back to article Apple extends idiot-tax operation, makes devs pay to fix Safari snafus

Programmers building Safari extensions will now have to bung Apple some dosh to avoid having their browser add-ons kicked off the official Safari extensions gallery. Apple has merged developer programs for iOS, OS X and Safari under a single Apple Developer Program roof, so $99 a year will get you access to behind-the-scenes …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And yet, like developers for other Apple platforms, the developers will bend over and say "Yes please, Sir."

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Probably not

      I mean, almost nobody uses Safari and this change will simply remove the "almost" from this state of affairs.

      1. karlp

        Re: Probably not

        And what else shall we use?

        Oddly enough over the past year or two of Firefox continuing to get (more) terrible and google being hellbent on breaking plugins and pretty much pushing people to responsive html5 as the only option, safari has just stayed there continuing to get a little better every patch and generally playing well with everything.

        Just this morning I pulled out a macbook to setup some IPCams which refused to work in chrome or firefox. (But did work 6 months ago.)

        It's fine to make fun of it, but Safari is doing more right than wrong these days, at least in my book.

        ..... Just to be clear, I am not as big of a fan of Safari as I am frustrated by the ongoing Google/Mozilla product-evolution sequence.

        Karl P

        1. Test Man

          Re: Probably not

          "And what else shall we use?"

          Opera? There you go, a giant hole in your own argument.

          1. karlp

            Re: Probably not

            My argument wasn't that Safari is some bastion of freedom but rather that we shouldn't be disparaging towards a browser which seems to be getting more right than wrong lately when compared to it's peers.

            I thought I made that clear in my sign-off.

            Karl P

          2. chivo243 Silver badge

            Re: Probably not

            I was hoping you would have named my fav - Camino! I liked Opera until a major change came, i don't remember the version.

            1. Robert Helpmann??

              Re: Probably not

              I was hoping you would have named my fav - Camino!

              *Ahem!* "After a decade-long run, Camino is no longer being developed, and we encourage all users to upgrade to a more modern browser. Camino is increasingly lagging behind the fast pace of changes on the web, and more importantly it is not receiving security updates, making it increasingly unsafe to use."

          3. Greg J Preece

            Re: Probably not

            Opera? There you go, a giant hole in your own argument.

            You mean Chrome?

    2. mafoo

      well, on the other hand they just made it so anyone can compile and sideload apps to their devices with Xcode 7

      So the apple giveth and the apple taketh.

  2. Sebby

    I appreciate the vitriol, as always, but honestly I can't see what the problem is. Yes automatic updates are nice, but unless I'm mistaken, Apple aren't revoking distribution of extensions outside of the beautiful garden. Compare and contrast with the competition. So unless there's something I'm missing here, I'm inclined to think this is all a bit meh. It'd be nice if extensions could supply their own update mechanism, but in the absence of that, I'll survive. Like the Mac, you can live without Apple's blessing. iOS is the only real straggler now, and as of iOS 9 you can actually develop on your own device without payment. I hope this is a sign of good things ahead, but I'm not holding my breath.

    1. Craigness


      "Compare and contrast with the competition"

      In Google's case you can develop and release extensions for free outside the Chrome Web Store but there are no automatic updates. How's that a contrast?

      The exception is that Chrome on Windows will disable and then prompt you to re-enable any extensions from outside the web store each time you restart the browser. How does Safari for Windows handle it?

      1. karlp

        Re: Compare

        I believe you will find that as of just recently the _only_ way** to get an extension to run is if it is listed in the Chrome Web Store.

        This is a policy which has been coming for awhile, and has arrived in increasing force.

        Even if you want to develop for purely local/personal usage, it needs to go through the Web Store.

        Karl P

        **Currently you can get around this by using the dev-m branch of the Chromium browser, but that is being listed as a temporary measure.

        **Also, in the interests of full disclosure, you can get around this limitation by joining your machine to an AD network and pushing a GPO of allowed un-authorized extensions. But the process is tedious at best.

        1. Craigness

          Re: Compare


          I do develop for local/personal usage (on Windows, Linux and Chrome OS, always on the stable channel), and I also have extensions in the store. I run extensions from .crx and from source files on all platforms, without going through the web store.

    2. SuccessCase

      Typical The Register looking for every negative re-Apple as usual. As a developer, I'm actually very much in favour of the pay to submit to the AppStore model. The amount charged doesn't exactly break the bank, and it gets rid of all the bedroom programmers who will be submitting the fart and cat photo apps who are in danger of reducing the ratio of signal to noise to something awful. The end user interested in useful apps doesn't want an App Store like that. The Pro-programmer doing serious work and seeking to make a living doesn't want it and the Appstore becomes unnavigable if there is too much crapware (discovery is already enough of a headache as it is).

      Of course its important to encourage beginners, and everyone has to start somewhere, but you can, because you can download XCode for free, and this year Apple have changed the model such that everyone can compile code and install it on the device (previously if you had not joined the program, you could only install on the simulator).

      You only have to pay to join the App Store once you are ready to distribute code. Also given Apple allow free apps, but review all apps before releasing them on the Appstore, it seems to me quite reasonable to charge at this stage, as that is when they are incurring the cost. Plus of course you get the opportunity to submit two incident report tickets should you need dedicated help from Apple.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Might be a good thing

    Maybe this will clean up junk extensions. If the developer is serious they probably already have a developer account and it shouldn't be an issue. This stops anyone from building junk and releasing it like the Play Store.

  4. Craigness

    Could it be...

    ...that this is a way to make extension developers charge for their wares and give Apple their 30% cut? Google charges $5 for a lifetime and most of the Chrome apps and extensions are free. If devs had to recoup $100/year they might be inclined either to leave or to take advantage of the payments platform.

  5. W Donelson

    Complaining about 27 cents per day? Really?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Malware Maker Safari Edition ... $666

    Dummy app reskinning (offshore) ... $333

    Yearly app store listing fee... $99

    Owning mad noobs... priceless

  7. SImon Hobson

    > This just feels like a huge kick in the face from Apple

    As far as I can tell, that's normal if you deal with them. I've seen a few businesses where they've been doing OK, then Apple pulls the rug out. In some cases it's because Apple have seen that they've got a nice little market and release their own product (often bundled so all users get it which means few will buy anything else), or in the latest case (which applies to a piece of software I use) they've just dropped sync services from the OS because "everyone uses iCloud".

    Well I'm not ****ing using iCloud, and it's a right ****ing PITA trying to sort out alternatives for what the one piece of software used to do. The vendor has been forced to drop their main products.

  8. simon gardener

    getting better and cheaper for the average dev

    Safari extension developers that are exclusively that must be a tiny number.

    At the same time, the changes mean you don't have to pay twice to release mac and iOS apps.

    So in all likelihood Apple have probably done something that costs their developer membership revenue substantially.

    greedy Apple , bad Apple ???

    1. Lutter

      Re: getting better and cheaper for the average dev

      I am an exclusive Safari extension developer. Apple now wants to charge me for the same service that Mozilla, Google and Opera provide for free.

      Here is the number of extensions in the galleries, counted by me: Chrome 23 585, Firefox 12 841, Thunderbird 1 199, Opera 895, Internet Explorer 858, Seamonkey 714, Safari 484, Firefox for Android 285.

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