Apple began following in the footsteps of Firefox and Chrome this summer, by allowing developers to create extensions for its Safari 5 web browser. Here's our pick of the 30 best add-ons.
Beyond the Extensions Gallery
Unlike the process it uses for iOS applications - which are only available at the App Store, unless you've jailbroken your device - Apple allows developers to distribute Safari extensions freely on the web. Even before Apple got its Extensions Gallery up and running, numerous websites and blogs popped up to offer less-restricted ways of finding and downloading extensions.
Downloading an extension from one of those alternative venues isn't quite as simple as the installation process at the Extensions Gallery, but it's not really onerous - you download the extension's file, double-click to open it and confirm for Safari that you really want to install the extension. As with Gallery extensions, extensions from other sources can be disabled and deleted by using Safari Preferences.
Pimp My Safari, Safari Extendr, SafariExtensions.net and SafariExtensions.tumblr are great places to find a wide array of extensions, many of them offering features beyond those you'll find in Apple's Extensions Gallery.
With hundreds of extensions already available - dozens in Apple's gallery alone -finding those that offer useful features and work reliably is a challenge. We've rounded up 30 extensions, from both Apple's gallery and other sources, that make social networking a breeze, finding and reading internet content more efficient, working with tabs easier, surfing the web more secure and much more. All of them are free to download and use (although many of the developers welcome donations) and are available for both Mac and Windows machines.
Editor's Note: Safari 5.0.1 requires Mac OS X 'Leopard' 10.5.8 or 'Snow Leopard' 10.6.2 or higher, or Windows XP, Vista or 7. Extensions are not enabled in earlier versions of Safari.
Tab, toolbar and navigation tweaks
Probably the best tab-related extension out there, Calle Gustafsson's Exposer adds a button to Safari's toolbar that pops up an Exposé-like view in front of the browser showing thumbnails of all your open tabs. This allows you to see exactly what's displayed in each one and easily switch to a specific tab by clicking it. If you routinely use tabbed browsing, this extension is a must.
SafariRestore from SweetP Productions does one simple task: It lets you save all your open tabs for recovery later. Click the 'SafariRestore' button in the Safari toolbar, and you are offered the option to save your current session or restore a previous session.
True, Safari does have the built-in ability to save multiple tabs as bookmarks (right-click on the tab bar and select the Add Bookmark for These Tabs option), but SafariRestore lets you save and restore groups of tabs without creating permanent bookmarks for them.
You can save up to six sessions; the most recent will be opened automatically the next time you start Safari. Create several sessions for different tasks -- a social networking session, a project management session, a business research session -- and switch back and forth over the course of the day.
NEXT PAGE: More tab, toolbar and navigation tweaks