Version 7 and Above

Starting with version 7, Zap Weather fully supports Joomla 2.5.  Features include 3, 12 and 24 hour forecasts, observation and alert displays and support for automatic updating of weather data using a cron job.

Installing the Component

Like other Joomla components, install the component using the extensions manager.  Once installed, go the the Zap Weather component page in the back-end to define your location.  Zap Weather's forecast feature utilizes the latitude/longitude values in the location settings.  Enter the values for your location, or you can enter a zipcode to lookup the latitude/longitude values.

Once your location is saved, you can now create a menu item for your location.  Select the Zap Calendar / Single Location option, specify the location and weather settings and save your menu.  You can now select the menu item on the front end to display the weather for the location you just created. (Note: the initial beta only supports 12 and 24 hour forecasts).

Beginning with version 8, a module and plugin are included and are automatically installed. You will need to enable the Zap Weather plugin using the Joomla plugin manager.  The plugin is located in the content folder.

Cronjob Support

Using the cronjob feature can greatly enhance the performance of your site.  When the cronjob is not in use, users visiting your website may trigger a data pull from the NWS site, slowing performance.  When the cronjob is used, users are not slowed down by data pulls.

The cronjob support is greatly simplified in version 7.  From the global settings in Zap Weather, turn off the option "Front-End Data Refresh".  You will then need a cronjob to run at a regular interval (every 10 minutes is suggested).  This cronjob will include a URL similar to the following:

This URL can be run from a browser for testing purposes, but you will need to include the IP address of your computer in the IP setting in Zap Weather's global settings


Version 6 Instructions

These are the installation steps for version 6, which is for Joomla 1.5 only.


Global Settings

Ensure your time offset is correct for your locale in Joomla's global settings.  This setting is used to calculate the local time for Z Weather.

Installing the Component

The Z Weather component is required and should be installed before installing the module or cron job script.   After installing the component, create a Z Weather menu item in mainmenu or the menu you are using for your site.  From the Z Weather menu item screen, update the forecast period setting to either a 3 hour period (8 icons per day),  12 hour period (2 icons per day) or 24 hour period (1 icon per day).

Click the "refresh cache" button in the administrator screen. This will download the weather data from the NWS server for the sample locations as well as display diagnostic information.  Your site should now be displaying weather data for the default locations installed with Z Weather. From the Z Weather location administration screen, you should see several green status icons for the cache status.

If you don't see any green status icons,  enable Z Weather's debug mode in the Z Weather settings screen and refresh the web site page again.  If you receive "access denied" errors, then your server's ISP is most likely blocking outbound network traffic from your server to the remote weather data server. Check with your ISP to correct this.

Entering Your Location Data

Once you have verified the test data is working correctly, you can delete or unpublish it and add your own.  Create a new location for your particular location.  Note the location id and update the Z Weather menu item data with this new location id.  Click the "refresh cache" button or refresh the front-end web page to see the weather for your new location.

Installing the Module

The module is required if you wish to display weather data on your home page or any page other than the Z Weather component page on your web site.  After installation, the module must be opened and then saved in order for it to function properly.  If you are using only a single location, set the location id field to zero ("0").  If you are using multiple locations and you wish to display only one of those locations, change the location id to the value that matches the location in the Z Weather administration screen.

Tip: Z Weather can run in multiple modules. Using the copy module feature in Joomla, you can display Z Weather in various ways. For example, you can have two modules display the same location, one module showing the forecast and current conditions while the other module shows the alert text.  Place the alert text module at the top of the page for higher visibility.

Installing the Cron Job Script

The cron job script is an optional feature that allows the creation of all XML and HTML cache files to be created in the background.  Normally, these files are created while users are visiting your site, which can cause delays in displaying pages.  The cron job helps tremendously for sites with multiple Z Weather locations.  Not all web hosting providers support the use of cron jobs. Check with your provider.  The "cronzweather" script is used for the cron job.  The syntax for using this script is:



Change the "" to your website URL that has Z Weather installed.  If you have more than one site using Z Weather, you can add sites to the command line to include them in the cron job.  This is the command that will be run from the crontab file, but it can also be executed manually from a command line for testing purposes, however, not all web hosting sites allow command line access.


The cron job is typically run at 10 or 15 minute intervals, however, it can run at longer intervals if required.   XML Cache timeouts are specified in the administrator settings screen (prior releases required modification to the cron job script).  The XML cache timeout values should be a multiple of the cron job interval.  For example, if the cron job is run every 10 minutes, then XML cache refresh values of 10, 20, 30, 50 , 60 etc. can be used. For a cron job running every 15 minutes, then a cache refresh values of 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, etc. can be used.  To complete the cron job the installation, set the "cache refresh mode" option to "Background cache refresh (cron)".  To verify the cron job is actually updating the data, you should see the message "Cache was last updated by cron job x minutes ago" in the Z Weather administrator screen after the cron job updates the weather data the first time.

For more information on installing the cron job script, refer to the README file which can be found by clicking here.

Wrapping It All Up

Once you have successfully tested the component and module with the desired display features, all that is left is to turn on HTML caching in the Z Weather settings screen.  If display features are modified in the future,  you will need to clear or refresh Z Weather's cache to see the changes immediately.  Z Weather's cache can be cleared either from the "Clear Cache" button in Z Weather's administration screen, or by selecting the "Clear All Application Cache" from the administrator menu.