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Greasemonkey Hacks: Tips & Tools for Remixing the Web with Firefox Paperback – 25 Nov 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (25 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596101651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596101657
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,781,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Book Description

Foreword by Aaron Boodman, Creator and Lead Developer, Greasemonkey

From the Publisher

Greasemonkey--the new Firefox extension that allows you to write scripts that alter the web pages you visit--allows you to alter site appearance, fix bugs, or even combine data from different web sites to meet your own needs. Some people are content to receive information from websites passively; some people want to control it. For those who prefer to customize and control their content, Greasemonkey Hacks provides the expertise you need to take command of any web page you view.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven Morrison on 22 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book when I first started writing my own Greasemonkey scripts. It was the only Greasemonkey text available at the time.

The first chapter is very, very useful. It explains clearly some of the restrictions placed on Greasemonkey scripts compared to standard Javascripts, and why they exist. The explanation of the GM-specific methods was also good, though already out of date as some methods were not discussed.

The book isn't much use as a reference when writing your own scripts, as there isn't an index to specific techniques. Instead, I had to skim the whole text to get a feel for what each example did, so I had an idea of where to look in the future. The descriptions accompanying each example does help here, but doesn't make the book as useful as it could be.

In short, the first chapter is a great help to newcomers to Greasemonkey, but the compliments end there.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A Very Good Introduction to the Topic 23 Dec. 2005
By Jase T. Wolfe - Published on
Format: Paperback
Greasemonkey (GM) is an extension (arguably one of the most useful) for the Firefox browser. GM is an agent that allows the dynamic alteration and manipulation of web pages via scripts which run after the page is loaded but before it is rendered to you. GM opens the Document Object Model (DOM) of other people's web pages up to client-side access, which gives you the power to add, remove and change the content of that web page to suit your tastes and needs - almost exactly if you had written the web page yourself. GM, however, is only the hosting engine. All the real work is performed by implementing JavaScript files, that you or someone else has written.

Greasemonkey Hacks is a great read and a valuable "ideas" asset, but only if you fit into the niche it is written for. As GM is nothing more than an interface host for dynamic scripting, not a lot other than an overview of the extension, where to get it, and a how to use its few dialogs can be written about. Indeed, it already has been covered before and is freely available on the extension's home page (Greasemonkey dot Mozdev dot Org). As GM makes the DOM available to custom JavaScripts, unless you only intend to look for and run other peoples scripts (which is quite doable as UserScripts dot Org makes hundreds of thousands of them readily available, some of which appear in this book), a working knowledge of the DOM and JavaScript is needed. The author does not spend much time covering what GM is, and very little time covering any JavaScripting or DOM objects; you are expected to already understand what you see. What this title does give you is hundreds of pages of ideas, accomplished by presenting recipe script after recipe script complete with discussions and explanations.

The book is well written, and entertaining to read. The information presented within ranges from novice to advanced (if you're into scripting) and is never dumbed down or made overly complicated. If you're really interested in writing your own web browsing "hacks", this is an excellent read as it provides a great guided introduction into the topic, beyond what you would get if you just threw yourself into the GM-related websites. If you find the possibilities tantalizing, you won't be sorry you purchased this book. But, as this is not a how-to or learning book for the DOM or for JavaScript, I couldn't recommend it above the GM websites to the casual Firefox user or those who do not script.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I'll never view the browser experience the same again... 5 Feb. 2006
By Thomas Duff - Published on
Format: Paperback
Bottom line... I'm hooked. I was vaguely aware of what Greasemonkey was, but I really hadn't taken the time to explore it. That time is now over. I had a chance to review a copy of Greasemonkey Hacks by Mark Pilgrim, and I don't think I'll look at web browsing the same again.

