Plugins can be incredibly useful. But they won’t do you much good if they’re not browser compatible. While Safari isn’t the leader in PC browsers right now, it’s the default internet option for iPhones, so it’s vital to make sure it’ll work well with the plugin you’ve picked. But how do you make sure that your plugin is compatible with Safari?
How to Check a Plugin’s Compatibility
The safest way to test the validity and compatibility of plugins is by using development programs like the Plug-in Development Environment (PDE). This provides tools to develop, test, and debug your plugins.
Another option would be to check the ratings given in the App Store. Everything in the App Store is reviewed, signed, and hosted by Apple for your security.
Safari plugins add functionality to Safari, so you can explore the web how you want to. They can show helpful information about webpages, display news headlines, change website appearance, help you use your favorite services, and tons more. These are great ways to make your browsing experience more.
To turn off a plugin, deselect its checkbox. You should always do this if you don’t know what the plugin does or you don’t expect to use it again. To uninstall a plugin, simply select the plugin and click the uninstall button.
How Plugins Work
Believe it or not, plugins have existed since the 1970s. One of the first uses of plugins was in the EDT text editor. It allowed external programs to access an edit session in memory, becoming the world’s first plugin. This plugin would call the editor and have it perform text-editing services upon the buffer that the editor and the plugin shared.
One of the first uses of plugins for iOS devices was Quark Xpress on the Macintosh in 1897. Quark Xpress is a desktop publishing software for creating and editing complex page layouts. It’s essentially a “What you see is what you get” environment. Quark Xpress is still available today, and version 15.1.1 was recently released in 2019.
Plugins themselves are not self-sufficient. They depend entirely on the services provided by the host application. The host app, on the other hand, is autonomous. Essentially users can add and update its plugins without needing to make changes to the host.
More often than not, coders are the ones who implement plugin functionality. They use shared libraries for dynamic loading when the program starts running. Then the host app decides where it’s installed.
A shared library is basically a file that’s intended to be sent by executable files. Hypercard, a plugin for Macintosh devices, supports a similar function. Although, that plugin is more commonly included in the stacks themselves. Programs may also use plugins by loading a bunch of simple script files written in languages like Python or Lua.
Why We Need Plugins
Programs support plugins for several reasons. It helps give third party developers the ability to create abilities that extend an application. It supports quickly adding new features and reduces the size of an app. It helps to protect software licenses by separating source code from applications.
Web browsers use Adobe Flash Player, Java SE, QuickTime, Microsoft Silverlight, and Unity. Sadly, these are almost entirely deprecated now, with the shift from browser plugins to browser extensions. The difference between them is mainly that extensions are usually just source code, but plugins are always executables.
The Dangers of Plugins
Plugins are fantastic resources that increase the functionality of your website or app. But, the more of them you have, the higher the risk. Too many can slow your site down, and plugin bugs can cause big problems. Plugin problems can be random and unexpected. But, thankfully, Apple’s plugins compatible with Safari are tested for safety and security on your iPhone.
Plugins are low risk, low reward. Any plugin from the Apple App Store is the latest version and is compatible with Safari. To be completely safe, always test your plugins in a development program environment.