OS X El Capitan to Bring New Safari Extensions Gallery as Part of Unified $99 Developer Program

Apple earlier this week announced a new consolidated Apple Developer Program for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Safari, combining the previously separate iOS, OS X and Safari Dev Programs into one for a single $99 annual fee. The change should place more emphasis on and increase the security of Safari extensions, but some developers have voiced their frustrations about the new fee.

Safari Extensions Gallery
In particular, developers will now be required to pay $99 per year to distribute Safari extensions through the new Safari Extensions Gallery. Comparatively, the old standalone Safari Dev Program was free and did not charge developers a fee to distribute Safari extensions within or outside of the Safari Extensions Gallery. Chrome and other browsers also do not charge a fee to distribute extensions.

Reddit user honestbleeps shared the email Apple sent to Safari developers:

"Dear Developer,

As a creator of Safari Extensions, you’ve helped enrich the browsing experience for Safari users by taking advantage of development resources through the Safari Developer Program. This program is now part of the new Apple Developer Program, which combines everything you need to develop, distribute, and manage your apps on all Apple platforms.

Your existing Safari Developer Program membership will remain active until July 8, 2015 and your Safari extensions will continue to work for existing users.

You can continue building Safari extensions and bring your creativity to other Apple platforms by joining the Apple Developer Program. Join today to provide updates to your current extensions, build new extensions, and submit your extensions to the new Safari Extensions Gallery for OS X El Capitan. You can also learn how to extend your coding skills to create innovative new apps for Apple customers around the world."

Apple aims to improve the security of Safari on OS X El Capitan by implementing Secure Extension Distribution, meaning that all extensions in the Safari Extensions Gallery will now be hosted and signed by Apple. Safari extensions installed from the Safari Extensions Gallery will be updated automatically, while those distributed outside of the Gallery are ineligible for automatic updating.

Apple has created a page for developers to submit Safari extensions for OS X El Capitan in the fall, and developers can read both the Safari Extensions Review Guidelines and Safari Extensions Development Guide to prepare. Safari extensions available now will continue working for current users, and existing Safari Developer Program memberships will remain active until July 8, 2015.

Safari 9.0 will also feature content blocking extensions for both iOS and OS X, providing users with a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups and other content. Xcode includes a Content Blocker App Extension template that contains code for developers to send their JSON files to Safari that specifies which content should be blocked. A full Safari 9.0 changelog is in the Safari Developer Library.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
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69 months ago
This is bad. This means that developers of extensions like RES and uBlock are now forced to pay Apple $99 to produce free extensions for Safari.

More here:

1. RES: http://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/397bn6/apple_wants_me_to_pay_100_to_continue_publishing/

2. uBlock: http://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/398fgq/apples_new_safari_extension_policy_100year_to/ ('http://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/398fgq/apples_new_safari_extension_policy_100year_to/')
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
69 months ago
Safari isn't in a position where people want to develop extensions over Chrome. Adding an obstacle to develop extensions just drives the (remaining) extension developers away.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
69 months ago
From a security standpoint, this is actually good for the end user. Installed Safari Extensions can inject malicious code into any website you visit. Combined with auto-update, you never know if an extension might be compromised – which has happened to both Firefox and Chrome extensions. By requiring a paid/verified developer account and code signing, Apple gains the ability to revoke malicious extensions.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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69 months ago
Why isn't Apple doing all it can to attract new developers? They're certainly not hurting for cash.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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69 months ago
I'll place a bet on this will be reversed. If they don't this just killed Safari.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
69 months ago

Don't care.

My Mac cost thousands. I spend more on coffee a year than $99. If you cannot or will not afford that then you got no business making stuff for people's expensive hardware.

If a developer creates and produces an extension simply because they enjoy coding or wants to help others why should they be forced to pay for the privilege of giving something away for free? If they wanted the extension listed in the marketplace then I can understand it but that's not what this is, it's for all extensions. I know that RES would have no problem charging $0.99 or even giving it away for free and simply asking for a donation each year from other Reddit users but what about smaller developers who create extensions simply to get experience and exposure?

This won't keep garbage out of the Safari extension marketplace, it will keep out small devs who look at this as a hobby, the people who wanted functionality and spent the time to create it and then shared their work with others for free. Look at the app store, there are tons of garbage apps and it's curated by Apple. Malicious extensions still exist in Chrome and Firefox and they have extension marketplaces. I really don't understand this move.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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