Friday, January 15, 2021

Where Are the Safari Web Extensions?

Jason Snell (tweet):

At WWDC 2020, Apple announced it was going to support Chrome-style browser extensions (the WebExtensions API) in Safari. But with a catch[…]

You have to adapt it for WebKit, join Apple’s $99/year developer program, learn how to use Xcode and App Store Connect, and distribute via the Mac App Store.

Months after Safari 14’s release, are developers “bothering with Safari?”

The answer seems to be largely no—at least, not yet. The Mac App Store’s Safari extensions library seems to be largely populated with the same stuff that was there before Safari 14 was released, though there are some exceptions.


Beyond needing to get set up with Xcode, Abrahamowicz has had to deal with some specific security limitations Apple applies to extensions, which may require him to actually write some Mac-specific code in order to give the Safari version of Library Extension the same features it has on other platforms.

Apple recently posted some encouragement for potential developers.


Update (2021-01-18): See also: Hacker News.


We recently converted a chrome extension into safari extension using the tool provided by apple. While the conversion is smooth in general, the generated app (not the extension) got UI issue during extension review! Reviewer insists the app does not fit the UI guideline. I need to write back and explain the entire app is actually generated by the official Apple tool. The only use of generated app is open the preferences page of Safari. Anyway, after two back and forth, the extension is finally launched.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

There are developers who said the source code are there but they are not bothering with Developer Registration let alone the $99/year.

I'm not sure I see the point of requiring $99/yr for individuals with free products in the App Store, but allowing the fee to be waived for non-profit organizations with free products in the App Store. That seems backwards to me.

In my experience, any non-profit org (especially one which can justify bespoke application development!) can come up with another $99 in a year. Individuals who write code in their spare time on a Mac can, too, but empirically they don't seem to want to.

The software is already being written. Apple isn't getting paid either way. The only losers here are the users who don't get (easier) access to free software on Apple platforms.

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