Tag Archives | Greasemonkey

Interview with Anthony Lieuallen, Greasemonkey Guy

Interview with one of the Greasemonkey Guys You might not know the name Anthony Lieuallen, but I bet you have heard of Greasemonkey before.  It is the Firefox extension that allows you to extend or customize your favorite web sites in a number of different ways.

Anthony is one of the driving forces behind that project, so I thought it would be fun to pick his brain to find out what his part in the project is, and what advice he might have for other hopeful Greasemonkey script writers or Firefox add-on developers.

What all have you done in development for the Firefox Greasemonkey extension?

I’ve definitely lost track of when and how exactly I first learned about Greasemonkey, and when I got involved.  Luckily, I can look up enough old records to get a pretty good idea of what the right answer here is.

I first interacted with Greasemonkey as a user.  Quickly though I graduated to User Script author.  My earliest blog post about a script I authored was in March of 2005.  I wrote a few scripts, some quite popular, for a while.  By June, Mark Pilgrim contacted me about being included in the “Greasemonkey Hacks” book, essentially a cookbook-like collection of existing User Scripts, with discussion about what they were and how they worked.  I was included as a contributor when that book was published.

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Beginner’s Guide to Greasemonkey

943948800 In a nutshell, Greasemonkey is an add-on for Firefox that allows you to customize a web site’s look and function.  Now you don’t have to be a coder to use it though, because there are already hundreds of scripts out there available for free that you can use to help you do a number of different things.

How Do You Use Greasemonkey?

Once you have installed Greasemonkey, you will see the little monkey’s head come up in your status bar.  From here you can create a new user script of your own or you can edit the ones you have already installed.  You also have the ability to enable and disable scripts or Greasemonkey all together, if you need to.

Where Can I Find Greasemonkey User Scripts?

Finding Greasemonkey scripts is easy.  For that, let me point you in the direction of Userscripts.org. This is a great depository of user scripts people have created to get more out of various web sites.  You can browse through all of the scripts, or search for the web site you want to modify.

Greasefire, another extension for Firefox can also help.  It will let you know in the status bar how many user scripts are available for that specific URL you are visiting. Here are a few more of my favorite Greasemonkey script collections:

How Can I Make My Own User Scripts for Greasemonkey?

Making your own Greasemonkey user scripts might be a ‘bit of a challenge, unless you are an old JavaScript coding pro.  It does take some learning, however there are several resources on the Web that will help you teach yourself.  One of the best is the Dive into Greasemonkey eBook.  Here are a few more resources to help you create your own user script:

Once you have made a successful Greasemonkey userscript, you might even look into creating it into a stand alone Firefox add-on.

If you like the tweak the Web, and make it your own, then Greasemonkey is well worth picking up as a Firefox extension.  The add-on, plus some user scripting can lead to helping you get more out of your favorite web sites, and then share that help with others.  When push comes to shove, isn’t that what the Internet should be all about?

Add Gmail’s Unread Count to Your Tab

unreadWant to quickly see how many unread messages you have in Gmail?  Well, with a little help from Firefox, Gmail and one creative userscript author, that can easily be done.  Gmail FavIcon Alerts 3 adds an unread message counter to the Gmail favicon in your browser.

Along with the unread message count, you also get a red Gmail icon when there is no unread messages:

read

…and a chat bubble when somebody is trying to chat with you via Gmail:

chat

Here are a few more things new in this version 3 of Gmail FavIcon Alerts:

Now, you can keep tabs on the exact number of unread messages you have! With the power of the <canvas> tag, the unread message count is now dynamically created for your number of unread messages. The font scales well up to 999 unread messages, but higher numbers are still rendered for those with massive unread counts.

If you have Greasemonkey installed, to get this userscript – just head on over to Userscripts.org and hit “Install”.  Gmail FavIcon Alerts 3 is well worth using, if you spend a lot of time in your Gmail inbox.

Get Rid of the Diggbar (with a userscript!)

Stop the Diggbar

Not a big fan of Digg’s new Diggbar?  Thanks to a little help from Firefox and a few fine Greasemonkey scripts, you can kill it off and never have to see it again.  Try these two scripts out:

Neither will kill off the Diggbar totally, but they should help you automatically redirect to the page and address you want to see.  Why would you want to kill the Diggbar?  Well, some have said there is concern about Digg stealing SEO (search engine optimization) linkage from sites. Also, some people just don’t like new things.  (source: Download Squad)

Mashup Twitter Search with Google Search

Want to get real time Twitter search results on Google?  Depending on the topic you are searching for (especially if it is a newsworthy event) you might be surprised by the range of coverage that you get from Twitter.  Why not harness that and have it handy when searching Google?  Now with this userscript for Greasemonkey you can do it.

