Gears for Safari

Monday, September 15, 2008 at 9:59 AM



We're really excited to announce the official release of Gears for Safari on OS X (minimum requirements are Leopard 10.5.3 or Tiger 10.4.11).

You can download it today from http://gears.google.com.

This means that you can now access all the Gears-enabled sites (such as Zoho office, WordPress, the new YouTube uploader and Google Docs offline) in Safari.

Since launch, we've increased the number of APIs available in Gears. The 0.3 release added the ability to create desktop shortcuts for websites, and the 0.4 release added Geolocation and Blobs (useful for resumable uploads of large files). All of these are now available in Safari and work exactly the same as on the other browsers Gears supports.

We thought it might be interesting to talk about some of the technical aspects of Gears peculiar to Safari and OS X. If you aren't a developer you can safely skip the following paragraphs and go straight to the download page.

When you install Gears, you'll notice that it's composed of 2 components: an NPAPI plugin which lives in "/Library/Internet Plugins" and an InputManager. Gears needs to load first thing upon browser startup, for cases in which the first page loaded into the browser is from the Gears offline cache. NPAPI provides no mechanism for loading that early (it only provides support for loading plugins the first time a page specifically includes them) so we needed a small InputManager to do the work for us.

For browsers other than Safari that use the WebKit engine, we've provided a really simple mechanism to allow them to load Gears into their program without using the InputManager. Fluid is one example of a 3rd party browser that supports Gears this way.

On the Mac, Gears desktop shortcuts are actually small applications that are designed to open the website in the same browser they were originally created from. This means that if you created them from a Fluid app they'll open in that same place and if you've got multiple versions of Firefox installed on your machine the shortcut will open in the right one.

We hope you've found this post interesting. If you have any feedback we'd love to hear from you on our mailing list.