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New Features and Changes Coming to Apple’s Safari 12 Browser

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Apple showcased a range of new software titles like iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 Mojave during its brief WWDC 2018 keynote speech last week, then, in the days thereafter, the company went on to spend a wealth of hands-on time engaging with iOS, macOS and other developers, familiarizing them with all the new features and capabilities coming later this year to Apple products.

During one of these post-keynote sessions titled “What’s new in Safari and WebKit,” Apple employees spoke directly to devs about new features and enhancements coming to its Safari 12 web browser in iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 Mojave, which are expected to arrive this year on iPhone, iPad, Mac and more.

R.I.P. Safari Extensions Gallery

Notably, Apple announced it will be phasing out support for legacy Safari Extensions available for download outside of the company’s official Safari Extensions Gallery. Moreover, after close to eight years in constant development, the company said it plans to cease accepting new submissions to the gallery at the end of this year.

Instead, the iPhone-maker is encouraging developers to embrace its new Safari App Extensions platform which was introduced back in 2010.

“These extensions are distributed through native Mac applications, and Apple says they are much more secure and lightweight,” 9to5mac explains of Safari App Extensions, adding that “They don’t see any web browsing details, and because they run through the native Mac app, they put much less of a strain on memory and CPU performance.” 

Apple’s decision to kill off support and stop accepting new applications for Safari Extensions is clearly meant to encourage iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 developers to embrace the newer App Extensions platform moving forward.

“We’ll continue to accept submissions to the Gallery until the end of 2018,” said Shloka Kini, an Apple Developer Publications team member. “However, we will be coming up with more updates in the following year. And will eventually transition entirely to Safari App Extensions. So the best thing for you to do is learn how to develop extensions in [Safari App Extensions and Content Blockers].”

Automatic Strong Passwords

In a separate leg of the Safari 12 preview session, Apple announced minor but impactful changes coming to its current automatic passwords platform for Safari. Chiefly, the company announced a new automatic strong passwords format.

Apple says that now, by default, auto-fill passwords are 20 characters long and comprised of upper-case letters, lower-case letters, digits, and hyphens. Furthermore, web developers will soon have the option of employing the “passwordrules” attribute in settings should they wish to add additional requirements for passwords on their websites.

New APIs 

Apple introduced several new application programming interfaces (APIs) slated to make their way into Safari 12, including an API for viewing Safari in all-screen format on iPad, custom drag and drop features for website developers, easier Apple Pay support with the Payment Request API and more.

Apple Watch Support

Last but not least, Apple explained how developers can utilize the “responsive design” feature as part of their website optimization efforts for comfortable presentation on Apple Watch.

“If you use responsive design, we do all the work for you and your websites are going to look great on watchOS,” Apple said, adding that web developers who’d like to optimize their existing webpages for Apple Watch can view the company’s full web design for Apple Watch video straight from the WWDC app.

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