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Building a Gateway to Netflix API: A Developer's Guide

Introduction: Creating in C# .NET Netflix API Gateway

In this article, we embark on an exciting journey to create a C# API client that interfaces with the Netflix API. It's important to note that Netflix doesn't offer an official API, so we'll be utilizing a set from RapidAPI. Among the options, DataOcean's Netflix API emerged as my top pick for several compelling reasons:

  • Its novelty often translates to better features.
  • The simplicity is key — with just 7 endpoints, it covers nearly all desired functionalities.
  • Affordability is a great plus.
  • Rapid performance seals the deal.

With these criteria in mind, let's dive in!

Setting Up Our Project in Visual Studio

First things first, we'll adhere to a naming convention for clarity and organization: ApiHarbor.RapidApi.Author.ApiName.

The screenshot showcasing the initial setup in Visual Studio, emphasizing the selection of .NET Standard 2.0

Our project's initial layout looks fantastic and promising. The guiding principle here is "less code, more efficiency." At this point, our codebase is a clean slate, perfectly set up for our next steps 😉.
Configure project
Now, let's break this perfection by adding the code 😉.

Crafting the NetflixApiClient.cs: Connecting to Netflix API

To query an endpoint on RapidApi, two additional header values are crucial:

  • X-RapidAPI-Key
  • X-RapidAPI-Host

You can find these in the Code Snippets section on the API's webpage - https://rapidapi.com/dataocean/api/netflix99

The screenshot illustrating where to find these values on the website.

Our NetflixApiClient constructor should definitely accept a rapidApiKey for use in requests. Let's consider if we need anything else. For sure something that communicates over http/s. In C#, there are several methods for this, we can use:

We wouldn't want to restrict the user to a specific method, so our constructor will accept an IWebClient interface. This way, users can choose their preferred implementation. A logger would also be handy to know what's happening during API usage. We'll follow a similar approach as before, providing a custom ILogger interface, compelling the user to implement it.

Implementing IWebClient

IWebClient should be straightforward, with a single method to retrieve content from a given URL and the ability to add headers to the request.
A screenshot show a simple interface design for IWebClient.

Implementing ILogger

Here, we aim for simplicity. Our logger should have two methods: one for informational messages and another for handling exceptions.

The screenshot showing the basic structure of the ILogger interface.

Returning to our NetflixApiClient.cs, let's implement what we've outlined so far.

The screenshot of the initial NetflixApiClient implementation.

With the current implementation, we meet all our initial objectives:

  • Flexibility in passing any http/s communication implementation.
  • Freedom from being tied to any particular logger implementation.
  • The constructor accepts our X-RapidAPI-Key.

Let's move on to the more exciting parts! 🔥

Implementing Netflix API Methods

The Netflix API we're working with provides seven endpoints:

  • Search titles - title search (surprise! 😃)
  • Title lists - returns titles according to defined parameters
  • Title details - returns title details based on the ID from Search title
  • Similar titles - returns similar titles also with ID received from Search
  • Title credits - returns a list of actors and people working on the title
  • Title media - returns a listing of images, posters, videos
  • Person details - retrieves information about a given actor or team member. Accepts ID received from Title credits.

As our first method to implement, let's choose Search title, as the other endpoints require IDs returned by this method.

Netflix API: Search titles and Implementation

The Search titles endpoint accepts several parameters, including:

  • query - searched phrase
  • order - sorting of results
  • title type -  option to return results only for movies or TV shows or all (All)
  • country
  • language
  • release year (from/to)
  • rating (min/max)
  • token - for the next page of results

Let's make a sample request and examine the response from Search titles.

The screenshot of the request and response structure.

Key Observations:

  • Status information is provided (e.g., status: 200 for success).
  • Relevant data is assigned to data.
  • Separate pagination property includes a prepared URL for the next page and next_page_token.
  • The total number of results and pages, as well as the number of titles returned per response, are provided.

Inspecting a single title element reveals:

List key details about the title element.

This gives us a good understanding of Search titles. Let's get to the implementation.

Mapping the Response

We'll create a new class to map the JSON response from the API to a SearchTitlesResponse object. In today's world, manual JSON mapping is a thing of the past. Tools like json2csharp make this task a breeze. Let's use it to generate our response class.

Copy the entire JSON and then paste it into json2csharp and click on Convert.

The process of using [json2csharp](https://json2csharp.com/).

A beautiful response class has been generated for us. We will further enhance it by adding nullable **fields and using **PascalCase

Recommended settings.

Now it's perfect! Just take a look at the response.

Response generated by json2csharp.com

Our class is ready, let's integrate it into our project.

As we see something is missing. To use JsonProperty, we need to install Newtonsoft.Json.

Installing Newtonsoft.Json

And by the way, we will implement a static method that will convert (deserialize) pure JSON in text form into a SearchTitlesResponse.Root object.

Json deserialization to SearchTitleResponse.Root

The structure of our project currently looks like:

Structure of the project.
Great! Now that we can map the JSON to SearchTitlesResponse, it's time to fetch the JSON from the Netflix API.

Let's go to NetflixApiClient and implement the method.

Implementing SearchTitles metod in NetflixApiClient class.

