November 8, 2005 SDF Greasemonkey

SDForum copy.jpg SDF Jan06 Greasemonkey.jpg

Greasemonkey: DIY Web Development
By DJ Cline

On Tuesday, November 8, 2005, at the Emerging Technology SIG, . His philosophy is to find a problem, fix a problem. For the past five years Broodman is best known for fixing web applications with JavaScript, DHTML and AJAX. Currently developing front-end projects for Google, he also authors the blog youngpup.net about web development, open source JavaScript libraries and now Greasemonkey.

He says Greasemonkey is a hack, a user script manager for application providers. This Firefox extension is for client side modification of web pages. The official repository lists scripts that can modify or integrate hundreds of sites. Basically, these bits of code allow you to control what you want (and don’t want) on your browser.

These hacks all have different functions that are easy to modify on any platform. Linkify makes hyperlinks hot so you can click on them. Book Burro allows you to compare Amazon book prices with other sellers or even see if it is available at your local library. You can preview e-mails on Gmail, a feature not available by Google yet.

You do not have to be a professional programmer, he wants people to play with it and open up the static webpage idea. There are Greasemonkey APIs to find code written by other developers that you can modify, provided that you make it available to someone else. There are browser APIs, remote APIs, and webpage APIs, Patches are quickly made available by a community of developers. He recommends the latest release 0.6, even though it will not run on the latest release of Firefox 1.5 at this time. Broodman says it is being worked on. Browser compatibility is being worked on for Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari.

There is even something called MonkeyGrease that is supposed to be the opposite of Greasemonkey. It runs on Java servers of enterprise systems for internal websites. The fact that web pages can be changed does not bother him. He says HTML is a suggestion and always has been.

DJ Cline
Copyright 2006 All rights reserved.