Thursday, May 04, 2006

Stylish Extension for Firefox: Greasemonkey for CSS

I've blogged about Greasemonkey before, it's one of my favorite Firefox applications. Simply put, Greasemonkey lets you apply javascript code to any web page or group of web pages (e.g. a site, or even the whole WWW). For example, if you wish Gmail had more features, but couldn't wait for the Gmail Team's next release, you could apply certain javascripts (either made by you or borrowed from others) and see an "improved" Gmail immediately. (It's a bit more complicated than that, but you get the idea.)

I just found another great extension earlier today (we're not allowed to blog in the office): Stylish takes Greasemonkey's concept and brings it to the realm of Cascading StyleSheets. Although technically you could use Greasemonkey to apply CSS changes via Javascript, it's not intuitive to have to write Javascripts if you could simply write pure CSS code instead. Stylish is almost as simple as Greasemonkey: you get a small icon on the lower right side of your browser where you could access all its features like installing and managing your CSS. Installing stylesheets with Stylish currently isn't as easy as installing javascripts with Greasemonkey--no "Install this stylesheet" in the context menu, for example--though the site does give you a handy Install button.

What's even more amazing is that since Firefox uses CSS for its actual interface, you could use Stylish to change how your browser and your extensions look. I've used it for minor interface changes, like making non-current tabs less visible. I like this ability especially because I realized how much better this is that what a badly missed and previously favorite extension, ChromEdit, could do.

Stylish is definitely worthy to be called a sister extension of Greasemonkey. Along with other great extensions, it makes me even less willing to try other new browsers (yes, Opera 9.0, I'm looking at you). Now if only the author would give it a more appropriate name. How about Gelmonkey? :-P