Tag Archives: HTML

Adblock Ajax debugging Design email firefox Greasemonkey Javascript listserv mailing list Online News Outlook ROI troubleshooting web-development web standards XHTML

An interesting use of Greasemonkey – Troubleshooting other people’s sites

Detriot-Superior and Center Street Bridge I’ve played around with Firefox’s Greasemonkey add-on here and there but never really delved into it until recently.  I found most of the common uses for it to be either too specific to someone else’s use habits or already covered by other extensions.  For example, there are probably a million ad blocking scripts out there, but I already have Adblock.

I’ve grown to appreciate Greasemonkey a lot more since I learned that you can make AJAX calls in scripts – now we can do some real damage.  But this post is not about that, it’s about a totally different use case that I hadn’t thought of before.

If you’re a web developer with any friends or family you’ve probably heard this one before:

“Something’s wrong with my web site, can you take a look?”

Often, though, you won’t have access to a dev server, database, or even a copy of the server-side code.  All you can see is the HTML and Javascript source and the HTTP transactions going back and forth.

Greasemonkey can’t rewrite PHP code on someone else’s server but it does make it really, really easy for you to alter forms, delete and change cookie values, and patch and debug Javascript on the site you’re looking at, without changing any other variables.

This can be really, really useful in some situations.  So now it’s officially added to my volunteer/web-developer/brother-in-law toolbelt.

Links – HTML vs. XHTML

In general, I think XHTML was an improvement over HTML.  But if you’re looking at a site with lots of legacy code or starting a new project with untrained web developers, you’re likely to get questions: which should we use?  Is it worth spending extra effort for stricter web standards compliance?

Below are a few articles comparing and explaining differences between the two, from the least to the most technical:

Weekly listserv journal – HTML in email

I hate html in emails, and I guess Outlook 2003 now blocks it by default (because otherwise it would spread viruses, which all previous versions of Outlook have been experts at).  Someone brought up this issue from a designer’s point of view.  A lot of the newsletters that people actually signed up for were being bounced back.  Some people agreed with me that even if readers can turn the blocking off, would they want to?  Journalists can track traffic with html newsletters, but users don’t care about that.

As part of a class project I’ve been reading the Online-News mailing list and responding to some of the issues and discussion brought up there.