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Flickr Hacks by Jim Bumgardner, Paul Bausch

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Chapter 6. API Basics

Hacks 37-42

There’s an obvious reason why Flickr has a larger and more active community of hackers, tinkerers, and geeks than most other photo-sharing services. It’s the incredible application programming interface (API), which lets you interact with Flickr in unique and powerful ways. The API makes it possible to perform Herculean tasks that would otherwise be impossible, or at least extremely tedious, for a human. For example, Chapter 7 shows how to use the API to download thousands of photographs and build an elaborate and beautiful photo mosaic. In this chapter, you’ll learn the fundamentals of communicating with the API, as well as the important kinds of information that the API traffics in.

The API Page

You can learn to use the Flickr API without memorizing anything, but there is one URL you might want to commit to memory:

http://www.flickr.com/services/api/

This is the location of Flickr’s API documentation page (which we’ll refer to as “the API page” for short). The API page contains a list of each of the API methods, which are services that Flickr can perform for you. Each method listed on the page is linked to a description of that particular method.

Some programmers, this one included, access the API page frequently enough that we can type the URL faster than we’d be able to find the bookmark.

API Methods

The Flickr API methods are organized into groups by functionality. This section provides a quick overview of API as a whole, but we recommend that you ...

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