Best way to write a Safari 4 Extension

Question :

Best way to write a Safari 4 Extension,

Answer :

What is the best way to write a Safari extension? I’ve written a couple XUL extensions for Firefox, and now I’d like to write versions of them for Safari. Is there a way that would allow you to add buttons or forms to the browser UI, since this is not possible with an Input manager or Service menu?

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Safari plugin development is non-trivial. The interface is written in Objective-C, and most of it is not even part of WebKit (so you can’t see the source), but there’s machinery to inspect and patch the object hierarchy of a running application. It requires understanding of Cocoa and Objective-C, but no lower.

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Here’s a high level overview I had in my bookmarks of the process It goes over creating Safari plugins using Python with working (probably outdated) code. Instead of Python you can use anything that has Objective-C bindings.

There are two major parts to it:

  • You need to attach your code to a running Safari. This is typically done with SIMBL
  • Once you’re inside, you need to figure what to patch. There’s a tutorial on reversing Cocoa applications , which links to the most important tool, class-dump  (the link on wiki is broken). Class-dump gives you a complete hierarchy of Safari’s classes, where you can guess by names what, specifically, you need to patch. This is a very trial and error mode.
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Reading the links above will give you the scope of the project.

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