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A couple of weeks ago I released an online TV guide for Danish viewers called ifjernsyn.dk. The goal was to make a very simple overview that could easily be accessed from a mobile phone and customized by any visitor without any login. The purpose was to always know what’s on the air right now and what programs will shortly follow – and of course to keep it simple.

Since the release, some people have asked me about how I did some of the things and one of the most frequently asked questions was how to find movie posters for all the movies. Apparently, people are interested in finding movie posters for their own pet projects involving their own media collection or even a media center plug-in.

The code

With only the name of a movie, the code will search the Yahoo image search API and return a thumbnail of the poster. The API returns an XML document with both the thumbnail and the full image, so to get the full image you should just change the XPath navigation.

private const string LINK = "http://search.yahooapis.com/ImageSearchService/V1/imageSearch?appid=YahooDemo&query={0} movie&results=1";

 

public static string FindMoviePoster(string title)

{

  string url = string.Format(LINK, HttpUtility.UrlEncode(title));

 

  XPathDocument xd = new XPathDocument(url);

  XPathNavigator navigator = xd.CreateNavigator();

  navigator.MoveToFollowing(XPathNodeType.Element);

  navigator.MoveToFirstChild();

  navigator.MoveToFirstChild();

 

  do

  {

    if (navigator.LocalName == "Thumbnail")

    {

      navigator.MoveToFirstChild();

      return navigator.Value;

    }

  } while (navigator.MoveToNext());

 

  return null;

}

The implementation

To use the method above in your own web page, simply pass a movie title to the method and the image URL is returned. It could look like this:

string posterUrl = FindMoviePoster("independance day");;

if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(posterUrl))

{

  imgPoster.ImageUrl = posterUrl;

}

The reason to use the Yahoo API is because it provides the thumbnails as well as the full image.