An API for SkyDrive (facilitating a direct URL to the file)

SkyScraper: an API for SkyDrive

*** Update: there is now an official API for SkyDrive! ***

I recently created a simple API for SkyDrive. It's a very small .NET library, which I have rather appropriately named "SkyScraper".

SkyScraper provides one very useful method. Pass in the URL of the main public page for a file on SkyDrive, and get back the direct URL of the file on SkyDrive. This solves one of the biggest problems with SkyDrive, and makes the service very much more useful.

If you want to try it, contact me and I could send you the SkyScraper DLL to integrate SkyDrive with your own website. Or you could just use the special redirect URL I've already set up, to create a permanent direct URL to any file on any SkyDrive. Full details below.

An important limitation of SkyDrive: no permanent direct URLs for files

For most file types, SkyDrive does not provide a permanent direct URL. The URL of the main page for the file is permanent, but the direct URL is not. For instance, the direct URL for a video file on SkyDrive is temporary. It can change. So if you embed a video file on SkyDrive on a web page, the next day it will probably stop working. (The direct URL is not even displayed. It's there in the HTML, but if you want it you have to go and find it. Apparently Microsoft did not intend SkyDrive to be used in this way. Therefore this blog post is purely for academic purposes.)

Working demos of my SkyScraper library

Terms & conditions

You can use my redirect URL right now to create permanent direct URLs for files on SkyDrive. You could also use my SkyScraper library to create your own solution -- it's open source and free to use under a standard GPL type licence.

BUT please do not use my redirector URL or my library without permission. I will require an acknowledgement where these are used. I need to keep track of who is using these! :)


27 October 2009

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Tim Acheson (27 Oct 09, 12:26)

For more info about SkyDrive APIs, and a bit of background and rationale, see my comments on my previous post on this topic.

Peggy Sue Chan (11 Nov 09, 06:50)

I'm putting together a music site. Thanks for the info. But can I always use your redirect? Or must I download my own.

Tim Acheson (11 Nov 09, 10:28)

Hi Peggy, my redirect URL is permanent, and you're welcome to use it, subject to a couple of very minor conditions. I've sent you an email. :)

Hello, I would like to request your permission to use your API solution to have a "permanent" URL for my SkyDrive files.

The reason I like SkyDrive is that they use this "?Download" extension in the URL that forces the download (rather than opening file in the web browser), and I wonder if this would be compatible with your API.

At this moment, I was forced to change to another provider ("FileDen") but files need to be right-cliked and "Saved As" which is not as intuitive.

My files are located in my "Home Association's" Blog: located at the "Downloadable forms and documents" section at the right of the page, and even though they're accesible, I would like to go back to Skydrive.

Thank you!

Tim Acheson (19 Nov 09, 15:26)

Hello RD, it's great to see my solution working on your website, on the right of your homepage under "downloadable documents & forms". I'm glad I was able to help you harness the full power of SkyDrive in this way. You're something like my fifth SkyScraper customer so far this week. Evidently an unorthodox approach can sometimes be useful! ;)

hi tim i want to download my file on the internet(like rapid or any ebook sites) to My skydrive any idea ?Thanx.

You are so smart Tim Acheson..
Its a great trick...
Thanks for this

Tim Acheson (26 Nov 09, 14:05)

Hello Horizon, yes I can help you do that, click the About link and then Contact Me.

Tim Acheson (26 Nov 09, 14:05)

Thanks waqar hehe ;)

James Berry (05 Dec 09, 04:52)

Hi! I'm interested in using the skyscraper to build some kind of personal webapp with it. I'm writting you from Xenode Systems México and if this idea works for me, maybe we will use it for our download site and of course, I can help you to promote your idea in our sites. Can you please send me a tutorial and the necesary files to work with the skyscraper? Our website is in remodelation, but you can visit our blog at: (available in many languages)

P.S. Do you already have an invitation for Google Wave? If not, I will send you one ASAP when I get new ones, just like a gift, I only need you to give me your e-mail...

P.S 2: Why don't you promote your project in Google Code? Visit: for more information

Tim Acheson (05 Dec 09, 10:08)

Hi James, yes I already received your email and sent you a reply. :)

This is an open source project, and I do intend to add it to Codeplex when I have time.

hi Tim.

Great work! ehehe... :) I used to follow the standard procedure for streaming with SkyDrive but ... :(

Is there a way to have this "script" etc hosted on our server etc?

So once again, thanks for the API and script. I will be using it to redirect to a couple of files.


Tim Acheson (21 Jan 10, 12:11)

Hi Argonaut, yes you could run my SkyScraper library on your own server, or simply use a public redirect URL. I've sent you an email.

Richard S (RetroCast) (10 Feb 10, 21:01)

Hi Tim

Thanks again for your help. Without this, My podcast wouldn't be live!

Cheers mate!


Tim Acheson (12 Feb 10, 11:26)

My pleasure! Always nice to see somebody else getting their content online. FYI I reccomend the SL2VideoPlayer for surfacing video. Just shout if you need a hand with anything else.

Ok I tried your url thing, and I am amazed! Seriously it is awesome.

I am streaming videos with the divx web player (wich I really like) And I would love if you would accept my usage of it.

I used it here:

Ot to be more specific, here:

I will only use it for videos like this.

Tim Acheson (12 Apr 10, 19:51)

Awesome! Another satisfied customer, thanks for letting me know. Your username "Gravemind" instantly suggests to me that you are a Halo player. Am I right? ;) Look me up on Xbox Live or "cbjoe".

I played Halo, the first two, never player the third one tought, I don't have a 360. I may buy it when it comes out for Win7. And in Halo 2 I just loved Gravemind, the ultimate flood entity.

