This article was updated on 23rd June, 2016. Specifically: the code example was revised, a CodePen demo was added and formatting issues were fixed.

Flickr is a leading image and video hosting website owned by Yahoo. They offer a public API which can be used to return a list of photos matching a certain criteria.

To return an API response in JSON format, you would send a parameter format in the request with a value of json. For example, the following will return a list of photos tagged “kitten”.

https://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?tags=kitten&format=json

This method of querying the Flickr API does not require authentication. You can find a list of possible arguments here: https://www.flickr.com/services/api/flickr.photos.search.html.

A Typical Flickr JSON Object

This is what a typical Flickr JSON object looks like:

jsonFlickrFeed({
  "title": "Recent Uploads tagged kitten",
  "link": "http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/kitten/",
  "description": "",
  "modified": "2016-06-19T09:32:56Z",
  "generator": "http://www.flickr.com/",
  "items": [
    {
      "title": "Portrait of Simba and Mogli",
      "link": "http://www.flickr.com/photos/112684907@N06/27665373772/",
      "media": {"m":"http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7442/27665373772_25bb8acec1_m.jpg"},
      "date_taken": "2016-06-17T17:09:38-08:00",
      "description": " <p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/people/112684907@N06/\">stefanhuber92<\/a> posted a photo:<\/p> <p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/112684907@N06/27665373772/\" title=\"Portrait of Simba and Mogli\"><img src=\"http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7442/27665373772_25bb8acec1_m.jpg\" width=\"177\" height=\"240\" alt=\"Portrait of Simba and Mogli\" /><\/a><\/p> ",
      "published": "2016-06-19T09:32:56Z",
      "author": "nobody@flickr.com (stefanhuber92)",
      "author_id": "112684907@N06",
      "tags": "pet cats cute eye animal animals cat tiere kitten siblings katze katzen fell haustier liebe tier gemütlich petlove geschwister kuscheln schön catlove süs petlover"
    },
    ...
    19 more items
    ...
  ]
})

Load Flickr Pictures Using the JSONP API

As you can see, the JSON response is wrapped in a function jsonFlickrFeed. We can use this to pull in pictures from Flickr and display them on our web page like so:

function jsonFlickrFeed(json) {
  $.each(json.items, function(i, item) {
    $("<img />").attr("src", item.media.m).appendTo("#images");
  });
};

$.ajax({
  url: 'https://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne',
  dataType: 'jsonp',
  data: { "tags": "kitten", "format": "json" }
});

If you’d like to learn more about JSONP, read: jQuery’s JSONP Explained with Examples

Demo

This is what we end up with.

See the Pen vKXZrz by SitePoint (@SitePoint) on CodePen.

You can read more about the Flickr API on the API homepage.

Tags: flickr tags json api, jsonp api, load flickr pics json api
I'm a web developer currently living in the sunny north of Germany. I enjoy coding in both JavaScript and Ruby and can often be found in SitePoint's JavaScript forum. When I'm not coding, I enjoy running.
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