Created: 2008-06-01 00:27
Updated: 2018-09-10 15:09
License: mit



Author: Ben Wyrosdick Email: ben [dot] wyrosdick [at] gmail [dot] com Issue tracker: Code Repository:

Getting Started

You need to first get an API key as detailed here:


sudo gem install flickr_fu


Documentation can be found here:

Example flickr.yml

--- !map:HashWithIndifferentAccess
key: "YOUR KEY"
secret: "YOUR SECRET"
token_cache: "token_cache.yml"


To authorise your application to access Flickr using your API key you will need to access a specific URL.

To generate this URL run the following and when presented with the URL access it from your browser. Confirm the application has permission at the level you have specified.

Note that flickr has different types of keys. If you use one for a webapplication, which is most likely, you need to define a callback and somehow make sure that you connect the parameter :frob that flickr send via the callback is assigned to the right user account. The best way to do this is to loop over all the current user's flickr accounts and try flickr.auth.token with the :frob.

Finally, cache the token (this will create the token cache file)

If you have an invalid API key you will see errors such as:

"100: Invalid API Key"

If you don't follow the process below to authorise your application you will see errors such as:

"98: Login failed / Invalid auth token" or
"99: User not logged in / Insufficient permissions"

Authorization Example for non-webapplication

require 'flickr_fu'

flickr ='flickr.yml')

puts "visit the following url, then click <enter> once you have authorized:"

 # request write permissions
puts flickr.auth.url(:write)



Authorization Example for a webapplication

flickr.auth.token also contains the nsid and username, this example only stores the token and no other userdata.

require 'flickr_fu'
  class FlickrController < ActionController::Base
    def create
      flickr ='flickr.yml')
      redirect_to flickr.auth.url(:write)

    def flickr_callback
      flickr ='flickr.yml')
      flickr.auth.frob = params[:frob]
      current_user.update_attribute :flickr_token, flickr.auth.token.token

    def something_else_with_flickr
      flickr ='flickr.yml').merge(:token => current_user.flickr_token))
      # now you have full access on the user's data :)

Search Example

require 'flickr_fu'

flickr ='flickr.yml')

photos = => 'ruby-flickr')

puts "found #{photos.size} photo(s)"

photos.each do |photo|
    puts photo.title

    puts photo.description unless [nil, ''].include?(photo.description)
    [:square, :thumbnail, :small, :medium, :large, :original].each do |size|
      puts "#{size}: #{photo.url(size)}"

    puts "comments: #{photo.comments.size}"

    photo.comments.each do |comment|
      intro = "#{comment.author_name} says - "
      puts "#{intro}\"#{comment.comment.gsub("\n", "\n"+(" "*intro.length))}\""

    puts "notes: #{photo.notes.size}"

    photo.notes.each do |note|
      puts "[#{note.x},#{note.y} ~ #{note.width}x#{note.height}] - \"#{note.note}\""

Another Search Example

If searching for photos by user id then you need to specify the 'alias' - without intervention this is usually set by Flickr and is an alphanumeric string.

To find out the user id for a given user, you can use the tool at:

And replace the line in the above sample to query on user id:

photos = => 'your_user_id_here')

Patch Contributers

  • Chris Ledet
  • Maciej Biłas
  • Mike Perham
  • Chris Anderton
  • Luke Francl
  • Thomas R. Koll
  • P. Mark Anderson
  • Josh Nichols


Code is offered under the MIT license.

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