Zotero Safari Extension not working with Safari 12

  • So after exploring our options here, we've chosen to submit the current Zotero Connector to the Safari Extensions Gallery.

    Here's what we said about this on the support page for this issue:
    Technically, Safari 12 will continue to support the older form of extension when distributed through the Safari Extensions Gallery, but approvals can take months, and Apple won't be accepting new versions after December 2018. We don't want to put Safari users in a position where they're stuck running old versions of the extension that we're not able to update.
    This all remains true, but (assuming Apple approves the extension) this will allow Safari users to continue using the Connector for the time being. We don't know how long the initial submission will take, how long updates would take, or what will happen after December 2018 — specifically, whether existing extensions in the Gallery will remain supported until Safari 13 next fall or whether an update after December will disable them — but this should buy us at least a few more months and possibly another year.

    (The deciding factor here was that it turns out that Safari currently has non-standard restrictions on bookmarklets — not present in Chrome and Firefox — that would prevent the bookmarklet from saving to a local copy of Zotero, and we want to do everything we can to offer a version that can be used without the online library. We're still hoping to put out an updated bookmarklet within the next week, and while it should work much better, it will still only save to the online library in Safari.)

    We'll post here when the Connector is available in the Safari Extensions Gallery.
  • The bookmarklet solution isn't working for me either, for saving webpages. If I save a webpage using the bookmarklet, then go in to Zotero and double click on the parent item, I get an error message saying:File Not Found. It asks me if I want to locate it, and if yes, opens the master storage directory on my MAC, which is not at all helpful. The "view online" option takes me to the original website - good. But I want to keep the snapshot as well, which was previously possible. Any help pls.... (or should I just go back to firefox, where I presume this doesn't happen...).
  • As a Mac user, I recommend using Firefox or Chrome with Zotero. Some of the Safari problems may be resolved -- but how soon and how permanent the solution are important questions yet even the developers aren't sure of the answers. I work in an all Mac shop. Even before the Safari 12 problem, Apple limited the extensibility of Safari for security and other reasons. Unless Apple makes major changes in their policies it appears that Zotero will always have fewer capabilities in Safari that Zotero can offer connected to Chrome or Firefox. Read earlier posts in this thread. Extraordinary efforts are being made to accommodate Safari users but there are, alas, limits to what is possible.
  • I don't know whether what Zotero needs is possible to do with a Safari App Extension, but it is *not* true that the Safari App Extension has to be submitted to the Mac App Store. Embedding the Safari App Extension in a Developer ID-signed app is just fine. If you want to see an example, I built a simple one: https://github.com/nriley/NewsBlur-Helper.

    Good luck with the Extensions Gallery submission — personally I found the process frustrating, opaque, and eventually gave up. The Safari App Extension process is actually a bit nicer as it doesn't require review.
  • @nriley: Oh, interesting (and now that you mention it, we've read that previously). For what it's worth, that's not what Apple says:
    "Because they’re built on the standard app extension model, you get many native app benefits:

    - Safari app extensions are bundled inside an app and distributed through the App Store."
    But I guess that's just Apple being Apple and pretending that the App Store is the only way to distribute Mac apps (or at least that it's one of the "native app benefits").

    In any case, the bigger problem for us is the architectural differences with Safari App Extensions — it would still require a major rewrite for much more limited functionality than the already-limited Safari extension. But not having to go through the App Store might allow us to distribute it with the existing Zotero Mac app, which was one big hurdle.

    We're still hoping the existing Zotero Connector will be accepted into the Safari Extensions Gallery within a few days, and that would give people the best experience for the time being. But we'll look be looking into what we can do with a Safari App Extension for the likely day in 2019 that Apple disables Safari extensions completely, so this is good to know. Thanks.
  • Well. This is a total no for Safari. I will stop using it altogether...
  • Thank you for the bookmarklet. It works for me! I am looking forward to Apple approving the extension. Zotero connector is one of my favourite time savers. If they don't approve it, it will be such a pain for efficient academics to use the Safari browser.
    If I install the connector through developer, do I have to re-install it every time I restart my computer?
  • @mariabachmann – yes, alas, the extension has to be re-enabled every time you restart Safari, but at least you don't have to go through *all* the steps each time. Still, I curse myself every time I accidentally quit the program, and wish there were a way to import Safari passwords into Firefox!
  • @dunning I would recommend switching to 1Password or a similar password manager. It works as smoothly as the Safari keychain on Mac/iPhone and also works smoothly on Windows/Android.
  • Zotero becomes very inconvenient to use in Mac when searching articles and writing. I almost couldn't add new papers. Does anyone know when it can be compatible as before?
  • edited October 16, 2018
    As it says on the support page https://www.zotero.org/support/kb/safari_12_connector, Apple removed the functionality Zotero uses for the Safari Connector. I recommend you switch to Firefox or Chrome, but see also other options at the link above.
  • Hi. Trying to get the extension builder workaround in safari to play nice following instructions provided here (https://sixcolors.com/post/2018/09/give-new-life-to-old-extensions-in-safari-12/). Running into a problem though...
    In safari's extension builder, one of the "Injected Content: start scripts" isn't populated and I can't run the extension without putting something in there. It's the fourth from the bottom. Leaving it as "None"; returns an error: "A selection is required." The available pull down menu has a bewildering list of options. Any help appreciated!
  • A couple updates:

