Branch: master
Find file Copy path
Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
84 lines (62 sloc) 3.59 KB
layout: post
title: My Flickr photos with RoR
date: 2007-10-05 00:42:51
updated: 2008-05-20 12:05:59
<div class="narrow-col">
<p>As I had some troubles finding out how to show some of my own Flickr photos on this site using the Flickr API and Ruby on Rails I thought it would be useful to write it down in a small tutorial.</p>
<h2>STEP 1: Finding a library: rFlickr</h2>
<p>Flickr lists 3 possible Ruby frameworks for their API. After trying flickr.rb (no longer available) and not being able to login I decided to switch to <a href="" title="The Flickr API kit I choose">rFlickr</a> as it seems the most popular one.</p>
<p>Start with installing the rFlickr library. You may need to uninstall a previous library if you installed another one earlier.</p>
{% highlight bash %}
gem install rflickr
{% endhighlight %}
<h2>STEP 2: Get a Flickr API key</h2>
<p>Flickr doesn't use the username/password combination as most other API's do. An application can ask for permissions which the user has to grant. A token is returned when this is done allowing the application to connect the next time so we'll only have to do this once. <a href="" title="Request an API key">Apply for a key</a> at the Flickr website and remember the key and the shared secret. I use a &ldquo;Web Application&rdquo; key as I want to use it for my blog.</p>
<h2>STEP 3: Get a Flickr token</h2>
<p>Start your development environment:</p>
{% highlight bash %}
{% endhighlight %}
<p>Next load the newly installed rFlickr module and ask for a Flickr frob using the API key and shared secret you got earlier.</p>
{% highlight ruby %}
>> require 'flickr'
=> []
>> flickr ='/tmp/flickr.cache', YOUR_KEY, YOUR_SECRET)
=> #<Flickr:0x...
>> flickr.auth.login_link
=> ''
{% endhighlight %}
<p>This will return a URL you need to copy &amp; paste in your browser to allow the application to read, write and delete your photos. If you don't need all this permissions your can add the &lsquo;perms&rsquo; parameter for a less greedy permissions. Use the following if you only need read access to the photos:</p>
{% highlight ruby %}
>> flickr.auth.login_link(perms='read')
{% endhighlight %}
<p>Allow the application to access your photos when you open the URL. You can request the forb we need and make sure to to keep it for now.</p>
{% highlight ruby %}
>> flickr.auth.getFrob
=> '7215760...'
{% endhighlight %}
<p>Now we&apos;ll need a token. The token is more permanent as the frob but we need the forb to get one. Finally cache the token:</p>
{% highlight ruby %}
>> flickr.auth.getToken('YOUR_FROB')
=> #<Flickr::Token:0x...
>> flickr.auth.cache_token
=> 154
{% endhighlight %}
<h2>STEP 4: Give me my photos!</h2>
<p>Now it&apos;s time to do something more useful with the token. What about showing the thumbnails of the 6 last added photos? We'll need your NSID which is the strange number in your Flickr URL that looks like 26227936@N00.</p>
{% highlight ruby %}
def flickr
require 'flickr'
photos =
flickr ='/tmp/flickr.cache', 'YOUR_KEY', 'YOUR_SECRET')
photo_list = flickr.people.getPublicPhotos('YOUR_NSID','',6)
photo_list.each do |photo|
photos.push( {'id' =>, 'source' => photo.sizes[:Square].source} )
return photos
{% endhighlight %}
<p>Look, you now have an array with the last 6 posted public photos and their ID. Good luck!</p>