Safari – now with extensions

I mentioned back in June that I was giving Safari 5 a whirl as my default browser on my Macs. Well, here we are, nearly two months later, and I’m still using it, which is the longest I’ve stuck with a different browser since I adopted Firefox, which was probably around 2004 or thereabouts.

There was only one thing that irritated me – the lack of a Firefox-style extensions framework, and in particular the lack of AdBlock, which removes unwanted adverts from pages. Now if you have a site that depends on advertising to run, you probably don’t like people talking about AdBlock, but if like me, you’re sick of badly-designed sites that pause part-way through loading because some remotely-hosted Flash advert is taking way too long to load, you’ll probably love it.

Safari 5.0.1 has now been released together with the currently quite small but likely to grow Safari Extensions Gallery. As Safari, like Google Chrome, uses the Webkit engine, it’s possible for extensions written for Chrome to be ported to Safari, which should help with that. And one of the first to be available is AdBlock for Safari, woo, hoo. Install this and you’ll get a new icon on your toolbar which leads to an option page that will let you choose lists to subscribe to, and to manage your whitelists and blacklists. Usefully, you can allow ads on a site by pressing Ctrl+Shift+L or block by pressing Ctrl+Shift+K.

I’ve tried a few sites with it enabled, and it does speed things up quite nicely – it actually stops the unwanted material from downloading rather than just hiding it.

This is a good start, and a bit of competition won’t hurt Firefox.