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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    What's the big deal about Grease Monkey?

    was surfing around earlier and I saw it again for the 200th time:
    The 10 must have Firefox Extensions for Web Developers.
    And of course, in it was the inevitable plug for Grease Monkey.
    Now, the description says it "changes a way a webpage is displayed".

    Ok. Sounds cool.
    But why would I want to do that? How does that help with my endless pursuit of perfecting my web design skills? I'm going to the page to check it out, not change it.

    So with all the popularity of this thing I'm willing to admit that maybe I just don't get. Maybe I just don't see the big picture.

    So, does anyone here use this so-called Grease Monkey? Just what benefits does it actually bring?

  2. #2
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    GreaseMonkey (and the equivalent for other browsers) allow the browser owner to run their own JavaScript against web pages and thus have more control over how the web pages look and behave. It takes more control of the browser away from the web page author and gives it to the browser owner. It prevents web pages in their attempt to block your browser from working the way you want it to.

    It is a browser extension for all browser users and not a tool to assist those designing web pages.
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  3. #3
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    So I'm not missing anything by not using it.

    Then why do I see it listed in so many "Must have Firefox extensions for web developer" lists?

  4. #4
    Programming Team silver trophybronze trophy
    Mittineague's Avatar
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    As long as you're happy with every page at every site you visit the way it is, you're not missing out by not using GM.
    But if you ever find yourself thinking "I wish this page looked like ..." or "I wish this page had ... functionality", then using GreaseMonkey to alter the page is worth considering. There are currently 24,855 userscripts hosted at http://userscripts.org/ and more can be found elsewhere. And you can write your own too.
    For example, I wrote a few for various blogs that didn't have a "hide comments by this user" functionality. They come in handy for removing troll and/or fluff posts that litter the content.

    If you look at what some of the userscripts do, I bet you'll find some that interest you.

  5. #5
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    Well, with over 24,000 of the little things I guess I should at least give it a look.

    But can you tell me right off the bat, are there any that would benefit web designers?

  6. #6
    From space with love silver trophy
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    To give an example of what it's used for, most browser based MMORPGs have various screens with different information on each. Most will have a screen that lists the number and constituant members of your army/fleet. A greasemonkey script can be used (with the unit stats stored in it) to display extra info about your army/fleet such as attack and defence strength.
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  7. #7
    Programming Team silver trophybronze trophy
    Mittineague's Avatar
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    As far as using GreaseMonkey as a web designer tool, I imagine the Firebug extension covers just about everything. Maybe the TAAT’em converter? http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/23287

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mittineague View Post
    As far as using GreaseMonkey as a web designer tool, I imagine the Firebug extension covers just about everything. Maybe the TAAT’em converter? http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/23287
    Definately. FireBug is far and away one of the best tools out there.
    I was just wondering how it [Grease Monkey] keeps getting thrown in with web developer extensions, because, as you guys have pointed out, it isn't a web developer tool.

  9. #9
    Programming Team silver trophybronze trophy
    Mittineague's Avatar
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    IMHO, GM is more for letting the user change the "look" and "feel" of a web page. Although it certainly could be used to create a Firebug "lite" if someone thought that Firebug was too hard to use or too bloated. But I don't think Firebug has gotten that big yet, and if someone can learn how to write a userscript it seems they should be able to learn how to use Firebug.

    Interesting point though, I can't think of any reason why it would be considered as a developer/designer tool either. Even if you learn something about a page as you're debugging a userscript to work with it, I wouldn't consider that as a "tool" but more of a consequence.

    But who knows, with GreaseMonkey you have all the power of javascript. All it takes is the imagination to think of an idea and the determination to carry it out.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Addict jemple's Avatar
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    Grease monkey is cuasing issues - online games mostly an its use for example.

  11. #11
    Grumpy Minimalist
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    It's great for removing ads from websites that are too simple to be filtered by AdBlock & NoScript - especially huge orange divs.

