creative commons licensed ( BY-NC ) flickr photo shared by tramani_sagrens

No crying (well except for twitter complaining). No giving up in despair. Stay in the fight.

Yesterday I got an email from Sandy Jensen Brown Jensen Brown- she is good at letting me know something is amiss with the ds106 Daily Create. Usually the problem is I have forgotten to add the code that embeds the flickr gallery for a given tag.

Yesterday was worse, not only was its gallery blank, all of them were. Perhaps a problem or update needed with the Awesome Flickr Gallery plugin. Nope. Maybe the flickr was down. Nope. Maybe Tim Owens deleted his flickr account and the api key he added to the plugin settings was borked. Made a new one. Still nothing. Worse, the plugin returned an “SSL error”

I then tried my own flickr api powered site — ahh a sign, it was not returning any images, a suggestion that there was a problem with the api.

Where exactly does Yahoo publish information/status about flickr? That’s another mystery.

More web searches; noted there is a flickr API twitter account maybe it provides timely updates on the API.

it has 44 total tweets.

I do that much before lunch. But there was one message reporting an API issue

The link they provide for “updates” is basically a forum where everyone is reporting that the API is not working. #lameorama

But right below I find something that is rather terribly important

They are changing the way the API works in June 27 — all calls to the flickr API need to be via https urls not http. This means liekly every web thing built on the flickr will break.

That seems kind of important.


You think they would do some broad scale notification. I think they have in their system everyone who was created a developer api thing.

The actual code changes are not huge, it is an edit to the endpoint API urls. These are the warnings:

Important Dates and Times:
New API keys will be issued for HTTPS only: Starting this week.
First blackout window: 3 June 2014, 10:00-12:00 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)
Second blackout window: 17 June 2014, 18:00-20:00 (PDT)
Non-SSL calls deprecated: 27 June 2014, 10:00 (PDT)

So when I got a new API key yesterday, it was one of the new ones, hence the SSL error warning on The Daily Create.

To test things out, I had to modify 4 lines in the phpflickr library I use for pechaflickr (note, the original site seams DOA).

Bingo, it worked. And then I fixed Five Card flickr.

And I was able to dig inside the Awesome Flickr Gallery plugin to the same library code, and made the same changes there (submitted as a pull request to the developer).

Bingo, back in action.

You can quit and run away from problems, or step in and find a way out. I don’t let go easily

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by CarbonNYC

This is just the beginning. As much as I have blasted flickr for their changes, to me the wrong approach is to just fold the tent. If you see flickr as solely a place to organize your photos, then folding makes sense. There are plenty of other ways to do this.

But that is not looking at broadly at the value of social photo sharing. I have a deep fondness for flickr (it may be my Achilles heel), but it was the first real social media platform I felt, starting in March of 2004. It was not just about storing your photos, it was a way to share them via simple tags.

I could not build a site like pechaflickr with people’s photos stored in their various dispersed silos (it might be doable but I do not know how).

If I had my photos stored solely in my own pile, I would likely not get the community effect of more than 7000 people finding my goofy MOOCopoly mashup. Other services that allowed people to social share content via simple tagging have died on the vine- delicious is flaky, google has made YouTube tags the equivalent of a pineal eye, diigo does not allow universal tags across accounts. These kinds of open networked spaces are going away, siphoned into the Google/facebookplexes.

The functionality/design of flickr for one account is one thing, but the potential of its sharability via the API is almost unprecedented. And that is the bathwater/baby not getting tossed out here. Where else do you get the creative commons gold pile?

You can have a domain of your own, good; but it might be a domain all alone.

There is value in a commons.

Losing my flickr images does not keep me up at night because Yahho does not have the definitive source. I do. I have them managed in Aperture across multiple hard drives. I do not see flickr as the keeper of my images, I see it as the facilitator of my photos to mingle with others.

And you do not get that elsewhere.

It may come down on me like a tumbling block, but so be it. I am not in it for my photos, I am in it for everyone elses.

Go ahead and roll over; I do not give in easy.

So I might bark and growl at flickr, but just running away does little IMHO.

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC ) flickr photo shared by Sangudo

UPDATE May 7, 2014 I guess they read my blog, I got an email last night with the heads up information:

We see that you own an active API key for the Flickr API, and wanted make sure you know about some upcoming changes to the API related to SSL.

As you may have read on the Flickr code blog, we’ve updated all of the API endpoints to fully support SSL. You no longer need to use a special subdomain to access the API securely, and we want to make sure that all API communication adopts SSL.

I stand corrected, the Flickreenos are letting people know. IN a most Clinton-esque pain feeling voice, read after me:

We realize that this change might be more difficult for some.

Since they are reading my blog now as part of their comm strategy, can I say a few choice words about the crippled features of the mobile app? Hallo?

If this kind of stuff has any value, please support me monthly on Patreon or a one time PayPal kibble toss
Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Hi Alan,
    Double whammy, sad that phpflickr seems to have gone.

    I did get a mail from Flickr about the change yesterday, probably because I had registered a new api key recently.

    Now got a pile of stuff to retrofit. glad you have done the hard work with phpflickr:)

    The one thing that has kept me positive about Flickr with the recent changes is the API I. Hope this is not a sign that more changes are coming (additions would be fine).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *