Even though they’ve been late to the game, Safari’s extension support has spread like wildfire. People who are passionate about Safari are also passionate about making it the best in can possibly be. A robust community has formed here. And it’s my pleasure to bring to you, dear reader, a sampling of some of the latest and greatest Safari extensions available today.
One of the things that bugs me about Safari, is that it insists on placing links that I open in a new tab at the far right of the tab bar, with no regard to the location of parent tab that the link came from. LinkThing fixes this, and offers a number of other options if other aspects of how Safari natively handles links bugs you.
As the name implies, InvisibleHand is pretty un-intrusive. What it does is looks to see if there’s something for sale on the page that you’re currently viewing. If there is, it scours the Web for other places to get it, and then alerts you to the one with the best deal. You’ll probably find you use it a lot more than you might initially think.
Without question, MacRumors is one of the premier Apple news sites. So it just makes sense that any Safari user would visit the site regularly. But those with good taste can find the site’s design a little annoying. Enter MacRumors Minimal from Cornell Campbell, a beautifully rendered re-interpreting of MacRumor’s design.
Also from Cornell Campbell, Reddit Minimal takes the same idea of MacRumors Minimal, and applies it to Reddit. I think this kind of extension, especially the popularity of it, speaks to the type of users that are looking for extensions to Safari: they’re highly conscious of web aesthetics, to the point of seeking a solution to change the offending sites.
In theory it might seem too simple, or even silly. A button to reload just the stylesheets on a page? But all you professional web designers out there know it’s an answer to your prayers. When you’re designing a dynamic site, sometimes recalling the data you were styling can take multiple steps. To see the changes you’ve made to the CSS – without reloading the entire page – just click the toolbar icon.
Envious of Chrome’s elegant status bar that takes up space only when you need it to? Or would you like your status bar to do more for you, perhaps telling you just what kind of file this link is going to download, or just where that shortened URL is redirecting to? The Ultimate Status Bar is a dream come true, offering enough options to keep even the most hardcore tweaker entertained.
If you’re a tab fiend, you know that they can get unruly quickly. And an unexpected restart or browser crash can wipe out days of research. Make sure you back up those important webpages using Safari Restore. It’s a full-featured browser session manager that’ll work automatically if you need it to, but offers manual controls too.
Does it feel like you live in GMail? Constantly checking to see if you have new mail? If you’d like to take back some of your time, and want a simple way to know if a new message has landed in your inbox, then the GMail Counter extension is for you. It lives as a button in your toolbar. Clicking on it launches GMail, and when you get a new message, a small badge icon appears.
Always a popular genre of browser extensions, AdBlock for Safari does a stellar job. Working for most major ad networks, and on most websites. If you’re the type that likes to support independent sites and blogs though, AdBlock does let you customize it, letting you allow through ads that are from networks that specialize in appropriate, and interesting ads.
The official Pinboard extension for Safari, it’s composed of several different toolbar icons. You have your pick, from adding pages to Pinboard, opening your Pinboard page, to saving all of your currently open tabs, the Pinboard extension is the way to go for any serious Pinboard user.
Panic is quite possibly my favorite Mac development house, so I was really excited to try out their first foray into Safari extensions. Coda Notes doesn’t disappoint. With the same care and polish they put into everything, Panic created a really awesome extension. You’ve probably heard about it before, so it’s not technically “new”. But its just so stinking great, I couldn’t help including it.
It seems to be quite the theme for Safari extensions that modify the layout and design of popular pages. Less IMDb doesn’t disappoint. If you use IMDb as much as I do, especially to settle the inevitable argument about who that character actor was on your favorite tv drama, you want to get in, get your answer, and get out. Less IMDb makes that easier.
Harnessing the power of the TinEye Reverse Image Search engine into an extension is an all around good idea. And the Safari version gives you quick access to the tool. Simply right click on any image you find across the Web, and you can look the image – or the entire page – up on TinEye.
You could call it a Swiss army knife, if you like. The Widgets Bar extension displays some commonly needed information like weather, date, and a series of world clocks. It also lets you choose an RSS feed to have scroll past.
In the truest sense of the word, Add to Google Reader, extends and modifies Safari’s feature set. By default, Safari comes with a built-in RSS reader, and a button that appears in the URL bar which gives the user access to the available feeds. Add to Google Reader hijacks that button and instead of opening the built-in RSS reader, relays the information to Google Reader.
And that concludes our brief tour of the freshet Safari extensions on the market. But I know at least one of you is jumping up and down out there, shouting that I missed your favorite extension. Please, don’t keep it to yourself. That what comments were invented for. I’d love to hear about what you guys think and love about the world of Safari extensions.
Also, don’t forget: the Safari Extensions Gallery has tons of other great extensions to round out your Safari browsing experience. And, PC users don’t have to miss out on the fun, either. Just download the latest version of Safari for Windows, install it, and you can use any of the Safari extensions right on your Windows PC.