I have recently been playing around with Greasemonkey, a great Firefox
add-on that gives users a lot of control over how a website is
that runs when a website is rendered. The user doesn't actually have
to write the script, but can find them in various script repositories.
When I looked around, I couldn't find scripts to do some things I
wanted, so I started writing my own. Now that I have started that
habit I see uses for user scripts all over the place. Suddenly I can
fix anything I find annoying on the web. It's very empowering.
Of course, Firefox add-ons can do anything a user script can do. But
Greasemonkey user scripts are lightweight, more secure (due to being
less powerful), easier to write, and don't require a browser restart
to install and uninstall.
I posted my scripts on
userscripts.org so that people could find them easily, but I
always like to host these things locally, too.
You can find it
under /userscripts here. Don't forget to review the source before
you install it! That is, unless you automatically trust me and my
website's security. I, or an infiltrator, could slip something sneaky
I actually first used Greasemonkey back in 2005, but they had some
very serious security issues back in those days. It was bad enough
that I just uninstalled it, which was actually recommended by the
Greasemonkey people themselves. So, four years later I am back to
check it out.
The first user script I wrote was in response to a "feature" on TV Tropes. In addition to the overall
cruddiness of the website, they started adding "folders" to the
information on long pages. It folds up all of the information behind
little clickable widgets. It uses CSS to hide the information and
disabled like I did), you won't ever be able to see the information in
the browser. As of this writing the
Jumping the Shark article uses this. Take a look.
This is an awful idea! It critically breaks the usability of the page.
And what's the point? We already have a vertical scrollbar to control
the display. Unfortunately, a lot of clueless people seem to like this
sort of behavior — because it's flashy — so we will probably only see
more of it on the web in the future.
My TV Tropes user script is simple: it scrapes off some of the
CSS. Specifically, the "folder" CSS. That's it! Someone who already
knows how to make user scripts could probably put this together in
less than 15 minutes.
If you want to tackle web annoyances, learn Greasemonkey!