Plugins to be browser agnostic – gee where did I hear that before?

There’s been some interesting news coming out of Google and Adobe regarding the idea of Chrome having built-in Flash support. As some have pointed out this is rather curious given Google’s apparent support for HTML5 but hey who are we to second guess the great Google eh.

What is more interesting to me was some additional news that came along with the Chrome and Flash info. It appears that Google is also working with Mozilla to develop a browser agnostic plugin API.

In addition, Adobe says it is working with Mozilla and Google and the “broader community” to create a new API for browser plugins. This new API, which will build off Mozilla’s NPAPI, which has been designed from the start to be both operating system and browser neutral. In essence, the goal of the new API is to allow plugins to more tightly integrate with host browsers, which in turn should benefit users in terms of performance and security.

The new browser plugin API will allow add-ons to directly share more information about its current state to its developers and the makers of the host browser it was made for, and it could also allow for a more secure browsing experience as the process of unifying security models and collaboration on techniques to defend against hackers (e.g. sandboxing) will be made easier.

Source:Robin Wauters

I say interesting because aside from the great benefit that it would bring to both users and developers it is a subject that I wrote about last week.

Even though the post was more in reference to Twitter clients and the use of plugins I did also raise the subject of browser plugins

In the case of our browsers plugins are clearly delineated by the browser they are coded to work with. Instead of having a plugin that can work regardless of which browser you may be using at the moment we have to hunt up; if even available, our favorite plugin for each of the browsers we use and install each separately. The newly announced initiative from Mozilla Labs called Contacts which is suppose to let us consolidate all our contacts in one area using the Portable Contacts format is a good example of a great idea being limited.

It is understandable that Mozilla is tying the idea in with their Firefox browser but what about the rest of us that don’t want to use Firefox. It is ideas like this that should be universally available regardless of browser or platform with a single install, which of course would take the operating system into account.

Little did I know when I wrote the above that this was an area where some real effort was being done. It is an effort that I totally applaud and I really hope that if this actually gets off the ground that Microsoft would be willing to hop on board.