Extensions Finally Come to Safari! How to Enable them, and the Best Place to Find them
In addition to Safari 5‘s uptick in performance and its formidable new built-in ad-blocking function, which will delight some readers and terrify some web publishers, the biggest change present in Apple’s latest overhaul of its Safari browser is the long-overdue addition of Extensions.
For me, and, I suspect, for many people who like the Internet, Safari’s previous lack of extensions put it at a major disadvantage versus Chrome and Firefox. Browsing the Internet is an important enough part of many of our lives that it seems necessary that any good browser be easily customizable to reflect and ease our Web habits. Previously, Safari supported plug-ins, but these were always clunky and rather limited in scope; as soon as Safari 5’s extension capabilities were rolled out, Pimp My Safari, which had been a go-to site for the fairly small Safari modding community, closed shop. But not before passing the torch to this site:
The Safari Extensions Tumblr is currently the best resource for exercising your Safari browser’s newfound extension freedom, as Apple won’t be unveiling its official extension gallery for at least a few months. Being a Tumblr, it’s a little barebones, and it lacks some of the features we tend to like when presented with a dizzying array of possibilities (for instance, sorting by number of downloads or average user ratings), but its compiler Jonas Wisser has done an admirable job of rounding up Safari extensions from developers’ individual sites.
A few highlights:
- Yes, even though Safari 5 has its own in-house ad-blocking system, there is an AdBlock for Safari extension (by Michael Gundlach); there’s also a sidebar ad blocker for Facebook (by Connor McKay).
- There’s also a nifty Gmail checker similar to what we’ve seen for Firefox and Chrome, made by Victor Andrée.
- A few people have made URL-shortening extensions. (1; 2; 3)
- Russell Gray’s SafariRestore is simple, but very useful: It allows you to restore a previous browsing session. (SafariExtensions notes that “At the moment, the MIME-type is set incorrectly on the [SafariRestore] extension itself; instead of clicking on it, right-click the link and choose “Save Linked File As…”, then double-click it in Finder (or in Explorer, for Windows users) to install it.”)
- Finally, Safari’s lack of a regular page reload button has always vexed and upset us; thanks to John Siracusa, we need suffer no longer.
To enable Safari extensions:
- First, open the ‘Preferences’ panel by dragging down from the ‘Safari’ menu or with the shortcut command+comma.
- Then, click on the ‘Advanced’ panel at the far right and check the ‘Show Develop menu in menu bar’ box if it’s not already checked.
- From there, a dropdown menu called ‘Develop’ should appear between the ‘Bookmarks’ and ‘Window’ dropdown menus; check “Enable Extensions,” which will be the third item down on the menu.
- Go back to Safari’s preferences by hitting command+comma, and you’ll see a brand-new extensions panel. From there, you can manage the Safari extensions you’ve downloaded.