Contents: Getting Started; Linkmania!; Beautifying the Web; Web Forms; Developer Tools; Search; Web Mail; Accessibility; Taking Back the Browser; Syndication; Site Integration; Those Not Included in This Classification; Index

This is a typical O'Reilly Hacks title, where you have 100 tips and tricks on exploiting some technology or toy. In this volume, Mark Pilgrim shows how you can use the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox to completely change the way you interact with web pages. The first two tips show how to install Greasemonkey and how to install a Greasemonkey script that you either download or write yourself. From there, it's all over the board as far as what you can do with these script gems. Tired of dealing with URLs on a site that aren't clickable? Check out tip #13 (Turn Naked URLs into Hyperlinks). Want to have a web page refresh itself automatically every x minutes (even though they don't have a meta refresh tag)? Then go to tip #41 (Refresh Pages Automatically). And my favorite... Hate those web site registrations that force you to enter basic information every time just to see the content? Do you normally use BugMeNot to find an existing registration? Wish that all could be integrated and automated in your browser? Tip #84 - Bypass Annoying Site Registration. I can tell you that this one was the first Greasemonkey script I installed, and it's way cool...

This is really not a "how to code Greasemonkey scripts" book. You're dealing with JavaScript and the document object model, but Pilgrim and his group of contributors don't spend any time trying to teach you how to do all that. The book delivers the scripts already coded and tested, and you just have to install them. But that's not bad, and it works on a number of levels. If you've never used Greasemonkey, it's a great way to discover the power (as I did). And if you *are* a Greasemonkey user and/or developer, this will give you many new ideas on scripts you might want to write yourself. And since you can download the scripts from the O'Reilly site, you already have a solid base of code from which to start. Hard to beat that in terms of value...

Obviously, I like tech books and I read a lot. But not often do I run across a book that ends up changing the way I view the basic technology I touch every day. If I wasn't a Firefox user, this book would convince me to become one in short order. As a Firefox user, I'm now convinced that I can personalize and manipulate web sites and information in ways I never imaged. This is really a recommended read...
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Take Back the Web 23 Nov. 2005
By Scott R. Turner - Published on
Format: Paperback
Since its inception, the Web has been a one-way pipe from the information suppliers to the consumers: take what we offer and like it. Greasemonkey turns that paradigm on its ear by giving the user of the Web the power and the tools to change Web sites to suit his own needs.

But Greasemonkey requires programming in Javascript. That's within reach for most technically-savvy Web users, but easy for only a few. Platypus ( provides a graphical interface for creating Greasemonkey scripts, but if you want to create anything unique or deeply powerful, you'll have to tackle Javascript programming.

That's where this book comes in. With a hundred examples of different Greasemonkey scripts, all of them clearly explained by the author of "Dive into Python" and "Dive into Greasemonkey", this book provides the basic recipes for almost any sort of script you'd like to create. By cutting, pasting and recombining what you find in this book, you'll be able to shape any Web site to your own vision without spending years plumbing the esoteric depths of Javascript and the Firefox browser.

If you can't amaze yourself with Greasemonkey, don't blame this book. Blame your lack of imagination!

-- Scott Turner
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Technical, but good 21 Jun. 2006
By Jake McKee - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a book on how to actually get started with Greasemonkey *coding* this is a great book. Sure, there's a collection of basic intro info, but this is a how-to book for coders. That's not a bad thing, of course! And from a coding standpoint, it does a great job.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Ins & Outs of Greasemonkey 8 Jan. 2006
By Dan McKinnon - Published on
Format: Paperback
Greasemonkey is an extension for the Mozilla Firefox web browser to give users tons of control over ANY web page that they visit. The idea behind Greasemonkey is simply that DHTML can be outputted in useful ways, to do thinks like control how all links on a web page are displayed to the user, make cosmetic changes (image control and such), and these are just the tip of the iceberg! Never before have users had the kind of control before that they get with the Firefox web browser and the Greasemonkey extension. If you want to learn how to hack your way around (and the word 'hack' is so true when it comes to this extension) and have fun doing things that you should just NOT be able to do, you have come to the right place! Mark Pilgrim's book is an entertaining, interesting, and easy to follow guide to getting the most out of this great add-on. It gets into the nuts and bolts of Greasemonkey and does everything as advertised and more!!

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