Apple (s aapl) has opened up the Safari extensions gallery for third-party submissions in preparation of opening the gallery to the public. While you can install extensions now, you need to first know where to download them.
It’s a good bet that the average user probably doesn’t know anything about the extensions yet. We’ve compiled a list of 25 of our favorites, but Apple’s gallery will open up extensions to a wider audience, much like its downloads page did for third-party Mac OS X apps.
If you are a developer, submitting your extension is fairly simple. Apple has a form to fill out in the Safari Dev Center, and it’ll send an email to let you know when you’re extension has been received. When we walked through the submission process, Apple sent us this email:
“Thank you for submitting your Safari Extension.
Apple reviews all submissions and reserves the right to omit, edit, or reject any submission. Please note you will not receive any further notifications.
We appreciate your interest in Safari.”
Based on this reply it seems like the extensions Gallery may be subject to the same approval process as the App Store. Firefox has a similar review process for hosting addons at addons.mozilla.org, similar that is in that there is a process. Mozilla has been handling extensions for a long time, and has the process finely tuned. When submitting an addon for Firefox, the addon is available immediately and labeled “experimental,” and requires the user to acknowledge and accept the risk of using an addon that has not been reviewed by an editor. Mozilla has clear rules about what is acceptable and what is not, and has a page that addresses the review process directly. So far, I have not found the same for Safari.
Google Chrome also has extensions, but in a much looser, less controlled environment than Firefox or Safari. According to Google:
Most extensions won’t go through an approval process before being listed in the gallery. The exception to this rule are extensions which utilize the NPAPI interface, or extensions which access file:// URLs
Google’s rules are loose, but at least they are not vague. I hope that as development on Safari progresses, and the extensions gallery matures, the rules defining what is allowed and what is not are more clearly defined.
If you are interested in developing your own Safari extension, check out our beginner tutorial which walks you through creating a very basic “Hello World” extension.