But by now, I don't really simbolize my name with him anymore. It is my standart internet nickname. It has become kind of my second name ^^

I have to be honest, Halo is the best console egoshooter I had played, controls where awesome, the more or less free world-levels where amazing. I liked and hated "The Library", best level for two player legendary :3

But it can't compete with the Doom games on a PC (absolutely no fps in the world can, at my opinion ^^). I just love Doom!

Tim Acheson (14 Apr 10, 10:03)

You reallly need to play Halo 3! It's the best FPS ever! Doom on the PC is excellent. But the AI in Halo 3 is still the best there is (Doom doesn't even come close) and Halo 3 arguably the most interesting single-player campaign of any game. Do you even realise what you're missing? It's worth buying an Xbox 360 just for tat one game, seriously! ;)

Made a lil' game using Google SketchUp, but the file didn't upload to Google's 3D warehouse, and people are having trouble with what to do with SkyDrive. It'd be great if I could use your redirect to make things simpler :)

Tim Acheson (17 May 10, 10:16)

Yes, with my redirector or my SkyDrive API you can easily use SkyDrive for your purpose. I've sent you an email.

What was the problem you had with uploading to Google's 3D library? Was there an error message? New Google stuff is sometimes a bit buggy. Google purchased SketchUp from the original developer, but the 3D Library website I think they built themselves.

I'm a fan of Google SketchUp. I still use Poser Pro and DAZ 3D for 3D modelling and animation. It's great to have such a big player providing a 3D object library, too.

Dear Tim,

Can I use your skydrive url redirection to offer document downloads within my site.


Tim Acheson (18 May 10, 12:21)

Hi Nassan, I've sent you an email, my redirect could certainly do that for you very nicely.

Tim Acheson (28 May 10, 10:00)

NEW: Use this form to create permanent direct links to any file on SkyDrive.

Thanks to Frankie Braucci for creating this form which makes it quick and easy to use my SkyDrive redirect.

I tried to use the form based direct link generator, but what I found is that, It is not encoding the URL parameters, It only appends the url as such. I looked into the javascript through which It is implemented, nowhere encoding is done.

Hi, I have made a blogger plugin which converts the links used inside the blog to a direct link using youre Skyscraper API. If you allow, I'll make that plugin available for public.

Tim Acheson (13 Jul 10, 10:22)

Hi Waqar, yes feel free to go ahead and make that Blogger live, it would be very useful. I'll use it myself! Post a link here when it's live! :)

tim, i'm glad i've found this. but i have a problem... i have tried creating a flash banner on my site and i have uploaded a .swf file on skydrive, then i used its temp link and it works ok (besides that i need to change it everytime) then i tried to use your redirect linking but its not working. On other files like .jpg, .png, .mp4 it is working.

Tim Acheson (28 Sep 10, 17:30)

Hi chuchay, I sent you an email, I haven't heard back from you yet. The redirect will work fine, but one of the strange nand annoying things about Flash is it can fail due to things that you might expect it to cope with, e.g. query string parameters in the SWF file URL. You could use JavaScript to remove any query string parameters. I strongly reccomend using Silverlight as in my embedded video player demo.

Kenneth Endfinger (23 Nov 10, 16:23)

Can You Let Me Use It.

Kenneth Endfinger (29 Nov 10, 20:32)

I made a batch file that you just paste the page into it and it adds it to the end

I would like to know if I can obtain the permission to use it, since I belong to a Christian church, where we record the preaching and I would be a very useful power to place them online with any flash player of mp3, creating a list of hotlinks of skydrive. I am grateful for his collaboration and response, know that his url is of open code, but I would like to be provided with his approval to use it. God blesses him. (Sorry the traducción iam from venezuela)

Disculpa, por escribir de nuevo, copié la traducción y se omitió el pricipio de mi comentario y es este:

Hola Tim, me ha impresionado la solución que has conseguido para aprovechar la capacidad de almacenamiento de skydrive, he probado el script para firefox que se integra a skydrive con tu dirección.

" Hello Tim, I have been impressed by the solution that you have obtained to make use of the capacity of storage of skydrive, I have proved the script for firefox that integrates to skydrive with your direction. "

Hello Tim,
Recently, i've made a music blog, that spreads music to my friends. To upload te files, i used Fileden. That is under maintenance a lot, and has a low storage capacity. Now i want to use Skydrive, because of it's great capacity. Could you send me your Skyscraper DLL?
Many thanks in advance.

I have implemented encoding for special characters days after initially releasing that little script page....

Ehhh sorry, that was in response to someones complaint on my link page for Tim's API:

(sorry if this seems like advertising)

Tim Acheson (09 Feb 11, 17:42)

HI Frankie -- good call, yes I do reccomend applying proper URL encoding to values passed as query string parameters in a URL.

Tim Acheson (09 Feb 11, 17:59)

Hi Friso, yes no problem -- contact me through the About link at the top of this website.

Tim Acheson (05 Jul 11, 09:27)

Update: there is now an excellent [unofficial] SkyDrive API client library available as an open-source project on Codeplex!

I fully endorse and highly-reccomend this unofficial SkyDrive .Net API, until such a time as Microsoft either expose a public API or allow devs to use their existing web service API! The project is commendable -- most devs (myself included) are reluctant to spend time on such projects because we don't know when MS will release something similar.

Details blogged by the creator of the API.

Details blogged by Ed Bott.

Great notice Tim

Can you use it to develop another redirector to Skydrive hotlinks like pre-URL?

I think this is the only method to create direct donwload link in skydrive


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