It has been a while since I posted anything here about an open source project that has caught my eye. This week I have been playing with Greasemonkey, and GMail-related scripts in particular.
I installed Greasemonkey primarily to improve my GMail experience. The first thing I used it for was security. I access my email from libraries, coffee shops, work, and other public venues. I didn’t want that data going out over the wire unencrypted. Enter Christer Edwards of Ubuntu Tutorials and his GoogleSecure project. GoogleSecure is a script that insures that your Google apps (including GMail) always take advantage of SSL encryption when retrieving data. I have been running it for a few days and have not seen any change in performance.
Once I had GoogleSecure humming along, I started thinking about what other changes I might want to make. I wanted to have attractive links to the blog and my PGP key in my signature. GMail doesn’t allow HTML in their signature block! I was able to work around that with Google HTML Signatures from Blank Canvas. This script adds an easy HTML signature editing textarea, then stores your signature to reuse later.
There are a ton of GreaseMonkey scripts out there, and they tweak or improve many different sites. Userscripts.org is a good place to look for scripts, but be wary. If you don’t know a trusted source that uses it, don’t be afraid to review the code, and if it adds hassles to your time on the web, get rid of it.