Developer Showcases Plugin For iPhone’s Safari Browser
It is now close to two years since Apple launched the App Store. With over 200,000 iPhone apps now available for download, the App Store has been a truly revolutionary concept, which has nurtured a great ecosystem of developers and consumers.
According to iPhone developer Steven Smith, the next big area where Apple can tap the collective knowledge of developers is in building plugins for the native Mobile Safari Web browser.
According to Smith, developing a plugin for iPhone is pretty similar to developing one for Mac. He notes that Apple may release a Safari Plug-in SDK for iPhone OS that developers may use along with public APIs to build plugins for Safari. This can consequently bring a lot of sophisticated features to the Mobile Safari Web browser.
To prove that this is technically possible, Smith has developed an open source Objective-C based "proof of concept" plugin for iPhone OS. As noted earlier, the code structure on the plugin is very similar to a Safari plugin for desktop with the basic difference being that the NSView class is replaced with UIView. The plugin source code is now available for download at GitHub and can be tested either on an iPad simulator or using a jailbroken device.
Steven Smith illustrates the potential of such browser plugins by showcasing a video where his iPhone app, Lights Off [iTunes link], is shown running as an iPad Safari plug-in. You may watch the video below:
We have already seen plugins like Safari Download Manager and iMobileCinema for iPhone's Safari browser for jailbroken iPhone but Smith's work reminded us that plugins could increase the value proposition for Mobile Safari at a time when the browser faces competition from the likes of third party browser apps like Opera Mini.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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