    1) We're unfortunately still waiting for Apple to approve the last version of the Zotero Connector into the Safari Extensions Gallery. (This sort of delay is why we weren't previously publishing the Connector to the Gallery, and why we weren't optimistic about it being accepted before they stop accepting submissions in December.)

    2) We've released an updated version of the Zotero Bookmarklet that should greatly improve saving, both in Safari and in other browsers. Unfortunately, due to nonstandard Safari limitations, it's not possible for the bookmarklet to save directly to your local Zotero, so it will continue to save to your online library, and it can sync from there to your local Zotero. You'll still get the best experience in Chrome or Firefox, but if you're set on using Safari the bookmarklet can be a workaround for Apple's restrictions here.

    We'll post again if Apple approves the Connector in the Extensions Gallery.
  • edited October 27, 2018
    Zotero Connector is available in the Extensions Gallery:
    I’m really elated and I hope you’ll soon update all your support info so the confusion for people ends (because let’s face it, nobody’s looking in the Gallery unless Zotero sends them directly to it).
    Congrats on this new lease of life for the Safari extension.
  • @vladimirbizik: Thanks — it looks like it was just approved, though we didn't receive any notification from Apple.

    We've updated the download page and the support page to point to the Extensions Gallery, and we'll make an announcement about this next week so that more people are aware.

    As before, the Safari Connector is a bit more limited than the Chrome and Firefox versions due to limitations in Safari, but this version should behave identically to the version that was available before the Safari 12 upgrade.

    Thanks to everyone for their patience. While we won't be able to update this version after December 2018, I would expect it to keep working through fall 2019. We're going to keep evaluating our options for Safari support going forward.
  • @dstillman, Thank you so so much!

    I am suffering from regretting to update Safari 12.0 for a month.
    During this period, I phoned and emailed Apple Service department several times.
    Their stuff suggested me to use another browser and I said no. >.<
    (sorry for my limited English, and talking to Apple Service really helped to improve my speaking.)

    Now I can relief. Thank you so much!!
  • I don’t know why but the extension is working properly and smoothly.
  • Hi, I downloaded the safari extension and it's working well, I haven't had any problems for now.
  • Thank youuuuuu! Finally :-) I am so happy, what a relief!
  • I see the updates are coming for the extensions (in Chrome, for instance, there is the version 5.0.53 is installed), however, in Safari the extension won’t get updated for a reason that I don’t know. the latest version is 5.0.51, and one time or another I receive a notification that there is an update for the Safari extension and I should update. but how? it seems that’s not possible.
  • 5.0.51 is the latest version of the Safari extension. (See the support page for the reasons the Safari extension won't receive all the updates that the other extensions get.)
  • @dstillman, I really recommend you rethink your policy of just not updating the extension and saying, "Use another browser." On the Mac, Safari is really the only usable browser. Chrome just destroys laptop batteries.
  • @jasonlustig as explained in great detail on the linked page, the policy is Apple's, not Zotero's.
  • @jasonlustig Firefox also does not have any performance issues on Mac.
  • Alas, Safari Technology Preview 80 (which labels itself as Safari 12.2) removes support for legacy Safari Extensions:


    On the bright side, the linked page notes that developers can notarize apps with extensions for distribution outside the Mac App Store. Is that new?
  • @dunning: Nothing new here. Version number notwithstanding, the legacy extension removal will almost certainly be part of Safari 13 in September, as we've assumed all along, and not before. Distribution outside the App Store also isn't new — we discussed that in this thread last October — and unfortunately is referring to the newer, more limited Safari App Extension framework. (The notarization requirement is a more recent development, but that's just the future of non-MAS apps.)

    We'll post here when we have any updates on this.
  • > Nothing new here. Version number notwithstanding, the legacy extension removal will almost certainly be part of Safari 13 in September

    @dstillman, I was redirected here when I posted in another thread about Safari 13. You said above that the policy is Apple's, not Zotero's... but I still think you should consider making an app extension that will work with Zotero locally. Safari is by far the best browser on the Mac, and it would be a shame if people stopped using Zotero for this reason.
  • Since Safari 13 was released today, are there any news on the development of a Safari App extension? I do not want to change browsers either so I would be really happy if I could continue to use Zotero with the Safari connector. Many thanks.
This discussion has been closed.