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This is ftserver, the Flickr Transform server.

Copyright (c) Arthur Reutenauer, London, July 2012.

The files in this repository are available under the terms of the Creative Common Attribution License (CC-BY), either version 3 thereof or, at your option, any later version.


This program has been written in standard Ruby 1.9 with the help of some libraries, and has been tested with Ruby 1.9.1 on Ubuntu 10.10, and Ruby 1.9.2 on Mac OS 10.6. It uses bundler to provide the necessary libraries.

Therefore, it should be enough to run:

  1. git clone

  2. Copy your Flickr API keys to config/flickr-keys.json in the format defined there. The API key should be called “api_key,” and the secret key “shared_secret”.

  3. Run bundle install

  4. Start the server from the top-level directory with:

    bundle exec ruby -Iapp start-server

(Including the app directory in the library path seemed to be the most convenient and robust way to deal with configuration issues in such an application.)

The service is then available on http://localhost:48067/

See section “Usage” below for usage notes, and examples.

Note: On Linux, I’ve found that it was necessary to install the Ubuntu / Debian packages ruby1.9.1-dev and libmagickwand-dev (I installed libmagickcore-dev first, but I’m not sure this was really needed).


Send an HTTP GET request to http://<server>:48067/?flickr_id=<id>&text=<overlay> (the latter part being optional). The server then serves an HTML page containing the link to the scaled image, with the text overlaid on the bottom right corner if applicable. To embed the URL in the body of the response if admittedly a very simplistic API, but without a full specification of how the service was supposed to be used, it seemed a reasonable choice.


The server will always be accessible from the local machine as localhost; that what I’ve used to test it, as I had no public IPv4.

Notes on the architecture

The main code is in the directory app, with tests in spec for the back-end methods (not the web service); and config contains, obviously, the configuration. The tests use on picture available in sample. The result of the image transformations are in data.

The Ruby libraries I’ve used are:

  • rack for the Web server;
  • flickraw to access Flickr;
  • rmagick for graphics;
  • rspec for the tests of the main methods in image_handler.rb