Quickstart: Get image insights using the Bing Visual Search REST API and Java

Use this quickstart to make your first call to the Bing Visual Search API and view the results. This Java application uploads an image to the API and displays the information it returns. Though this application is written in Java, the API is a RESTful Web service compatible with most programming languages.

When you upload a local image, the form data must include the Content-Disposition header. You must set its name parameter to "image", and you can set the filename parameter to any string. The contents of the form include the binary data of the image. The maximum image size you can upload is 1 MB.

Content-Disposition: form-data; name="image"; filename="myimagefile.jpg"

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You must have a Cognitive Services API account with access to the Bing Search APIs. Before continuing, you will need the access key provided after starting a subscription at S9 price tier as shown in Cognitive Services Pricing - Bing Search API.

To start a subscription in Azure portal:

  1. Enter 'BingSearchV7' in the text box at the top of the Azure portal that says Search resources, services, and docs.
  2. Under Marketplace in the drop-down list, select Bing Search v7.
  3. Enter Name for the new resource.
  4. Select Pay-As-You-Go subscription.
  5. Select S9 pricing tier.
  6. Click Enable to start the subscription.

Create and initialize a project

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

    import java.util.*;
    import java.io.*;
    import com.google.gson.Gson;
    import com.google.gson.GsonBuilder;
    import com.google.gson.JsonObject;
    import com.google.gson.JsonParser;
    // HttpClient libraries
    import org.apache.http.HttpEntity;
    import org.apache.http.HttpResponse;
    import org.apache.http.client.methods.HttpPost;
    import org.apache.http.entity.ContentType;
    import org.apache.http.entity.mime.MultipartEntityBuilder;
    import org.apache.http.impl.client.CloseableHttpClient;
    import org.apache.http.impl.client.HttpClientBuilder;
  2. Create variables for your API endpoint, subscription key, and the path to your image:

    static String endpoint = "https://api.cognitive.microsoft.com/bing/v7.0/images/visualsearch";
    static String subscriptionKey = "your-key-here";
    static String imagePath = "path-to-your-image";

Create the JSON parser

Create a method to make the JSON response from the API more readable using JsonParser:

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);

Construct the search request and query

  1. In the main method of your application, create an HTTP client using HttpClientBuilder.create().build();:

    CloseableHttpClient httpClient = HttpClientBuilder.create().build();
  2. Create an HttpEntity object to upload your image to the API:

    HttpEntity entity = MultipartEntityBuilder
        .addBinaryBody("image", new File(imagePath))
  3. Create an httpPost object with your endpoint, and set the header to use your subscription key:

    HttpPost httpPost = new HttpPost(endpoint);
    httpPost.setHeader("Ocp-Apim-Subscription-Key", subscriptionKey);

Receive and process the JSON response

  1. Use the HttpClient.execute() method to send a request to the API, and store the response in an InputStream object:

    HttpResponse response = httpClient.execute(httpPost);
    InputStream stream = response.getEntity().getContent();
  2. Store the JSON string, and print the response:

String json = new Scanner(stream).useDelimiter("\\A").next();
System.out.println("\nJSON Response:\n");

Next steps