Quickstart: Call your Bing Custom Search endpoint using Java

Use this quickstart to begin requesting search results from your Bing Custom Search instance. While this application is written in Java, the Bing Custom Search API is a RESTful web service compatible with most programming languages. The source code for this sample is available on GitHub.


You must have a Cognitive Services API account with access to the Bing Search APIs. If you don't have an Azure subscription, you can create an account for free. Before continuing, You will need the access key provided after activating your free trial, or a paid subscription key from your Azure dashboard.

Create and initialize the application

  1. Create a new Java project in your favorite IDE or editor, and import the following libraries.

    import java.io.InputStream;
    import java.net.URL;
    import java.net.URLEncoder;
    import java.util.HashMap;
    import java.util.List;
    import java.util.Map;
    import java.util.Scanner;
    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;
  2. create a class named CustomSrchJava, and create variables for your subscription key, custom search endpoint, and your search instance's Custom Configuration ID.

    public class CustomSrchJava {
        static String host = "https://api.cognitive.microsoft.com";
        static String path = "/bingcustomsearch/v7.0/search";
        static String subscriptionKey = "YOUR-SUBSCRIPTION-KEY"; 
        static String customConfigId = "YOUR-CUSTOM-CONFIG-ID";
        static String searchTerm = "Microsoft";  
  3. Create another class named SearchResults to contain the response from your Bing Custom Search instance.

    class SearchResults{
        HashMap<String, String> relevantHeaders;
        String jsonResponse;
        SearchResults(HashMap<String, String> headers, String json) {
            relevantHeaders = headers;
            jsonResponse = json;
  4. Create a function named prettify() to format the JSON response from the Bing Custom Search API.

        // pretty-printer for JSON; uses GSON parser to parse and re-serialize
        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);

Send and receive a search request

  1. Create a function named SearchWeb() that sends a request and returns a SearchResults object. Create the request url by combining your Custom Configuration ID, query, and endpoint information. Add your Subscription key to the Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key header.

    public class CustomSrchJava {
        public static SearchResults SearchWeb (String searchQuery) throws Exception {
            // construct the URL for your search request (endpoint + query string)
            URL url = new URL(host + path + "?q=" +  URLEncoder.encode(searchTerm, "UTF-8") + "&CustomConfig=" + customConfigId);
            HttpsURLConnection connection = (HttpsURLConnection)url.openConnection();
            connection.setRequestProperty("Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key", subscriptionKey);
  2. Create a stream and store the JSON response in a SearchResults object.

    public class CustomSrchJava {
        public static SearchResults SearchWeb (String searchQuery) throws Exception {
            // receive the JSON body
            InputStream stream = connection.getInputStream();
            String response = new Scanner(stream).useDelimiter("\\A").next();
            // construct result object for return
            SearchResults results = new SearchResults(new HashMap<String, String>(), response);
            return results;
  3. In the main method of your application, call SearchWeb() with your search term,

    System.out.println("\nJSON Response:\n");
  4. Run the program.

Next steps