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Sherlock 3 Channel Development

Deliver Powerful Web Services Using Sherlock
Sherlock 3 is dramatically better than standard web browsers at retrieving and displaying some of the most practical and useful information available on the internet, like stock news, movie previews, locations and show times, yellow pages listings, eBay auction activity and much, much more. Do you need a host for your next Internet based search application? Do you have valuable data online that your users need to access in an elegant manner? Sherlock channels are the way to go.

Beginning with Mac OS X version 10.2, Sherlock uses a powerful, new model for channels that gives channel developers much more flexibility in how their data is displayed.

Sherlock channels provide a way to organize search results in a more intuitive and useful way for users by providing a front-end interface for a Web-based search engine or other information database. However, unlike most browser-based searches, Sherlock channels have full control over how search results are displayed and can take full advantage of the rich Aqua interface of Mac OS X.

Users can look forward to asking Sherlock to perform more and more services as time goes by. Will some of them be developed by you?

Technical Resources
Sherlock 3 Channel SDK (572KB)
Everything required to develop a channel is provided in the Sherlock 3 Channel SDK. The SDK includes technical documentation, a sample channel, a Project Builder template, and an Interface Builder Sherlock palette.

Note, after you've run the installer you'll find technical documentation located in /Developer/Documentation/Sherlock, sample channels in /Developer/Examples/Sherlock, and a Sherlock Channel option in the Standard Apple Plug-ins project group in Project Builder's New Project assistant.

Developer Channels for Debugging and Testing
Be sure to subscribe to the Sherlock developer channels which provide valuable testing and debugging services for channel development. Learn how to use these channels here.
Sherlock Channel Developer Mailing List
Developers who wish to discuss the details and issues involved with creating a Sherlock channel should join the Sherlock Channel Development mailing list. This list is monitored by members of the Sherlock Engineering team and Apple Worldwide Developer Relations.

Supporting Earlier Versions of Sherlock
Prior to Mac OS X 10.2, channels in Sherlock were implemented as plug-ins that the user (or Sherlock) downloaded from the web and installed locally. These plug-ins provided a mapping for Sherlock to use in interpreting search results from an online source. The Sherlock application then merged the results from multiple sources and displayed them in a unified interface.

Supporting earlier versions of Sherlock is not possible using the Sherlock 3 channel architecture, however it is possible to migrate a Sherlock 2 plugin to Sherlock 3 using sample code provided for this purpose in the Sherlock 3 Channel SDK.

If you want to develop specifically for earlier versions of Sherlock, visit the Sherlock 2 page for detailed technical information.

Sherlock Channel Feedback
If you're developing a channel, we'd love to hear from you. For example: Who are you? What does your channel do? What types of users will be interested in using your channel and the information it provides? What technical hurdles did you run into during your development?

We read all feedback carefully, but please note that we cannot respond to the comments you submit.

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