The Future of Safari Extensions

June 13, 2018

In most technology circles, hearing somebody say “the Future of X” when referring to a given technology is a bad sign. It’s the death knell, usually means time is running out, and a big change is on the horizon. With this in mind, The Safari team announced at WWDC that legacy .safariextz extensions distributed outside of the Extensions Gallery will not load in Safari 12. While they will accept new submissions until the end of this year, it’s clear that App Extensions and Content Blockers are the future of extensibility in Safari.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the app install/uninstall experience on the Mac wasn’t terrible - one thing that I actually miss from the days when I used Windows regularly. Microsoft gets flack for using a centralized database (the Registry) to handle this, but for the most part it does the job.

Generally speaking, most of the extensions I use are to correct webpage behaviors (Detox, PageOne) or prevent certain things from loading (JavaScript Blacklist, Right Exit). I’m not sure how much of this is actually necessary as Safari in Mojave improves tracking prevention - which mitigates some of these issues, but I suspect I’ll want to go one step further. To that end, I’m looking for equivalent extensions to replicate my Safari setup in Chrome.

Of course, there’s a reason why I don’t run as many extensions in Chrome: The web store is a mess. Google doesn’t curate anything and it shows.