Developer Program Means A More Flexible Future For Safari



There’s a lot of new stuff in Safari 5, but one of the most interesting new things isn’t a software feature at all: the Safari Developer Program.

This sort of does for Safari what the App Store does for iDevices. Anyone’s allowed to sign up (it’s free), and anyone can create their own Safari extensions using our old friends HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

The program provides digital certificates for extensions. (My understanding is that if your extension isn’t certified, Safari won’t let you run it – correct me if I’m wrong on that.) In addition, extensions are sandboxed – they don’t have access to any user information.

Apple describes the program like this: “You can add buttons to the Safari toolbar, create extension bars of your own, modify the behavior and appearance of webpages, and more.”

The first extension to make itself known (although still not available for download or install – yet) is Panic’s Coda Notes, a clever way for website clients to make notes right on top of a site-in-progress, and send their comments back to the developers. That gives you a tiny inkling of what’s possible.

In short, if there’s ever been something that bugs you about Safari, something you desperately wish it could do but that you’ve never had much hope of Apple implementing, the Developer Program should provide some hope. Someone might make the button you’ve been looking for; and if they don’t, you can always try making it yourself.

I can’t wait to see what people are going to come up with.


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