After installing Twitter Search Results on Google, here is an example of what your searches will look like:

Twitter results in Google Search

It displays the most recent 5 tweets for the query that you are search for, giving both real-time Twitter search results and Google results on the same page.

I have got to say, over the past few weeks I have been pretty happy with the Twitter searches I have done, so mixing these two into one could lead to some really good results.  You have the power of Google mixed with the social aspects of Twitter. 

Once you get Greasemonkey installed (of it it is already installed) then all you need to do is pick up the script for it here at UserScripts.org.  Big thanks to MT-Hacks for providing this to the public too, it is one of the best scripts I have seen for Greasemonkey in a long while.

Remove the Resizer “Thingy” in Firefox

remove-grabber Why does Firefox have that little resizer corner thingy?  The one that rests in your status bar, on the far right side.  I am not even sure what to call it.  It has no point, because I can grab Firefox from all four corners to resize it to the size I want.  So the question remains – how do I remove it?

I now turn towards my favorite Firefox modification tool, Stylish to do the job for me.  Go check out ffox 3 no resize”thing” in the lower right corner and load that into Stylish (or Greasemonkey).  Now, you should have a little more status bar room.

As an extra bonus, if you want to make your status bar appear more flat, and remove the borders between things – copy and paste this into Stylish.

/* ::::: flat statusbar ::::: */
.db_downbar, statusbarpanel, .statusbarpanel-iconic,
  .statusbarpanel-iconic-text, .statusbarpanel-menu-iconic,
.progressmeter-statusbar, progressmeter {
  -moz-appearance: none !important;
  border: none !important;}

Credit for that tip goes to the mozillaZine forums.  Doing so should remove the junk and leave things with a cleaner look.

Find Greasemonkey Scripts for Your URL

greasefire-for-firefox We all love using Greasemonkey to help customize the Web or Firefox itself to our liking.  There is a problem though when it comes to finding scripts based around a certain URL.  It is not an easy thing to do.  That is where Greasefire, an add-on for Firefox, comes into play.

As a companion extension to Greasemonkey, Greasefire automatically find Greasemonkey scripts on Userscripts.org for the URL you are looking for.  When you are browsing a web site that does have user scripts available, Greasefire will light up the Greasemonkey icon in the status bar.  Then, right-click the Greasemonkey icon and choose the “X scripts available” item to see and install the scripts available for the current page.

So, if this is always looking for user scripts, isn’t that going to slow down your browsing?  Not exactly.  Greasefire works with a local level index to search for scripts that apply to the page you are on.  The local index updates periodically, so you shouldn’t be too out of the loop when doing lookups either.

You can pick up Greasefire on the Firefox Add-ons site.

Greasemonkey Help User Script Trouble? Be sure to check out the Beginner’s Guide to Greasemonkey!

Watch Out for the Trojan Greasemonkey!

943948800 Are the badware baddies trying to target a new audience?

Got this e-mailed in from a reader, so wanted to spread the word.  Can never be too careful these days.

BitDefender has identified this new bit of holiday cheer as Trojan.PWS.ChromeInject.A” (the ChromeInject suffix refers to the Chrome component of Firefox). The trojan installs itself into Firefox’s add-on directory, registers itself as Greasemonkey, and begins searching your hard drive for passwords, login details, your World of WarCraft account information, and your library card number.

You can read more about the situation over at ars technicaThe real Greasemonkey is still malware-free and is totally safe to use. This trojan in question isn’t even the Greasemonkey script.  It just calls itself that to try to trick you down download it.  This seems to be a pretty stupid move from the trojan writers though, due to the fact that Firefox users who use Greasemoney (I would say) have a little higher Internet intelligence than your average punch a monkey to win a iPod person.

Greasemonkey Help Need Help? Be sure to check out the Beginner’s Guide to Greasemonkey!

Mashup Gmail with Google Calendar

1225419768 GmailAgenda is an awesome new experimental add-on for Firefox that will integrate Google Calendar into your Gmail account.  No mater if your using a regular Gmail account or a Google Apps account – this should work for either one.

As far as customization goes, you can change the embed width.  The Google Calendar embed can also be expanded and collapsed as needed.  Also, You can choose which calendars are shown/hidden for each Gmail account.

The last thing worth mentioning is there is a “Quick Add” feature, not available for Google Apps accounts, that will allow you to quickly add events to your calendar.

Want to try it out?  You have two alternatives:

So how does this rank against Gmail’s announcement of adding the calendar in as a gadget for Gmail?  Which do you like better?