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Possible Introduction of Safari Extensions at WWDC?

DaringFireball's John Gruber appears to have slyly hinted that Apple may be planning to open the door to browser extensions on Safari at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) early next month. Gruber's comments come in the form of an apparent random musing that appears as part of a post on Google Chrome for Mac and Linux advancing out of the beta channel carrying support for thousands of extensions.

The other big thing that's missing (compared to both Chrome and Firefox) is a proper extension API. If only Apple had an imminent developer conference where they could unveil such a thing.

As is common with Gruber's hints, the tidbit is phrased more as a "what if" statement than an outright declaration that we should expect such an announcement, but it seems reasonable to guess that he may have some inside knowledge of Apple's work in this area.

Browser extensions are software add-ons designed to offer new functionality beyond that offered in the basic browser package or alter the way tasks are handled or content displayed. Application programming interfaces (APIs) for browser extensions provide a means for third-party developers to create their own add-ons, opening the door to significant modification of browsers' capabilities.

Apple has in the past used WWDC has a stage for Safari-related announcements. In 2007, the company announced the first beta versions of Safari 3, extending the browser onto Windows for the first time. A year later, as part of its early ramping of developer previews of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, the company began seeding beta versions of Safari 4 during WWDC. And in 2009, Apple officially brought Safari 4 out of beta at the conference.