Meet this Year’s Model of the World Clock & Weather Web Part: Now with RSS Feeds, Calendar and Bing Maps Integration

It's the last day before the holiday break, and there are still several to-do's in need of crossing off my list, but how could I leave without continuing my annual tradition of blogging the release of the this year's model of our popular World Clock & Weather Web Part, Bamboo's annual holiday gift to the SharePoint community?  I couldn't, of course…

This being the 2010 release, it's only appropriate that this is the first release of World Clock & Weather Web Part with all-new features to be made available for SharePoint 2010, and that's exactly what we've done.  Of course, as ever, the World Clock & Weather Web Part is also available in a 2007 version as well, and yes, both versions are yours for free.

But wait, there's much more, in the way of new features and enhancements to the Web Part.  Local RSS feeds so you can receive local news (and more) related to a given location?  Check.  Integration with SharePoint Calendars so you can see upcoming events?  Check.  Integration with Bing Maps so you can easily see information pertaining to specific addresses in a given location?  Check.  And last but not least, new and improved user interface, including new links and icons?  Check, and check.

We actually quietly snuck the new version of the World Clock & Weather Web Part into the storefront last week, but things have been so hectic that it wasn't until yesterday that I even had a chance to get a glimpse of the new features available in this year's model, but today I'm ready to share what I've seen with you.

Once you've added the new World Clock & Weather Web Part to your SharePoint site, by default, you'll see the display for Reston, VA (aka Bamboo HQ).  Shifting into Edit Mode of the Web Part, you'll see the ability to add to or replace Reston with locations of your choosing (as always), but the new feature in the Weather Location configuration that you'll note in the new version is the addition of RSS feeds.  Within the configuration pane, you'll want to click the RSS Feeds hyperlink, which can be seen in the lower right portion of the image show below:

World Clock & Weather Web Part Configuration inlcuding RSS feed link

Clicking the RSS Feeds hyperlink will spawn a new browser window offering a handy KB article, How to: Add RSS feed links to a World Clock & Weather Web Part location.  Once a given location has been configured with an associated RSS feed (i.e., local news, local traffic, etc.), you'll see the RSS icon accompanying that location's display within the Web Part like so:

World Clock & Weather Web Part RSS feed feature

Naturally, clicking the RSS icon will display the feed, as shown in the image above.  Since the configuration differs between 2007 and 2010, I'm going to ask that you kindly refer to the abovementioned KB rather than regurgitate the same information here.  (And when you visit that KB, you'll see where I pilfered the above image from; all other images herein are my own work though, scout's honor.)

As you continue to scroll through the configuration pane in edit mode, the second new feature you'll discover is the ability to integrate the Web Part with Upcoming Events via SharePoint calendars:

World Clock & Weather Web Part Configuration pane: Show upcoming events from a SharePoint calendar

As you can see, all you need to do to pull in the events from your SharePoint calendar of choice is plug in the URL of the site where the calendar resides, adding a display name for the events list if you wish.  As with the RSS icon, there will be a calendar icon which will appear in the Web Part display once it's been configured.  In the image below, you can see both the calendar icon (and its accompanying "Upcoming events" label), as well as the RSS icon:

World Clock & Weather Web Part with Upcoming Events and RSS icon showing

And for our final trick with this new release, clicking on the location name in the Web Part (Reston, VA in the example shown above) will automatically spawn a new browser window which will display the Bing Map for the location in question.  Here's the Bing page that clicking the Reston link shown above opens:  http://www.bing.com/maps/?q=Reston, VA.  The best part?  There's no configuration required on the part of the end user for the Bing Maps integration.  In addition to the Web Part itself, you get that configuration for free, courtesy of your friends at Bamboo.  (Hint: If your preferred Maps site of choice is not Bing, however, you can easily override the default Bing behavior by manually populating the Link with another URL of your choosing in the configuration pane.)

Happy holidays, everybody … don't forget to deck the halls with boughs of Web Parts!

(But before you do that, don't forget to download your free copy of World Clock & Weather Web Part for 2007 or 2010 today.)

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