[Greasemonkey] The revolutionary nature of user scripts

Korakot Chaovavanich korakot at gmail.com
Mon Apr 4 21:25:27 EDT 2005

I am interested in the shifting of power as well.
At first, only a few people know how to write and the web. They can 
control what reader see, and most reader can only read it (HTML too 
difficult for them). Till now, most reader have little or no control over 
what they see. It's limited by

In the past, the producer control the whole reading experience. 
This comes from the limitation of the brower that put the power at 
the producer. Now a good browser (Firefox + Greasemonkey)
redesign the reading experience by combining the data from both
producer and each individual reader. Both now have the same power
to determine the reading experience, which is the basis for all online
social and business proceses.

Eventually, more power will be given to the users.
I expect the followings in the future

1. User scripts attached to a page can be easily selected & installed.
Now it is still difficult for an average user to midify a page. Only a few
scripters can modify it. The next step is to share such modifications 
easily. Then, everyone will have the power to change a page to whatever
suit them, given the choices from a group of scripters. 

2. The most popular modification will become a default view of page, 
rather than what the producer intended. This will be enable by an option
"select the most popular user script as default" within Greasemonkey.
If the user is not satisfy with it, he can select alternative scripts, and
the browser will remember that one for next time.

3. Wysiwyg creation of simple scripts. This will allow people to insert
some texts, changing font size or other simple things. A master userscript 
or GM itself can enable inline page modification. It can then translate that
to a series of command primitive; such as getElementById (or XPATH) +
 appendChild + setStyle + etc...  After the user visually change a page
to fit him, he can save the modification into a script stored on a repository.
Next user can install such script just like any other user scripts.

If all these happen (I expect it in a year or two), producers will
have much smaller
control over reader experience. You can say that every page become a wiki. :-)
Some producers would migrate to Flash or some other opaque formats.
However, many will tolerate the situation or just live with it. Imaging a web
where there are almost no banners, no bad-styled pages, no silly popup/blink.
Every page become well-styled, usable, and community-owned, just like wikipedia.


On Mar 31, 2005 2:21 AM, Terry Brooks <tabrooks at u.washington.edu> wrote:
> GreaseMonkey is revolutionary.  It puts power into the hands of the web
> reader.  I teach at the Information School, University of Washington.
> I'm currently writing a paper about the culture of reading web pages.
> GreaseMonkey changes the dynamic of power and places it back into the
> hands of the reader, out of the hands of web writers.  Consider how this
> changes "usability" and "web design" when end users can change the look
> and feel and functionality of the web pages they view.
> I am interested in knowing if there has been any discussion in the
> GreaseMonkey user community about the cultural implications of what
> you're creating.  Who has written or discussed the implications of
> greasemonkey on the web reading public?

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