  12. #12
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    The main greasemonkey script I use is actually web development related in that it adds a link to the page that will display the HTML etc the way the browser sees it and with all the files the page references as links to those files. A useful aid to seeing if scripts have genereated the code in the page the way I expect and an easy way of telling if the JavaScript in the web page has generated the HTML incorrectly. Also useful when I am helping people answer questions regarding why their page doesn't work as expected when their scripts run.
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  13. #13
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    Yep, I don't think it's a developer tool per se. It just requires some level of technical use to use, so developers are more likely to be comfortable using it.

    Personally I use it for stuff like:
    - Autoforwarding Digg links to actual link rather than the comment thread
    - Auto-unticking 'send me a confirmation email' checkbox on some of the CAPTCHA services I deal with via the newsletter
    - remodelling the Cerberus CRM interface we use to delete stuff I don't use, make important buttons bigger and resize the textareas to make them more useful for me.

    As a developer, I tend to look at stuff and think 'Gee this would be much better if it were like this' and GM lets you do that.

    To be fair though, SitePoint solutions has charged clients for 'GM-like services'.

    In this case a large government department had paid for and adopted a large arcane CRM that their employees couldn't use. We basically rolled out a JS based layer that re-designed the interface in a way that made it much more usable. The back end stayed the same and they were over the moon that they didn't have to start again.

    This wasn't strictly greasemonkey but it did basically the same thing.

    So you could sell that kind of thing as a service if you could find your market.
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  14. #14
    Programming Team silver trophybronze trophy
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    As a side note, many GreaseMonkey userscripts will also work in Opera. Some may require modification, but often it's a simple matter of keeping them in a folder and pointing to it in the "User JavaScript files" input under "Tools -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Content -> Javascript options".

  15. #15
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    Can you interact with a database using greasemonkey?

  16. #16
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvduval View Post
    Can you interact with a database using greasemonkey?
    I don't think so since it is basically just JavaScript running in your web browser. You do know what browser you are using and so can potentially make use of that knowledge to modify the script to use functionality only available to that browser. Greasemonkey scripts will (with slight modification) run in IE6+ provided that you have a suitable plugin installed (I found the IE7Pro plugin works best). With that setup you might be able to use activeX to access a database on your computer from all the web pages you visit.
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard ryanhellyer's Avatar
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    Here are some links with useful Greasemonkey scripts for bloggers:

    http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2008/07...e-feed-reader/

    http://internetducttape.com/tools/wo...comment-ninja/

    There is also a good video of Lorelle van Fossen at WordCamp Dallas where she talked about using Grease Monkey scripts with WordPress, but I can't find a link to it anywhere.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Member
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    i 've also downloaded the greasy monkey plugin ... and use it to download videos from websites like youtube .. but it gets saved in a non flv format. is there any way i can save it in flv ?
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  19. #19
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    I get it - not exactly a tool for web development, more web tweaking... but obviously an expert web developer is gonna be able to do more with it than your average joe. Think I might have to investigate further when I'm not restricted by work computers...

  20. #20
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    Well a big thanks to all you guys for the handy info. I'll be checking out those scripts here soon.

    Happy Holidays!

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    I used to be a big GM user. I modified a script that allows you to put technorati tags into the post. However, since I wasn't always on /my/ computer, I didn't have the script always.

    GM is mainly for display editing...
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard ShayneTilley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarh View Post
    It's great for removing ads from websites that are too simple to be filtered by AdBlock & NoScript - especially huge orange divs.
    But of course no one would do that on SP, and not show support for our sponsors .
    Shayne Tilley

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  23. #23
    SitePoint Zealot russianzio's Avatar
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    I hear about GM every now and then but never cared to check it out. Its time i started filtering ads, not on SP of course Thanks for sharing!

  24. #24
    Grumpy Minimalist
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShayneTilley View Post
    But of course no one would do that on SP, and not show support for our sponsors .
    It's a similar situation to DRM and pirated software: if someone will never ever buy any products that any site advertises under any circumstances, the sponsors don't lose any money if their ads get blocked.

    **Can of worms is now officially OPEN! **

  25. #25
    Community Advisor ULTiMATE's Avatar
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    Until somebody creates a Greasemonkey script that completely removes all traces of LOLCats from the Internet I am not interested.

    A nice tool, but I'm still yet to see a killer reason as to actually use it.


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