Everyone’s heard about Apple’s release of the iPhone G4 on Monday, but less attention was paid to the release of Safari 5. The biggest deal with that is Safari’s new extensions architecture. Apple’s planning to host a gallery of vetted extensions this summer, but until then, if you want to live dangerously, you can check out what people have cooked up at the Safari Extensions Tumblr blog.
But first, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to enable the extensions feature. Before that, of course, you’ll need to upgrade to Safari 5. Mac users can do this through Software Update. If you’re a Windows user using Safari, I dunno, you know your system better than I do. Download it, maybe? If you’re on Linux (and probably if you’re on Windows), you’re running Firefox or Chrome and sneering at our Johnny-come-lately extensions feature. If you’re using MSIE, I’m sorry.
The extensions themselves are easy to install. Just download, double-click the file (maybe unzip it first), and Safari will ask if you want to really install it. Say yes, and Jobs’s your uncle.
Here’s what I’ve installed so far:
targetattribute from links to keep them from opening in new windows. (I don’t know if this is limited to
And things I haven’t installed that you might:
Marco Tabini has an article on Macworld with more background about Safari extensions. I think he’s wrong when he says “Safari will refuse to install any extension that has not been signed with a digital certificate issued by Apple”, because Safari happily installed a bunch of unsigned extensions for me.
The other (well, another) exciting new feature is Safari Reader. If you’re familiar with Arc90’s Readability bookmarklet, well, Reader is like that, but built-in. And if you’re not familiar with Readability, then holy crap, go check it out! It takes painfully cluttered web pages with crappy typography and makes them readable!
Update: Something that just occurred to me: Perhaps the regular MacOS X version of Safari 5 will be able to load extensions from arbitrary sources, and the iPhone/iPad version will be locked in to the official Apple gallery with the cryptographic signing and the vetting and the centralized control and the censored genitals. That’d be in keeping with how Apple is handling software on the two platforms.