Remember, Search titles can accept numerous parameters, so let's get those implemented.

The implementation of the parameters of SearchTitles method.

Quite a long process. Well, let's move on…

Too long process.

However let's STOP here! Instead of building a raw URL string in the client, let's create a separate SearchTitlesRequest class that handles query parameters and returns a formatted URL for communication with the Netflix API.

Implementation of SearchTitlesRequest.

Let's add another method that will return joined parameters for us.

ToQueryParams metod.

Yes. In this way, I avoid writing long strings, I prefer to put each parameter separately into an array and then join them with &. It looks better, right? 😃 Let's look at the full implementation of SearchTitles.

The complete implementation of SearchTitles methods.

We can call the SearchTitles method by passing a SearchTitlesRequest object or using ordinary parameters.

Now the handling of the Search title endpoint looks awesome!🔥

Making IWebClient and ILogger Optional for the User (Dependency Injection)

Before testing our Search method, let's modify one assumption. We gave users the option to implement their own http/s communication and logger. But not everyone might want to do this. Some might prefer a straightforward way to fetch data without extra implementation. Let's accommodate this preference.

Implementing Default WebClient

We add a new DefaultWebClient class in Infrastructure.Implementations, using HttpClient for requests.

The implementation of DefaultWebClient.

Implementing Default Logger

Similarly, we add a DefaultLogger class in the same namespace, providing the simplest implementation of the ILogger interface.

The implementation of DefaultLogger.

The default logger will simply display messages in the Console. Users can always implement their own logger for different outputs, like file logging or database storage.

Modifying NetflixApiClient Constructor

Since we're not enforcing the use of custom IWebClient or ILogger, we need to adjust the constructors of NetflixApiClient.

The new constructors providing more flexibility to the user.

With these new constructors, users now have the choice to use the defaults or implement their own!

Testing Search Titles

To test the Netflix API, all we need is the X-RapidAPI-Key and some code.

The test setup and results.
Running the console application…

The Big Test!
… yields our results. 🔥 Everything works as expected. Great job 🤝

Let's also test fetching subsequent pages of results using the provided URL.

We need to modify NetflixApiClient to add a simple variant of the SearchTitles method, named SearchTitlesByUrl, accepting the next_page_url.

The modification of SearchTitle.

Let's modify the test code a bit more in the console application. The modification concerns querying the next page (we have it at hand in NextPageUrl). The querying loop will operate until Data is not empty. Simple and effective 👌

Testing code

Running the code with modification from above…

The successful test results.

…gives us correct results. We can observe this through the titles come from the next (second) page. Brilliant!

What's next? I believe it's time to tackle the Title details endpoint.

What's next?

I believe it's time to tackle the Title details endpoint.

Netflix API: Title Details and Implementation

From the RapidApi documentation for Netflix API, we know that the Title details endpoint requires an id parameter.

The Title Details id param documentation.
As we remember, we can find the id in Search title and List titles. Alright, let's start with mapping the response from Title details. We will use the knowledge we have already acquired!

  • Visit the Netflix API page on RapidApi.
  • Choose the Title details endpoint and execute it.
  • Copy the JSON result. Copying the JSON result from the API endpoint.
  • Use json2csharp to generate the TitleDetailsResponse class.
  • Remember to set Property Settings as follow json2csharp property settings.
  • We paste the JSON and click 'Convert' button.
  • We create a new class in Responses: TitleDetailsResponse and implement the Create method (as before).

The implementation of TitleDetailsResponse.Create method.

  • Let's see how it looks now

TitleDatailsResponse

  • JSON to response object mapping seems to be ready!

Now let's implement the API request method in our NetflixApiClient.

Image description

Yes, this simple code is sufficient. This time, we won't implement the creation of the API URL in the response class (TitleDetailsResponse), as the needed URL is very simple. But of course, following good practices, we should do so… Anyways! We need the test code to check if getting TitleDetails works.

Testing the NetflixApiClient.TitleDetails method.

The result of testing TitleDetails method.
And there you have it, a quick and efficient implementation! 😊

Conclusion

Today, we nearly completed an entire library for interacting with the Netflix API.

  • We added default classes for http/s communication with API and a console-based logger.
  • By using Dependency Injection, we provided the option for users to create their own versions of an HTTP client and logger through our interfaces IWebClient and ILogger.
  • Responses are neatly mapped from raw JSON text to Response objects with the help of the json2csharp.com
  • And the most important result of the project: we are able to very easily retrieve data from the API using our client class - NetflixApiClient.

Everything went smoothly and easily… perhaps even too easily 😉
You can check out the entire project on GitHub:
https://github.com/apiharbor/ApiHarbor.RapidApi.DataOcean.NetflixApi

Next time, we'll build a sample project using this library… OR! we'll write another article expanding the library with some additional interesting features. We'll see.

Thanks for your time ❤️ See you!
Follow me to not miss out on future updates! 🔥

Top comments (1)

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schemetastic profile image
Rodrigo Isaias Calix

Hello! Welcome to the DEV community! INteresting article.

You know, you can add code blocks in DEV posts, by following the next syntax:

```js
var hello = "world";
```

Would output:

var hello = "world";
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Hope this helps! 😉