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 43				
 44				 Using WCF to access the Flickr JSON API
 45				
 46				<span class="blog-byline">
 47				by: michael herndon, at: 7/17/2008 06:40:00 AM
 48				</span>
 49				
 50			 </h2>
 51			 <div class="blog-content">
 52				<p>Even though there are quite a few opensource .Net libraries REST API out there, and a really impressive one for Flickr, they tend to never evolve or fork to use the newer framework technologies.&#160; I think its great that they support 1.0, 2.0, and mono, but why not fork and support WCF?&#160; I think part of the problem that .Net 3.5 use is not wide spread as it should be is not only information overload and bad naming for extension libraries, but also lack of opensource support to provide libraries and basis for current technology.&#160; </p>  <p>Flickr tends to be a little more tricky to use when calling it than some other REST APIs. WCF is a cool technology, but needs to be massaged when using it with Flickr due to a couple of gotchas and not so obvious things about WCF. In order to use Flickr, you need to register for an api_key and a shared secret code which is used to create an MD5 hash. You also need to create that MD5 each time you call a method, using the url parameters in a certain way. </p>  <p>There are also a few not so obvious factors about using the JSON part of Flickr. All of the .Net libraries I've seen so far, use XML. While C# is king of parsing&#160; XML, JSON tends to be more compact, which means less expense over the wire, though it might mean more time parsing once on the developers end point. So there are tradeoffs to using it. </p>  <p>When I created the classes needed to use WCF to call Flickr, I have the actual &quot;DataContract&quot; object (DTO, Data Transfer Object), A Hash (Dictionary&lt;string, object&gt;) for adding the parameters to create the MD5 signature, A base class for creating the WCF proxy, a custom &quot;WebContentTypeMapper&quot;, The &quot;ServiceContract&quot; interface, the actual &quot;Client class&quot;, and a mixins class for creating the MD5. </p>  <p>Here are some of the gotchas that I ran into while getting WCF to work with Flickr. </p>  <p></p>  <ol>   <li>Flickr makes you create a md5 hash to send with every call for ALL parameters in alphabetical order using your &quot;Shared Secret&quot; Code as part of the md5.&#160;&#160; </li>    <li>Flickr's Json response &quot;Content-Type&quot; header is sent not as &quot;application/json&quot; but as &quot;text/plain&quot; which equates to &quot;Raw&quot; in WCF lingo.&#160; </li>    <li>The response object is wrapped and not obvious when it comes to json how the DataContract object should be formed.&#160; </li>    <li>Flickr will wrap the json response in a javascript function unless you pass in the parameter &quot;nojsoncallback=1&quot; </li> </ol>  <p>To get around number one, I created an extension method that takes a Hash (Dictionary&lt;string, object&gt;) and adds method that converts the parameters into a MD5 string. </p>  <pre class="code csharp">namespace Amplify.Linq
 53{
 54	using System;
 55	using System.Collections.Generic;
 56	using System.Linq;
 57	using System.Text;
 58
 59#if STANDALONE
 60	public class Hash : Dictionary&lt;string, object&gt;
 61	{
 62
 63		
 64
 65
 66	}
 67#endif 
 68}
 69// different file
 70	
 71namespace Amplify.Linq
 72{
 73	using System;
 74	using System.Collections.Generic;
 75	using System.Linq;
 76	using System.Security.Cryptography;
 77	using System.Text;
 78
 79	using Amplify.Linq;
 80
 81	public static class Mixins
 82	{
 83
 84	
 85
 86		public static string ToMD5(this Hash obj, string secret)
 87		{
 88			var query = from item in obj
 89						orderby item.Key ascending
 90						select item.Key + item.Value.ToString(); 
 91
 92			StringBuilder builder = new StringBuilder(secret, 2048);
 93
 94			foreach (string item in query)
 95				builder.Append(item);
 96
 97			MD5CryptoServiceProvider crypto = new MD5CryptoServiceProvider();
 98			byte[] bytes = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(builder.ToString());
 99			byte[] hashedBytes = crypto.ComputeHash(bytes, 0, bytes.Length);
100			return BitConverter.ToString(hashedBytes).Replace(&quot;-&quot;, &quot;&quot;).ToLower();
101		}
102
103	}
104}</pre>
105
106<p>Well Gotcha number two, took a bit of research to figure it out. The error I got was that it was looking for Json or XML but could not do anything with &quot;Raw&quot;. So the solution is to create a custom binding with a custom WebContentTypeManager. </p>
107
108<pre class="code csharp">namespace Amplify.Flickr
109{
110	using System.ServiceModel;
111	using System.ServiceModel.Channels;
112	using System.Runtime.Serialization;
113	using System.ServiceModel.Web;
114
115	public class JsonContentMapper : WebContentTypeMapper
116	{
117		public override WebContentFormat GetMessageFormatForContentType(string contentType)
118		{
119			return WebContentFormat.Json;
120		}
121	}
122}
123
124// different file
125
126namespace Amplify.Flickr
127{
128	using System;
129	using System.Collections.Generic;
