Simon Willison’s Weblog

Greasemonkey FUD

Wow, that didn’t take long. Via the Greasemonkey mailing list, Forrester Research have released a report entitled Greasemonkey Primes Firefox For Embarrassment. I have no intention of paying the $49 asking price for the full 3 page report (!), but here’s the executive summary:

Eager Web users downloaded Firefox more than 25 million times in the 100 days following its public release—and they did it without waiting for IT or anyone else to tell them to. So it’s safe to assume many of these self-directed go-getters are going to run out and download the latest Firefox extension, Greasemonkey, and start using it to streamline the way they browse. But IT managers beware: Greasemonkey will cause you nothing but headaches, and may even be a good reason to delay that Firefox pilot you’re planning.

For Microsoft’s sake, let’s hope Forrester don’t find out about GreasemonkIE ;) On a more serious note, tools like Greasemonkey are a fantastic way of fixing issues with the atrocious interfaces found in many “enterprise” web applications. Workers who use Greasemonkey to improve their productivity by fixing problems with internal applications should be applauded. I wonder if the Forrester report touches on the many benefits of browser-based site customisation. The title would suggest not.

Update: For comparison, it’s interesting to note that a previous report from the same author cautiously commends Firefox for providing some tangible benefits over Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and suggests businesses re-code all external-facing Web content to work with Firefox. With that in mind, crying FUD may be unwarranted.

This is Greasemonkey FUD by Simon Willison, posted on 14th April 2005.

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Previously hosted at http://simon.incutio.com/archive/2005/04/14/fud