I’ve heard a lot of talk of Greasemonkey recently. Since I’m barely awake right now I can’t actually remember if it’s all from the same source or not, but I think there’s some small increase in the buzz around this right now. I’ve had this nifty little extension for a while, but it’s only since other people have told me what to think that I actually start to see some major potential in it. Actually, some of that potential has already been released.

Okay, rewind. You probably don’t even know what the hell I’m talking about. I’ll start again. Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that lets you associate user scripts with particular web sites (including wildcards so you can apply them to all sites or just some subset of the Web). The scripts are run on the page after it loads just as if they were included on the page. The interface for installing and managing the scripts is very polished by extensions’ standards. You just load the script in Firefox and click on a "Install User Script…" menu item.

Since most of the interface of Firefox is written in Javascript it’s no surprise that there’s quite a lot of power in these scripts. The one that inspired this post is one that goes so far as to add a completely new feature to Gmail so seemlessly that you would think it part of the application itself. Check out Adding Persistent Searches to Gmail.

Is this the extreme of user-oriented content manipulation that Google’s toolbar has elicited a storm about? Keep an eye on the Greasemonkey wiki to see how far it goes.