130	using System.Linq;
131	using System.Text;
132	using System.ServiceModel;
133	using System.ServiceModel.Channels;
134	using System.ServiceModel.Description;
135	using System.ServiceModel.Web;
136
137	using Amplify.Linq;
138
139	public class FlickrClient&lt;T&gt; 
140	{
141		protected string Secret { get; set; }
142
143		protected string Key { get; set; }
144
145		protected string Token { get; set; }
146
147		protected string Url { get; set; }
148
149		protected T Proxy { get; set; }
150
151
152		public FlickrClient(string key, string secret)
153		{
154			this.Key = key;
155			this.Secret = secret;
156			this.Url = &quot;http://api.flickr.com/services/rest&quot;;
157			this.Proxy = this.InitializeProxy();
158		}
159
160		public FlickrClient(string key, string secret, string token)
161			:this(key, secret)
162		{
163			this.Token = token;
164		}
165
166		protected virtual T InitializeProxy()
167		{
168			// using custom wrapper
169			CustomBinding binding = new CustomBinding(new WebHttpBinding());
170			WebMessageEncodingBindingElement property =	binding.Elements.Find&lt;WebMessageEncodingBindingElement&gt;();
171			property.ContentTypeMapper = new JsonContentMapper();
172			
173
174			ChannelFactory&lt;T&gt; channel = new ChannelFactory&lt;T&gt;(
175				binding, this.Url);
176
177			channel.Endpoint.Behaviors.Add( new WebHttpBehavior());
178			return channel.CreateChannel();
179		}
180
181	}
182}</pre>
183
184<p>The 3rd issue, to know that all objects are wrapped in a &quot;Response&quot; object. To create a DataContract for the getFrob method on flickr, it took looking at the json to see what it was returning. The object below is the basic form of the Json object that is returned, it also includes the properties in case an error object is returned. </p>
185
186<pre class="code csharp">	using System;
187	using System.Collections.Generic;
188	using System.Linq;
189	using System.Text;
190	using System.Runtime.Serialization;
191
192	[DataContract]
193	public class FrobResponse 
194	{
195		[DataMember(Name = &quot;frob&quot;)]
196		public JsonObject Frob { get; set; }
197
198		[DataContract(Name = &quot;frob&quot;)]
199		public class JsonObject
200		{
201			[DataMember(Name = &quot;_content&quot;)]
202			public string Content { get; set; }
203
204		}
205
206		[DataMember(Name = &quot;stat&quot;)]
207		public string Status { get; set; }
208
209		[DataMember(Name = &quot;code&quot;)]
210		public int Code { get; set; }
211
212		[DataMember(Name = &quot;message&quot;)]
213		public string Message { get; set; }
214	}
215
216	// different file
217
218
219	using System;
220	using System.Collections.Generic;
221	using System.Linq;
222	using System.Text;
223	using System.ServiceModel;
224	using System.ServiceModel.Web;
225
226	[ServiceContract]
227	public interface IAuthClient
228	{
229		[OperationContract,
230			WebInvoke(
231				UriTemplate = &quot;/?method=flickr.auth.getFrob&amp;format=json&amp;nojsoncallback=1&amp;api_key={key}&amp;api_sig={signature}&quot;,
232				ResponseFormat = WebMessageFormat.Json,
233				BodyStyle = WebMessageBodyStyle.Bare)]
234		FrobResponse GetFrob(string signature, string key);
235
236		[OperationContract,
237			WebInvoke(
238				UriTemplate = &quot;/?method=flickr.auth.getToken&amp;format=json&amp;nojsoncallback=1&amp;api_key={key}&amp;frob={frob}&amp;api_sig={signature}&quot;,
239				ResponseFormat = WebMessageFormat.Json,
240				BodyStyle = WebMessageBodyStyle.WrappedResponse)]
241		Auth GetToken(string signature, string key, string frob);
242	}
243
244
245	// the actual client class.  
246
247	using System;
248	using System.Collections.Generic;
249	using System.Linq;
250	using System.Text;
251
252	using Amplify.Linq;
253
254
255	public class AuthClient : FlickrClient&lt;IAuthClient&gt;
256	{
257
258		public AuthClient(string key, string secret)
259			:base(key, secret)
260		{ }
261
262		public AuthClient(string key, string secret, string token)
263			:base(key, secret, token)
264		{ }
265
266		public string GetFrob()
267		{
268			string md5 = new Hash() {
269				{&quot;api_key&quot;, this.Key},
270				{&quot;format&quot;, &quot;json&quot;},
271				{&quot;method&quot;, &quot;flickr.auth.getFrob&quot;},
272				{&quot;nojsoncallback&quot;, 1}
273			}.ToMD5(this.Secret);
274
275			FrobResponse response = this.Proxy.GetFrob(md5, this.Key);
276			if (response.Code &gt; 0)
277				throw new Exception(response.Message);
278
279			return response.Frob.Content;
280		}
281	}</pre>  <p class="blogger-labels">Labels: <a rel='tag' href="http://www.amptools.net/labels/Amplify.aspx">Amplify</a>, <a rel='tag' href="http://www.amptools.net/labels/C#.aspx">C#</a>, <a rel='tag' href="http://www.amptools.net/labels/Code.aspx">Code</a>, <a rel='tag' href="http://www.amptools.net/labels/CSharp.aspx">CSharp</a>, <a rel='tag' href="http://www.amptools.net/labels/Flickr.aspx">Flickr</a>, <a rel='tag' href="http://www.amptools.net/labels/JSON.aspx">JSON</a>, <a rel='tag' href="http://www.amptools.net/labels/REST.aspx">REST</a>, <a rel='tag' href="http://www.amptools.net/labels/WCF.aspx">WCF</a></p>
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