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Apple Safari Extensions Gallery launching soon

Apple has sent a reminder to its developers that the company's new storefront for web extensions will be opening to the public soon, providing an App Store-like experience for customizing and extending the new Safari 5 browser.

"Submit your Safari extension today," the email says. "Selected extensions will be featured on the new Safari Extensions Gallery. We’ll soon be launching the Safari Extensions Gallery, a new destination that provides you with an opportunity to increase the visibility of your Safari extension beyond your website."

The note adds, "the Safari Extensions Gallery will feature selected extensions that offer an innovative user experience. And a one-click installation process will allow users to seamlessly install extensions from a developer’s website without ever having to leave the Gallery. Have your extension considered for the Safari Extensions Gallery. Submit your extension download URL and supporting metadata today."

Developers can already distribute Safari extensions on their own, and at least one site has appeared to draw attention to the browser extensions that are already available.

"It remains unclear just how choosy Apple’s Safari Extension Gallery will be," writes Jonas Wisser, who maintains the Safari Extensions blog. "From the line about innovative user experiences, it seems like there’s a chance the SEG will be more selective than the App Store has been. If that’s the case, I will likely continue posting submitted extensions here to provide a less curated center for extension distribution."

How Safari 5 Extensions work

Apple originally announced the coming Safari Extension Gallery alongside the release of Safari 5 at WWDC. It presents the extension feature as a way for third parties to create buttons for the toolbar or make your own extension bar, change the way web content appears or add controls to web pages.

"Safari Extensions are built with web standards, so you can do it all using the power of HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript," Apple's Safari site explains. "If you know how to develop web pages, then you already know how to make extensions for Safari.

"Help with putting it all together is built right in. It’s called Extension Builder, and it makes it simple to package your extension for distribution and installation. Instead of manually entering your scripts, menu items, stylesheets, and commands in a complicated text file, you can select your extension resources visually in a template that’s as easy to fill out as a form. You can also use the built-in Web Inspector to design, debug, and optimize your extension, just as you would a website."

Apple also notes that "every Safari extension is signed with an Apple-provided digital certificate — free with the Safari Developer Program. The certificate protects the extensions you develop from tampering and ensures that updates come only from you. Safari Extensions also include built-in defenses like sandboxing, which safeguards your extensions from being used to access information on a user’s system"