If you have read this long chapter and studied the examples in depth, you should now be able to see both the conceptual heart of the Flickr API—a bunch of HTTP requests that look like HTML form submissions and responses that by default return nice-­to-parse XML—and the complexities that arise when dealing with various cases (different request and response formats, authorization, and the need to abstract the API when using them in practice). I’m a big believer in learning as much as you can from the API before taking on authorization. You can use simple calls to solidify your understanding of HTTP and XML processing. Then you can move on to the more complicated cases when you are ready.

If you want to make sense of the Flickr API as a whole, focus on tackling specific problems that get you into exploring parts of the API. The reflection methods, though, do give you the potential to computationally support your understanding of the API as well as make more robust libraries for interacting with Flickr.

Understanding the underlying details of Flickr authorization is something you don’t have to deal with if you don’t want to—turn to your favorite API kit for help. However, understanding it brings not only intellectual satisfaction but also enables you to better understand other authorization schemes you may encounter (such as the one for Amazon S3).

In the next chapter, we’ll turn to web APIs other than Flickr. I will use the lens of the Flickr API to show you how to explore the bigger world of APIs in general.