A dirth of media articles have surfaced around Greasemonkey, a Firefox extension that lets you modify websites to your liking. I’m not about to get into the myriad scripts available or call out my favorites (I haven’t even used it yet though I did find one for fixing Spread Firefox’s column overlap issues!) but I do want to call out a shifting paradigm overtaking the web gradually, mercilously and with no sign of abating.
The trend is towards user-augmented web experiences, where users are in the drivers seat determining how they want to use a website rather than leaving it up to web designers and developers. Even on user-customizable blog software like WordPress, Greasemonkey scripts are showing up to set default prefs on the edit screens!
…Something that I read the other day on a site detailing steps to disable Greasemonkey really clued me into what this trend means:
“Your DOM”? I am sorry, but once your code leaves your server, it is no longer “your DOM” but the “user’s DOM” and they can screw with it as they please.
This is a wholly new concept that flies in the face of years and years of being inundated with the shrill cry of intellectual property and copyright fascists who can’t stand to think that someone else might want to alter their creations beyond their original artistic vision. We’ve been cooped up with that mindset for some time and only now are we starting to really break free from it. Only now do we realize — “Hey wait, this is my web browser on my computer! I don’t have to just sit here and take this! I can make my web browsing experience whatever I want — and I will!”
And as the web moves towards a more fluid model (or as Technorati CEO Dave Sifry calls it, an “event stream“), we’re going to see more of this — where blogs dissolve into tributaries and web aggregators become the Ganges and Niles of the internet. Stay tuned, I think I might just be working on something that will yet make it possible to swim the web as it goes liquid… and just might keep us from drowning in the impending deluge of freeflowing content.