Mozilla’s popular Firefox browser is about as geeky as I get with my Mac. Yes, I’ve been using Macs for 20 years (please—don’t do the math; it scares me).
No, I don’t have a collection of The Top 100 Firefox Extensions. I have three. Compare that to the dozens of extensions I’ve tried out on Safari 5. Where do Mac users get their Safari extensions? Which ones are worthy? Are they priced the same?
Browser Plugins vs. Extensions
In terms of how they operate, browser plugins are somewhat different than browser extensions. Adobe’s Flash player is a plugin.
Think of a plugin as a smaller app that runs inside and provides additional functionality to a larger app.
An extension is kinda sorta the same thing, but plugins are so 1999, and associated with Flash and Crash. Extensions sound more elegant, useful, friendly, competent, and much more 21st century.
What do extensions do for your browser? Anything you want. Build your own by checking out Apple’s Safari Extensions Development Guide. What? You’re not that geeky, dear Mac user? You’d rather point and click, download, click and install, then use—no questions asked?
Multiple Abodes For Safari Extensions
It didn’t take long for a few web sites to pop up and begin tracking Safari extensions. One of the first was Safari Extensions. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but plenty of extensions await your download click.
A little more polished is Safari Extensions. What? Same name. Different place. Same purpose. This site has a few more details on each extension, including the type.
One of my favorite Safari extensions is Hard on the Bieber.
Hard on the Bieber is a small Safari Extension that will find any occurrences of the words ‘Justin Bieber’ and replace them with different words in a comical and amusing way. Be forewarned… sometimes the replacement words can be NSFW.
That’s an extension that’s willing to share the love of hating Justin Bieber. I belong to the San Diego chapter. Another good one is Plugin Blocker. Take that, Adobe Flash and Crash. The Amazon Search Bar extension is good, too, as is SnapBack which gives you one click access to the first page in your Safari history (which makes it a whole second faster than doing it manually—every second counts in life.
How do extensions work for the rest of us? Click Safari in your Mac’s Menubar, then select Preferences, then click the Extensions tab.
See? That wasn’t so geeky, was it?
Installing extensions is mostly painless, too. Download the extension from a reputable web site. In most cases a simple double click of the file will begin the installation process. You won’t even need to quit Safari. Oh, how far we’ve gone into the 21st century to have such magic.
To immerse you in Extension Heaven, there’s 25 Safari Extensions You Can Install Now (hint, don’t install them all at once—be choosey). Plus, there’s 30 Incredible Safari Extensions Available Now (and incredible is always better—Steve Jobs told me that).
EdibleApple came up with 10 Cool Safari Extensions Worth Installing.
It’s an old list, so caveat emptor and all that.
Next to finally, PimpMySafari does what you expect—extensions so you can pimp out Safari on your Mac as if you were be followed by an MTV camera crew.
Assuming you have a degree in geeky, and want to build your own Safari extension, there’s an app for that. No, well, not really. But ArsTechnica has a nice tutorial until someone comes up with an app for that.
Just remember—extensions for Safari are cool, incredible, magical, awesome, stunning, and full of boom and wow. Plugins, on the other hand, are just so 1999.