Extending Safari

Anthony Caruana
6 October, 2012
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Although Safari only commands about five percent of the browser share on the web, it’s easily the most used among Mac users. Even though Safari 6, released with Mountain Lion, packs a bunch of new features, it can’t fulfil the individual needs of every user. That’s why Apple has allowed the developer community to create extensions.

Extensions are small applications that operate solely within Safari and enhance its utility. All the extensions we’re looking at are free and can be found at extensions.apple.com.

Although Apple has added some social media support to Safari 6, it removed RSS support without any warning. So, it will be the community of extension developers that will fill this gap and many others.


Most of us have an eBay account. While there are eBay applications to facilitate selling and buying, sometimes it’s easier to just go to the site from Safari as we don’t want to waste time launching another app. My eBay Manager adds a button to the Safari toolbar. Click the button and you get a quick view of your watched and won items.

Clicking the eBay Home button lets you choose from your My eBay page, the eBay homepage and the buying and selling pages in just a click. If you’re a heavy eBay user, this extension can save you lots of time.


Those sneaky, malware-spreading folks out there use all sorts of different tricks to fool us into clicking on dodgy links. Or sometimes a friend with a sense of humour decides that Rick-rolling you is the funniest thing ever. Ultimate Status Bar is a plug-in that tells you if a link is actually taking you to where it says it will.

Ultimate Status Bar can also lengthen shortened URLs so you can see where you’re actually going to be directed – this is handy if you see a shortened URL on Twitter and aren’t 100 percent certain if the source is trusted.


With Apple summarily ripping RSS support from Safari and Mail, many Mac users have been left both baffled and in search of an RSS tool. Google Reader Tools puts a single icon on the Safari toolbar that gives an instantaneous view of how many unread news items you have in the RSS feeds you store in Google Reader.

Of course, you’ll need a Google account to use Google Reader and hence this smart extension. Clicking on the toolbar button launches the Google Reader website. It might not sound like much but if you love your RSS feeds, this extension is a simple way to keep them front and centre.


ScribeFire is a blog editor that can work with just about every major blogging platform there is. Rather than having
to log in to several different sites to update each of your blogs, ScribeFire provides a single port of call for managing your blog.

It offers all of the main features you need for creating and editing posts including tags, embedding images and video, applying categories and all the text formatting options you need.

The interface is a little plain but that’s not a big deal. We used it with a WordPress blog that is hosted with a third party and it worked as expected, although if you use SEO or other special plug-ins you will need to visit your site’s full admin page.

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