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Flickr API Fun

I like stuff I can pick up and do something useful with in an hour or two. Perhaps my attention span is too short, but if I have to read a 300 page spec before I get to Hello World, then it's not for me. Or you would at least have to pay me a lot of money to suffer through it. I think people refer to this as "immediacy". For me I think it is mostly lazyness. If I can't figure it out in an hour, it's broken as far as I am concerned.

Flickr's REST API is not broken. You can read all about it at There are links there to various wrappers for the API, but I ended up writing my own. I have a bad habit of doing that. This entry will focus on my PHP wrapper for the Flickr API. It is based on Cal's version and is compatible with it, but it expands on it and puts some PHP 5.1 features to good use. You can see it here:

Before you get started, in case you want to follow along, go get yourself an API key at

You will need two pieces of information to fully use the API. An API key and an API secret. And if you are going to do anything that requires authentication, you need to set a callback url as well. More on that later. To get your secret after applying for and getting your API key, go to

and click on "Edit Configuration".

Many functions in the API do not require authentication. Getting a list of someone's public photos, for example, is something anybody can do by just browsing Flickr, or by just going to this URL:

Guess what, you just sent a REST Web Services query. Or, slightly cooler. A list of tags related to the tag you provide based on Flickr's clustering code.

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