Quickstart: Use Java to search the web with the Bing Web Search REST API, an Azure cognitive service

Warning

Bing Search APIs are moving from Cognitive Services to Bing Search Services. Starting October 30, 2020, any new instances of Bing Search need to be provisioned following the process documented here. Bing Search APIs provisioned using Cognitive Services will be supported for the next three years or until the end of your Enterprise Agreement, whichever happens first. For migration instructions, see Bing Search Services.

In this quickstart, you'll use a Java application to make your first call to the Bing Web Search API. This Java application sends a search request to the API, and shows the JSON response. Although this application is written in Java, the API is a RESTful Web service compatible with most programming languages.

Prerequisites

Here are a few things that you'll need before running this quickstart:

Create an Azure resource

Start using the Bing Web Search API by creating one of the following Azure resources:

Bing Search v7 resource

  • Available through the Azure portal until you delete the resource.
  • Use the free pricing tier to try the service, and upgrade later to a paid tier for production.

Multi-service resource

  • Available through the Azure portal until you delete the resource.
  • Use the same key and endpoint for your applications, across multiple Cognitive Services.

Create a project and import dependencies

Create a new Java project in your favorite IDE or editor and import the following libraries. Gson is required to convert Java Objects into JSON.

import java.net.*;
import java.util.*;
import java.io.*;
import javax.net.ssl.HttpsURLConnection;
import com.google.gson.Gson;
import com.google.gson.GsonBuilder;
import com.google.gson.JsonObject;
import com.google.gson.JsonParser;

Declare Gson in the Maven POM file

If you're using Maven, declare Gson in POM.xml. Skip this step if you've installed Gson locally.

<dependency>
    <groupId>com.google.code.gson</groupId>
    <artifactId>gson</artifactId>
    <version>2.8.5</version>
</dependency>

Declare the BingWebSearch class

Declare the BingWebSearch class. It includes most of the code we review in this quickstart, including the main() method.

public class BingWebSearch {

// The code in the following sections goes here.

}

Define variables

The following code sets the subscriptionKey, host, path, and searchTerm. Add this code to the BingWebSearch class described in the previous section:

  1. For the host value, you can use the global endpoint in the following code, or use the custom subdomain endpoint displayed in the Azure portal for your resource.

  2. Replace the subscriptionKey value with a valid subscription key from your Azure account.

  3. Optionally, customize the search query by replacing the value for searchTerm.

// Enter a valid subscription key.
static String subscriptionKey = "enter key here";

/*
 * If you encounter unexpected authorization errors, double-check these values
 * against the endpoint for your Bing Web search instance in your Azure
 * dashboard.
 */
static String host = "https://api.cognitive.microsoft.com";
static String path = "/bing/v7.0/search";
static String searchTerm = "Microsoft Cognitive Services";

Construct a request

The SearchWeb() method, which is included in the BingWebSearch class, constructs the url, receives and parses the response, and extracts Bing-related HTTP headers.

public static SearchResults SearchWeb (String searchQuery) throws Exception {
    // Construct the URL.
    URL url = new URL(host + path + "?q=" +  URLEncoder.encode(searchQuery, "UTF-8"));

    // Open the connection.
    HttpsURLConnection connection = (HttpsURLConnection)url.openConnection();
    connection.setRequestProperty("Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key", subscriptionKey);

    // Receive the JSON response body.
    InputStream stream = connection.getInputStream();
    String response = new Scanner(stream).useDelimiter("\\A").next();

    // Construct the result object.
    SearchResults results = new SearchResults(new HashMap<String, String>(), response);

    // Extract Bing-related HTTP headers.
    Map<String, List<String>> headers = connection.getHeaderFields();
    for (String header : headers.keySet()) {
        if (header == null) continue;      // may have null key
        if (header.startsWith("BingAPIs-") || header.startsWith("X-MSEdge-")){
            results.relevantHeaders.put(header, headers.get(header).get(0));
        }
    }
    stream.close();
    return results;
}

Handle the response

Use Gson to parse and reserialize the response.

public static String prettify(String json_text) {
    JsonParser parser = new JsonParser();
    JsonObject json = parser.parse(json_text).getAsJsonObject();
    Gson gson = new GsonBuilder().setPrettyPrinting().create();
    return gson.toJson(json);
}

Declare the main method

The main() method is required and is the first method invoked when you start the program. In this application, it includes code that validates the subscriptionKey, makes a request, and then prints the JSON response.

public static void main (String[] args) {
    // Confirm the subscriptionKey is valid.
    if (subscriptionKey.length() != 32) {
        System.out.println("Invalid Bing Search API subscription key!");
        System.out.println("Please paste yours into the source code.");
        System.exit(1);
    }

    // Call the SearchWeb method and print the response.
    try {
        System.out.println("Searching the Web for: " + searchTerm);
        SearchResults result = SearchWeb(searchTerm);
        System.out.println("\nRelevant HTTP Headers:\n");
        for (String header : result.relevantHeaders.keySet())
        System.out.println(header + ": " + result.relevantHeaders.get(header));
        System.out.println("\nJSON Response:\n");
        System.out.println(prettify(result.jsonResponse));
    }
    catch (Exception e) {
        e.printStackTrace(System.out);
        System.exit(1);
    }
}

Create a container class for search results

The SearchResults container class is defined outside of the BingWebSearch class. It includes relevant headers and JSON data for the response.

class SearchResults{
    HashMap<String, String> relevantHeaders;
    String jsonResponse;
    SearchResults(HashMap<String, String> headers, String json) {
        relevantHeaders = headers;
        jsonResponse = json;
    }
}

Put it all together

The last step is to compile your code and run it. Use the following commands:

javac BingWebSearch.java -classpath ./gson-2.8.5.jar -encoding UTF-8
java -cp ./gson-2.8.5.jar BingWebSearch

If you'd like to compare your code with ours, sample code is available on GitHub.

