Extending Apple's Safari - InformationWeek

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7/29/2010
10:42 AM
Jim Rapoza
Jim Rapoza
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Extending Apple's Safari

One of the biggest weaknesses of the Safari web browser has been its general lack of extensions and add-ons. But with the release of the Safari 5.0.1 update, extensions are now fully enabled in the Apple web browser and many useful ones are currently available to users.

One of the biggest weaknesses of the Safari web browser has been its general lack of extensions and add-ons. But with the release of the Safari 5.0.1 update, extensions are now fully enabled in the Apple web browser and many useful ones are currently available to users.For the most part, Safari 5.0.1 is mainly a security patch and bug fix release, including a fix for the serious AutoFill exploit found in the previous version. However, for most users the biggest change will be one that was simply a matter of turning a feature on by default.

Safari 5.0 included the capability to run extensions but it was turned off by default and the extensions that were available were not easy to find. Now Apple has turned extensions on by default and provided a web site for extensions available for installation.

The installation of extensions in Safari is probably one of the best aspects of the feature. To install an extension, I simply clicked an install button on the web page and that was it, the installation happened instantaneously with no progress bars or need to restart the browser.

I found many welcome extensions at the Safari Extensions Gallery that can improve everything from web page displays to twitter and Facebook use. Still, compared to the number of extensions available for Mozilla Firefox, Safari has a very long way to go before they catch up.

The technology behind the Safari extensions is just standard web tech such as JavaScript, HTML 5 and CSS, which should make it easy for developers to adapt applications into Safari Extensions.

To try out the new Safari update go to www.apple.com/safari/

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