Illuminating the Web, with GreaseMonkey

Back in November 2004 I made some mention (or Looking for FireFox / Mozilla extensions for and Technorati), inspired by Phil Windley’s Technometria about a system to find and display commentaries on the current web page.

Think of this as being the web equivalent of Illuminated Manuscripts, or commentaries (or side chatter).

Aaron Boodman, aka youngpup, saw some merit in the idea, but then got distracted with a new job and a little thing called GreaseMonkey.

We have Progress ! In July, Matthew Gertner and Stef Magdalinski relased TechnoProxy at Peer Pressure, and Chris Were Greasemonkey with Technorati, which both are Greasemonkey script that inserts information from Technorati onto every web page you visit:

There is a difference: the TechnoProxy uses the Technorati API which requires at API key with a limited number of “uses” per key. To get around having to include their Technorati API Key in the source code they require it (the gm script) to query a proxy on their server (see Greasemonkey and the Death of API Keys), which does resolve the security issue (and opens others), but must come a resource hit for them (bandwidth/ server io etc). And the API Key still runs out of juice. youngpub suggests Why not have users get their own keys?. At minimum they could release a gm script with requires you to add your key. Either of which would solve the Key security and the juice problems (for us if not Technorati!, which can be a little slow these days).

Chris Were’s script doesn’t have this issue because he does not use the API, “just” calling and displaying the results.

So at least we have a couple of good prototypes for this future “Web Illuminator” (™ pending), which should show up in the sidebar area, and may or may not use technorati as its engine.

Peer Pressure also created WikiProxy: Greasemonkey Edition, which hyperlinks the current page with a list of head phrases from the Wikipedia database. Very similar to my brain fart in Accelerando Technical Companion about using :

Wikibooks, a collection of open-content textbooks that anyone can edit…… an addition to my ExoCortex …I could use this….I was thinking (I know, I know) building a Accelerando vocabulary and using GreaseMoney to build a Hyper-glossary of the html texts…hmm…

Running the WikiProxy against Charle Stross’s recent accelerando Illuminates the Serdar Argic mention but misses the Nicolas Bourbaki referrance because its says “ Bourbaki math borg.” (too clever for it!). Still way kool! I am so going to be looking at that WikiProxy code! Plus, this is another sort of “Illumination”! And in a roundabout way youngpup has delivered, I love it when a lazy web request plan comes together.

Sept 6th update : a new Mozilla/Firefox extension Dictionary Tooltip ( Press ctrl+shift+D (or) double-click after selecting a word to see its meaning. ) is very handy. Its using The Free Dictionary as it’s primary source, but will let you inquire the Wikipedia when it fails to grok the word. Less intrusive than the WikiProxy’s markup, the double click is still easy to use (and can be diabled in the options).

One Reply to “Illuminating the Web, with GreaseMonkey”

  1. Pingback: False Positives » Web Comments for Firefox

Leave a Reply