, and distribute secure API keys to developers. Amazon Cognito allowed us to add user sign-up, sign-in, and access control to the storefront application with ease. It handled user authentication and all of the surrounding complexities associated with it.
Designing and building an intuitive web experience
With the goal of making the API storefront web experience intuitive, seamless, and scalable, we leveraged React, Node.js and Ant Design. With these frameworks and technologies, we were able to create a dynamic, sleek looking interface that provides users with an exceptional experience.
As a result of Lazer’s collaboration with The Weather Network, we successfully launched an API storefront that The Weather Network could surface to developers and customers to easily access their APIs. Unfortunately since then, TWN has deprecated the frontend experience, but still offers API access upon demand. We’re excited to continue working with The Weather Network in the future.