Twelve weeks after Apple released a plug-in architecture that enables third-party developers to connect Aperture directly to other products and services, Apple is aware of a growing number of developers that are creating plug-ins and there will be many more in the pipeline, according to Richard Kerris, Director, Partnerships Professional Photography Applications at Apple

“To date we've had over 170 developers request the SDK for creating plug-ins.  Today, there are already 10 released plug-ins, with more from both companies and individuals releasing plug-ins every day,” he told Macworld.

Apple launched its Aperture API at Photokina with several big-name partners, including Getty Images, iStockphoto and Flickr, and interest in developing plug-ins for Aperture has exceeded the company’s expectations. But the really exciting thing for Apple isn’t just the level of interest in producing plug-ins for Aperture. “Developers are taking Aperture to places that we hadn’t even thought of at the onset. We are thrilled to see where it is going,” Kerris said.

Kerris spoke about some of the companies that have partnered with Apple to deliver Aperture plug-ins, a number of which are profiled on the Apple website. 

Most notable is Getty, for whom the ability to submit images digitally was a real breakthrough. “This is the first time Getty has gone to a digital submission,” explained Kerris. “In the past a photographer had to fill in 16 pages of documentation for every shoot. Then they had to burn all the images onto a DVD, put the DVD in a Fed-Ex envelope and ship it off to Getty. This was a complex process and took too long. We were very excited to help Getty understand what digital submission means, and help them simplify what it does."

Smug plug-in

One developer in particular has caught Kerris’s attention. “I hear from many keen developers from all over the world. Vitaliy Pronkin from Russia is particularly exciting,” said Kerris.

Pronkin knew of people who wanted to use Aperture with SmugMug and started working on an Aperture plug-in that would allow them to export images to SmugMug, explained Kerris. “We had already had discussions with SmugMug who couldn’t work directly with us, due to an existing marketing program with another company, but that doesn’t prohibit an independent developer from using our SDK to make things happen,” he added. "Our SDK is free and when you combine that with a fully functional 30 day trial of Aperture, all developers have the opportunity to test drive creating a plug-in for Aperture.  Vitaly has delivered a plug-in based on user requests from a list server.  There's a lot more like this that we're hearing about all the time."

SmugMug currently collaborates with Adobe to allow Photoshop Elements 5.0 users a simple way to share photos.  Now Aperture customers can do the same.

Pronkin’s SmugMug plug-in is available here.