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 DIY (Do It Yourself) with Greasemonkey


Keywords : Technorati, Technorati, Technorati

Last Tuesday, Aaron Boodman presented Greasemonkey at the SDForum Emerging Technology SIG.

What is Greasemonkey? From Aaron's own words it's a hack. Or more precisely this is a meta-hack (a hack to implement other hacks). His framework (available as a Firefox Extension) allows for user written scripts to run on any web page in the browser.

The first Greasemonkey script Aaron wrote was linkify.This script makes all the URL on a web page clickable links. The most famous script might well be Book Burro. When the script detects that you are viewing a book information on a web page, it will allow you to compare prices on various books vendors site (for example Amazon, ...).

I really like linkify. This give me an idea to try to improve on something at work and in 10 minutes, I was able to setup my script and "link" 2 internal applications together. Very powerful stuff!!!

Of course at the end of the day, this is all an hack. For example if you leverage the javascipt exposed on a web page, then some modifications to this javascript  might break you script. Google (Aaron's current employer) recognized that on their Google reader blog and they provided some hints on how to mitigate this issue. Aareon's long term vision, would be a world were the scripts could be "wikified". If something breaks then anybody else could fix it.

Also Aaron talked a lot about security  and  how this would impact his future plans about Greasemonkey.

Here a few ressources to explore this topic further:

The next Emerging Technology SIG meetings will be about RoR (Ruby on Rails) and Microformats.

Talking about Microformats, at least someone believe that Mark Pilgrim is inventing the furture by writing Greasemonkey scripts to parse all microformats.