Futura Weather Improved

Futura Weather was my favorite watch face for my pebble watch. What I like the most about it is it’s minimalist look but still managed to show all the important stuff and something extra. The built-in Simplicity watch face is a close contender but it doesn’t display the current day of week. Sure there are minor modifications to the Simplicity watch face but there’s just something about the two-tone stripe of Futura Weather that makes it so appealing.

However it was quite buggy and noticeably so. One big annoyance that I have with it is that it can’t seem to reconnect to the phone if the network or bluetooth connection gets disconnected. Thus it kept displaying a crossed out phone symbol until I switched out to another watch face and switch back in.

Source Sans Pro watch face

Apparently Futura Weather’s author (Niknam Moslehi) hasn’t maintained the watch app for more than a year now. Pebble’s own developer Katharine Berry have been pitching in to fix a few bugs but as of this writing, the disconnection bug was still very apparent.

So I’ve downloaded Pebble SDK and took a peek on Futura Weather’s source code. Apparently the disconnection bugs seems to be not too hard to fix. I’ve also made the watch to respond to wrist flicks to reload the weather data if there were connection errors in the last load cycle.

Those patches were contributed back to Katharine Berry via a pull request in Github. The ball is in her hands right now whether those patches gets into the official Futura Weather in Pebble’s catalog and into users wrists.

But just in case those folks are too busy to get my patches in, I feel that I probably need to publish it as my own watch face. However I can’t just claim “Futura Weather Fixed” as the watch face name – I’ll need to put in my own improvements as well.

I’ve contemplated to add in more weather forecasts, maybe alternate the display to a 3-day forecast when the wrist is shaken. In fact I used another watch face which does this – Mini Weather. However personal experience shows these forecasts are rarely accurate. Hence since the weather display is mostly for ornamental purposes, I’ve decided not to add this in.

So instead I chose to improve the font instead. I’ve been looking into placing Helvetica Neue as a watch face but couldn’t. The nature of a Pebble watch app project requires me to include the entire font file as part of the project sources and Helvetica Neue isn’t exactly redistributable. The same redistribution restriction probably applies for the Futura font as well (but the font file is in the project sources anyway).

The best alternative Helvetica Neue lookalike that can be redistributed is Adobe’s Source Sans Pro font – complete with it’s own Github project. So I’ve used that font instead.

QR Code to download Source Sans Pro from Pebble StoreThere you have it. A slightly better Futura Weather watch face from us with a fully open font: Source Sans Pro Weather. Download the source code from this link or scan the QR Code on the right to download it to your watch.

That’s all for now. Take care.


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