Example JSON response

Responses from the Bing Web Search API are returned as JSON. This sample response has been truncated to show a single result.

{
  "_type": "SearchResponse",
  "queryContext": {
    "originalQuery": "Microsoft Cognitive Services"
  },
  "webPages": {
    "webSearchUrl": "https://www.bing.com/search?q=Microsoft+cognitive+services",
    "totalEstimatedMatches": 22300000,
    "value": [
      {
        "id": "https://api.cognitive.microsoft.com/api/v7/#WebPages.0",
        "name": "Microsoft Cognitive Services",
        "url": "https://www.microsoft.com/cognitive-services",
        "displayUrl": "https://www.microsoft.com/cognitive-services",
        "snippet": "Knock down barriers between you and your ideas. Enable natural and contextual interaction with tools that augment users' experiences via the power of machine-based AI. Plug them in and bring your ideas to life.",
        "deepLinks": [
          {
            "name": "Face",
            "url": "https://azure.microsoft.com/services/cognitive-services/face/",
            "snippet": "Add facial recognition to your applications to detect, identify, and verify faces using a Face service from Microsoft Azure. ... Cognitive Services; Face service;"
          },
          {
            "name": "Text Analytics",
            "url": "https://azure.microsoft.com/services/cognitive-services/text-analytics/",
            "snippet": "Cognitive Services; Text Analytics API; Text Analytics API . Detect sentiment, ... you agree that Microsoft may store it and use it to improve Microsoft services, ..."
          },
          {
            "name": "Computer Vision API",
            "url": "https://azure.microsoft.com/services/cognitive-services/computer-vision/",
            "snippet": "Extract the data you need from images using optical character recognition and image analytics with Computer Vision APIs from Microsoft Azure."
          },
          {
            "name": "Emotion",
            "url": "https://www.microsoft.com/cognitive-services/en-us/emotion-api",
            "snippet": "Cognitive Services Emotion API - microsoft.com"
          },
          {
            "name": "Bing Speech API",
            "url": "https://azure.microsoft.com/services/cognitive-services/speech/",
            "snippet": "Add speech recognition to your applications, including text to speech, with a speech API from Microsoft Azure. ... Cognitive Services; Bing Speech API;"
          },
          {
            "name": "Get Started for Free",
            "url": "https://azure.microsoft.com/services/cognitive-services/",
            "snippet": "Add vision, speech, language, and knowledge capabilities to your applications using intelligence APIs and SDKs from Cognitive Services."
          }
        ]
      }
    ]
  },
  "relatedSearches": {
    "id": "https://api.cognitive.microsoft.com/api/v7/#RelatedSearches",
    "value": [
      {
        "text": "microsoft bot framework",
        "displayText": "microsoft bot framework",
        "webSearchUrl": "https://www.bing.com/search?q=microsoft+bot+framework"
      },
      {
        "text": "microsoft cognitive services youtube",
        "displayText": "microsoft cognitive services youtube",
        "webSearchUrl": "https://www.bing.com/search?q=microsoft+cognitive+services+youtube"
      },
      {
        "text": "microsoft cognitive services search api",
        "displayText": "microsoft cognitive services search api",
        "webSearchUrl": "https://www.bing.com/search?q=microsoft+cognitive+services+search+api"
      },
      {
        "text": "microsoft cognitive services news",
        "displayText": "microsoft cognitive services news",
        "webSearchUrl": "https://www.bing.com/search?q=microsoft+cognitive+services+news"
      },
      {
        "text": "ms cognitive service",
        "displayText": "ms cognitive service",
        "webSearchUrl": "https://www.bing.com/search?q=ms+cognitive+service"
      },
      {
        "text": "microsoft cognitive services text analytics",
        "displayText": "microsoft cognitive services text analytics",
        "webSearchUrl": "https://www.bing.com/search?q=microsoft+cognitive+services+text+analytics"
      },
      {
        "text": "microsoft cognitive services toolkit",
        "displayText": "microsoft cognitive services toolkit",
        "webSearchUrl": "https://www.bing.com/search?q=microsoft+cognitive+services+toolkit"
      },
      {
        "text": "microsoft cognitive services api",
        "displayText": "microsoft cognitive services api",
        "webSearchUrl": "https://www.bing.com/search?q=microsoft+cognitive+services+api"
      }
    ]
  },
  "rankingResponse": {
    "mainline": {
      "items": [
        {
          "answerType": "WebPages",
          "resultIndex": 0,
          "value": {
            "id": "https://api.cognitive.microsoft.com/api/v7/#WebPages.0"
          }
        }
      ]
    },
    "sidebar": {
      "items": [
        {
          "answerType": "RelatedSearches",
          "value": {
            "id": "https://api.cognitive.microsoft.com/api/v7/#RelatedSearches"
          }
        }
      ]
    }
  }
}

Next steps

See also