I'm trying very hard to walk through all the options and tools available for connectivity, analysis and site updates. I have a community web site that I want to post as close to live data as possible. I also have Windows Home Server (WHS) with a 6 MB full time connection to the internet that runs 24/7. So the issue of a PC being on all the time is not a concern. My questions are;
a) Pros & Cons of the WeatherLink IP or USB version? The cost isn't a issue. I'm looking for stability and speed with frequent/live updates
b) What other software or tools will be required to make/produce a professional looking and up to date weather site?
As you have noticed, it's not an easy decision - and highly dependent on individual desires.
First: if you desire to have automatic uploads to http://www.weatherlink.com/
and automatically have a site that looks like (for example) http://www.weatherlink.com/user/rjhhlc/
with no customizations, and no work at all, then the WeatherLinkIP is the only Davis interface that will do that. I don't detect that is what you are interested in.
[Note: using the WeatherLinkIP doesn't keep you from also doing your own website - but it does slightly complicate things, and since it's a fairly new device, it seems to be less stable than the other interfaces]
The other TWO interfaces are USB and Serial. I'm personally using the serial interface. A few unlucky people experience problems with the USB interface, but it's certainly more "modern" than the serial interface. [Note: I actually use the serial interface with a serial-to-USB adapter].
Other than the hardware, those two interfaces are equivalent. You run some software on your computer to communicate with the serial/USB data logger that's plugged into the console (you knew that already).
You buy the interface with the Davis WeatherLink software application, so I suggest you start with that. You can make a reasonably nice website fairly easily with the Davis-supplied templates, and then modify them to suit your preferences. See mine at http://www.thecoys.net/weather/Current_Vantage_Pro_Plus.htm
[Note: there's a live "ticker" that Davis supplies, that I don't use. Here's an example site: http://www.sandrandon.net/SanDonWeb//Weather_files/Current_Vantage_Pro.htm
- look at the top of the page]
Congratulations on being a Windows Home Server user (as am I) - I'm sure you know that installing applications on WHS isn't exactly "supported" (nor is it unsupported) - but it should do just fine for you.
Anyhow - I recommend starting with using the WeatherLink software. Because it's a no-extra-cost solution that may be what you want. There are other packages out there that are attractive, too. I'm sure other folks will show up to point them out. You should look carefully at them, and make an early decision because sometimes it's not easy to convert "historical" data to a different software application.
Hope that helps.