July 15, 2005

Greasemonkey is an extension for the Firefox browser which lets you write little programs to change how websites appear. For example, ilishin has created a script which lets you expand collapsed LJ comment threads in place (that is, on the same page, rather than on a new one). It only seems to work with the standard comment layout at the moment, but I hope the author will fix that soon (if not, it doesn’t look so hard that I couldn’t do it myself).

I noticed that the later versions of Greasemonkey support a key/value database which persists when you shut down and restart your browser. This means that it’s probably possible to write something which remembers how many comments there are for an entry and will highlight items (on your Friends list, say) which have new comments. It might even be possible to highlight the new comments themselves, although it’s not clear how good the database is, so you’d want to avoid overloading it, I suppose. I was vaguely aware of Greasemonkey, but I don’t think I’d realised just how much it can do. Greasemonkey may be the thing which makes me switch from Safari to Firefox (it’s just a shame nobody has sorted out Mozex for the Mac, as that’d certainly clinch it for me, too: I miss being able to edit LJ comments in a proper text editor).

Think I’d better dance now.