Remembering greasemonkey

As part of an internal hack day I’ve been diving back into greasemonkey, and remembering how much the monkey mentality changes the way you think about the web. Greasemonkey seems to have lost some mindshare momentum, probably due to a natural hype/fatigue cycle, the still minority share of Firefox browsers, and the very real “laziness barrier” that keeps the vast majority of people from installing new stuff.

In any case, rediscovering how easy it is to muck with any and every website, usually for fun, and sometimes to truly improve usability or productivity, brings back the giddy avalanche of ideas of ways to “reclaim the web”.

For example, it wouldn’t be terribly hard to add a bit of xmlhttpRequest to WebVocab to create a shortcut that, with one click, inserts a custom signature into any comment you leave on any web page, at the same time notifying your favorite social feed service (e.g., friendfeed, Facebook, Yahoo! updates) and/or your own server of the comment location and content. Your friends see where and what you’re commenting, and you get a searchable archive of all the breadcrumbs you leave around the web. It’s like a comment aggregator service that users control rather than publishers, and thus that works on any website, putting the user back into user-generated content.

3 thoughts on “Remembering greasemonkey”

  1. That sounds a little bit like what CoComment tries to do.

    To a lesser extent, Disqus does something similar – aggregate your comments from around the web – but requires the cooperation of the site you comment at.

  2. Thanks Mark. I just checked out CoComment and indeed this is pretty much what I was thinking. I wonder how universal their comment form recognition is. For example, I assume it recognizes all major blogging platforms (wordpress, blogger, …), but what about comments on YouTube videos, etc?

    Yes, Disqus, js-kit, etc. work only with participating publishers.

  3. I imagine a Hacker using Greasemonkey would be an eloquent way of creaing a Personalized Comment Aggregator, though I imagine a Comment Aggregator and the commentator’s use of a unique name would achieve the same result.
    It is certainly more impressive to use Greasemonkey and to allow comments to be stored irrespective of what identity was used to post them.
    Has Greasier Monkey been released yet?

Comments are closed.