Sunday, October 09, 2005

Greasemonkey - Change web pages to make them more user friendly

After reading about it over the last few months, I took the plunge and started using a clever extension for Mozilla Firefox called Greasemonkey, that can be downloaded from

After installing it on Firefox, one can download or write user scripts to add features to web pages, making them more usable.

I am using scripts I downloaded that make Gmail more user-friendly by adding "delete" and "mark read" buttons (instead of having to use a dropdown).

I also have a script that allows a form submit by pressing CTRL+ENTER in a textbox, and one that shows Amazon prices in Rand, in addition to Dollars. Another script converts URL text into hyperlinks automatically .

There are apparently also similar similar options for other browsers, but for now, I will stick to Greasemonkey. I have switched between IE and Mozilla/Firefox for the past few years as my default browser, but I finally have a reason to stick with Firefox.

Web developers are going to complain about users being able to mess with their site designs - with good reason - you could make some sites stop working if you install the wrong script - but uninstalling is easy. I would recommend Greasemonkey to experienced web surfers, who are looking for a way to improve their online experience.