Bending the Browser

Bending the Browser. An entirely new form of web programming.

Links via Feedster hits the bloody spot. It’s a firefox plugin that inserts feedster searches directly in news stories on nytimes.com and washingtonpost.com. A bit of javascript runs on load and modifies those web pages directly in the browser, as you browse.

That’s revolutionary. No need to build scrapers, or interface with APIs if they even exist yet. Or build proxies. Or send feedback. The Web is bendable today. Programmers and hopefully utlimately users, can directly modify and extend the Web transparently.

Links via Feedster is pretty specific. How about a plugin that runs a configurable bit of javascript when browsing any arbitrary url? There are obvious huge security issues that I’ll just naively ignore in my enthusiasm. Maybe crippled javascript (no cookies etc) or a vetter reputation system for these plugins?

One idea to solve some design problems: rewrite rss links to point at the user’s favorite aggreagator.

It is possible to generally modify CSS in Mozilla, like this project on skinning gmail. Still a few steps away from ease of use. I imagine a XUL app, which parses a sites HTML and CSS, and presents that in an editor for user modification.

I’d love to see this. Can URIid be hacked to run javascript? Must change the bloglines “Clip/Blog This” link to point to del.icio.us.

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