Simon Willison’s Weblog

18 items tagged “greasemonkey”

OCR and Neural Nets in JavaScript. John dissects the brilliant Greasemonkey script that solves simple captchas using the canvas element and HTML5’s getImageData API. # 25th January 2009, 12 am

Crowbar. Headless Gecko/XULRunner which exposes a web service API for screen scraping using a real browser DOM—just pass it the URL of a page and the URL of a screen scraping JavaScript script (a bit like a Greasemonkey user script) and get back RDF/XML. # 24th January 2009, 11:52 pm

BUG: XSS Security flaw in BaseCamp Messages (via) BaseCamp lets users include HTML and JavaScript in messages, on the basis that anyone with a BaseCamp account is a trusted party. I’m not convinced: you could use this to circumvent BaseCamp’s access control stuff and read messages you’re not meant to. On the flip side, you could also use this to add brand new features to BaseCamp by using JavaScript in a message as a server-side equivalent to Greasemonkey. # 26th June 2008, 9:39 am

google-axsjax (via) “The AxsJAX framework can inject accessibility enhancements into existing Web 2.0 applications using any of several standard Web techniques”—including bookmarklets and Greasemonkey. The enhancements conform to W3C ARIA, supported by Firefox 2.0 and later. # 14th November 2007, 5:18 pm

Gmail Greasemonkey API (via) The new version of Gmail includes API hooks for Greasemonkey script authors. The documentation is by Mark Pilgrim, author of Greasemonkey Hacks. # 7th November 2007, 10:38 am

Site-specific browsers and GreaseKit. New site-specific browser tool which lets you include a bunch of Greasemonkey scripts. For me, the killer feature of site-specific browsers is still cookie isolation (to minimise the impact of XSS and CSRF holes) but none of the current batch of tools advertise this as a feature, and most seem to want to share the system-wide cookie jar. # 25th October 2007, 7:56 am

Anyone who recently downloaded GreaseMonkey scripts from should check their scripts. I haven’t confirmed this, but this Jyte claim suggests that was hacked and cookie stealing code inserted in to some of the scripts. UPDATE: Not hacked; just bad scripts submitted through the regular process. # 7th July 2007, 10:43 pm

Canvas demos

Jesse Andrews (of Book Burro and fame) has built some awesome canvas demos for users of Safari or Firefox 1.5. He has a bar chart and some animated rectangles, but the real gem is the live chart which polls a server using XMLHttpRequest and updates a line graph with live data. He also has some fun mathematical experiments: a cellular automata generator and a neat exploration of Lindenmayer systems (both static and interactive). Read more on his blog.

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More fun with the monkey

Cory Doctorow points to America from the Great Depression to World War II: Color Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1939-1945, with the following observation:

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Understanding the Greasemonkey vulnerability

If you have any version of Greasemonkey installed prior to 0.3.5, which was released a few hours ago, or if you are running any of the 0.4 alphas, you need to go and upgrade right now. All versions of Greasemonkey aside from 0.3.5 contain a nasty security hole, which could enable malicious web sites to read any file from your hard drive without you knowing.

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Tweaking Wikipedia

Does anyone know why Wikipedia displays a redirected page at the same URL rather than using a proper HTTP redirect? Case in point: Topics in human-computer interaction actually displays the content from List of human-computer interaction topics (that’s my next exam topic)—the same content appears at two different URLs. Yuck. Here’s a Greasemonkey script to fix it: wikipedia-redirect.user.js.

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Fixing web applications with Greasemonkey

In Greasemonkey FUD, I highlighted the importance of Greasemonkey as a tool for fixing interface problems in “enterprise” web applications. DJ Adams has done exactly that for OSS Notes, part of the SAP service portal. His user script ditches the frames in the interface, makes the page title more useful and adds hyperlinks to other note references on the page—significantly improving the user experience in less than 40 lines of code. The improvements are clearly explained in the accompanying screencast.

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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:

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Greasemonkey etiquette

In Meme tracking with Greasemonkey, Jon Udell introduces a userscript which grabs the number of references from and bloglines and appends that information to the top of every page you visit. To be fair on Jon, the version he has released defaults to only doing this for pages on but modifying it to run on every web page is trivial.

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Flickr without the Flash

One of my favourite panels at SxSW this year was the Flash vs. HTML Game Show, in which a team of HTML/JavaScript gurus took on a team of Flash gurus showing off pre-prepared solutions to tasks set for the panel. One of the challenges was to come up with enhancements to Flickr using the team’s assigned technology.

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Greasemonkey as a lightweight intermediary

In The architecture of intermediation, Jon Udell discusses the need for a mechanism for a high-level tool for adding custom features to web applications. In Jon’s case, he wants to add a private bookmarks feature to Jon thought about using a web proxy to intercept and modify pages, but ruled it out as too low-level.

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Fixing Paul Graham’s Footnotes

I’m a big fan of Paul Graham’s essays, the latest of which is How to Start a Startup. There’s just one niggling problem with them: Paul makes extensive use of footnotes, but provides no way of jumping from the reference in the text to the footnote at the bottom of the page and back up again. Instead, you have to manually down to the bottom of the article and back up again every time you hit a footnote reference.

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Greasemonkey: Hacking the Web with JavaScript. Greasemonkey rocks! Here’s a simple tutorial from Michael Moncur. # 8th January 2005, 12:38 pm