Important: This document may not represent best practices for current development. Links to downloads and other resources may no longer be valid.
Introduction to WebKit Plug-in Programming Topics
Web browser plug-ins are compiled bundles that help extend the content types supported by common web browsers. Installed locally on a computer, they can run code native to the user’s operating system and provide a powerful way to expand on standard web content.
Who Should Read This Document?
This document is designed for a number of different audiences:
If you are a Cocoa and WebKit developer, you should read about the plug-in architecture used by WebKit and learn how compiled plug-ins operate within WebKit-based applications, including Safari.
If you are a developer who is concerned with cross-platform compatibility for your software, but who also wants to deploy special content via a web browser, you should read about the Netscape-based plug-in architecture and learn how it is supported in a variety of browsers.
If you are a web content developer, you should read about both plug-in architectures and learn how to integrate their features into custom plug-ins to support your content.
Organization of This Document
The topic contains the following articles:
About Web Browser Plug-ins describes the benefits of web browser plug-ins and how they are integrated into common browsers. It also discusses the advantages and disadvantages of both plug-in models, and how to deploy plug-ins on computers and web sites.
Creating Plug-ins with the Netscape API describes how to use the Netscape plug-in architecture to develop and deploy web browser plug-ins across multiple browsers and platforms.
Creating Legacy Plug-ins with Cocoa and WebKit describes the legacy WebKit-based plug-in architecture.
There are lots of helpful resources available to guide you through plug-in development.
Mozilla’s Plug-ins Project discusses the cross-browser Netscape API and also includes lots of sample code.
Plug-in Detections discusses how to tune your web content to detect plug-ins (if registration did not solve the problem).
Read the WebKit Objective-C Framework Reference for the full WebKit plug-in reference and the reference detailing the WebKit-scripting environment bridge.
Read the WebKit Objective-C Programming Guide for tips on good WebKit application design and how the web scripting environment can access WebKit methods and properties (and vice versa).