New Safari extension: Homecoming for Mastodon

January 19, 2023
By Jeff Johnson of Underpass App Company

Today I introduce my new Safari extension: Homecoming for Mastodon! It's available now in the App Store as a Universal Purchase for iOS and macOS.

Last month I decided to join Mastodon, but I found that the federated structure of Mastodon could make it ridiculously difficult to follow people, especially if you're not on one of the biggest instances such as mastodon.social (which is often closed for new sign-ups). Whenever you're browsing a web page on another Mastodon instance, you can't simply click a button to follow someone, because you're not signed in on that instance. You can only follow someone from your own instance, where you have an account.

The trick is to translate or redirect a Mastodon URL on another instance to the corresponding URL on your instance. The only reliable way I knew to accomplish this was to copy the URL and paste it into the search field on the web page of my own instance, but that method was obviously tedious. Finally I decided enough is enough, and I created a Safari extension to handle it automatically.

Now whenever you're browsing a web page on another Mastodon instance, all you have to do is click the Homecoming for Mastodon toolbar button in Safari, and the page will redirect to the corresponding URL on your own instance. This works with all Mastodon URLs, including profiles and posts!

I hope my new extension makes Mastodon a little easier to use, encouraging more people to join (and leave Twitter behind, ahem). Get Homecoming for Mastodon now in the App Store.

P.S. You can test the extension by following me on Mastodon: @lapcatsoftware@mstdn.plus

P.P.S. You can use StopTheMadness with some custom CSS to make Mastodon respect your system light and dark appearance preference in Safari.