Being a Mac user, my first choice of browser is Safari. Call me irrelevant, but my first reason is the look: it’s simple, clean, and beautiful.
While I still keep and use Firefox for its wide choice of extensions, the system-resource-hungriness of this browser makes me try to keep its usage to the minimum. I also use other browsers like Chrome, Opera and Flock, but my heart stays with Safari.
I always wished that Safari would also support extensions so I don’t have to go back and forth between browsers.
Apparently, wishes do come true.
Activating & Getting Safari Extensions
While everybody’s attention was drawn to the announcement of Apple’s brand new iPhone 4, the company also released the latest version of its browser: Safari version 5. There are many new and improved features. One of the new features that drew my attention is the support for Safari extensions.
Curious and excited, I went to Apple’s Safari page and downloaded the latest version. You can also use the Software Update menu to get it.
Since Apple has just started the extension development program and has not yet officially opened the extension library, at the time of writing, Safari’s support for extensions is still being disabled by default.
To enable it, you have to go to the “Safari – Preferences” menu (Command + Comma).
Then choose the “Advanced” tab and check the “Show Develop menu in menu bar” box.
A new menu called “Develop” will appear. Click the “Enable Extensions” sub menu under it.
A new tab called Extensions will also appear in the Preferences window. This is the place where all the added extensions will be listed.
Apple plans to open the Safari Extension library soon, but right now they are in the “building up the collection” stage and you can’t get any official extensions from Apple yet.
But while we are waiting for the official library to open, why not visit the unofficial Safari Extensions site? There are already quite a few extensions there, ready to be downloaded.
Five Useful Unofficial Safari 5 Extensions
If you already itching to try the extensions, you could browse around the unofficial Safari Extensions site and download some of the already available items.
Then to install the extensions, all you have to do is right click on the “.safariextz” files and choose “Open“. Or simply select the file and use Command + O. After that, click “Install” from the confirmation window.
There are cases where plugins from a download manager interrupts the installation process. If this happens to you, just disable the download manager that you use.
Different people might have different preferences, but among the many extensions that are listed on the unofficial site, here are five useful ones that I picked to enhance my browsing experience.
This extension will help you to get a screenshot of the current webpage. The current version is only able to get the visible part of the page. The author promises to improve the extension in future releases.
To get a snap of the current page, click the button near the address bar.
Then drag the snapshot to Desktop or another location on your hard drive.
As the name suggests, this extension will put a Twitter feed in the Safari bar. The first time you activate it, the extension will ask for your Twitter log in information.
Then the Twitter bar will appear.
This extension will zoom out photo thumbnails in Facebook, saving you the effort of clicking the photos one by one. All you need to do is hover your mouse pointer above the thumbnail.
Will automatically restore the tabs from your previous browsing session. Very useful for those who opens tons of tabs in every browsing session.
This is the same ad blocking tool for Chrome which is ported for Safari. The author is also working on athat will help people to port other Chrome extensions to Safari by abstracting differences between the two browsers.
You can access AdBlock options from the button near the address bar.
If you ever want to deactivate one of the installed extensions, go to the “Extensions” tab on the Preferences window and uncheck the “Enable (name of the extension)” box. There’s also the “Uninstall” button there.
The Future Of Safari Extensions
I know that many Firefox and Chrome users will say that Safari’s support for extensions is a little bit too late. And it’s also true that the available Safari extensions at the moment are nothing compared to Firefox. But looking at the success of the iPhone/iPad apps, I think that Apple will also be able to pull off this one nicely. Let’s wait and see.
So, what’s your opinion about Safari extensions? Looks promising or too little too late? Please let us know in the comments below.