John Gruber is well known for making predictions weeks before Apple announces stuff. He usually puts it as a joke, but God knows why he’s usually right.
The latest from our beloved John is the following piece about Safari:
“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.”
Ok, so he threw it out there. Could be a joke, could be anything…or it could be that Gruber knows Steve’s got something coming up and he’s having some fun teasing us. Let’s think about it: it would make perfect sense. Safari needs a big update, and Apple needs to prove to users that they can make the best and fastest browser ever made. Still, people want to customize a browser. They want to put anything they like in it, who cares if that anything makes the browser a truckload of crap. Of course Apple doesn’t work like that, and that’s the reason why they haven’t allowed developers to easily develop extensions for Safari.
Until now. Let’s say Apple comes up with a unified extensions API for Safari and adds support for Mobile Safari as well. We’ve seen developers creating plugins for iPhone OS before. Apple could estabilish the language (Obj-C), the rules and sell plugins for Mobile Safari in the App Store. That, again, would make perfect sense: approved software by certified developers that release good stuff.
What about the Mac? Here’s the thing: Apple can’t announce a Mac App Store and make the platform closed overnight. So if they want to be sure that customers install “good stuff” and yet they want to retain control over it, that’s simply not possible. If Apple does want to give us the possibility to customize our browsers, then it’s all about trust and user choice. I mean, what if I install an extension that modifies Safari’s window and makes it a clone of Netscape? That is my fault. Or maybe Apple could just restrict the things an extension can do and allow devs to do stuff within a certain limit. That wouldn’t make much sense to me.
Anyway, we’re always talking about a brief note from Gruber and we don’t know if there’s something true about it. Sure Apple should consider opening Safari’s platform and let devs play with it. Come on, just think about an in-browser Twitterrific version for Safari.