Oomph for Firefox: Microsoft’s Microformats IE plugin as Greasemonkey script

About a month ago Microsoft presented Oomph, a first attempt to integrate microformats in their tools1. Oomph at this moment consists of an IE8 plugin, a set of css styles and a plugin for the blogging tools Windows Live Writer.  I’ll let this Microsoft video explain:

The IE8 extension does something similar as the Firefox Operator plugin, but all of it is implemented in Javascript (using the Jquery library).  In fact, all the extension does, is make the browser insert 2 lines of javascript into the source code of any page it visits to perform the magic.  Jon Udell made a demo page with the javascript already included so you can check its effect with any browser without installing anything (more at Jon’s posting on Oomph).

Inserting lines of javascript automatically in any page?  That sounds like a Greasemonkey job, doesn’t it?  Strangely enough, a search for Oomph and Greasemonkey didn’t result in anything useful.  So that’s why I put this simple Greasemonkey userscript online2 that does for Firefox what the IE extension does: alerting you for hCalendar and hCard microformats and making it easy to download or export them.  Install it and head over to Jon Udell’s second version of his demo page that doesn’t have the script yet, to check whether the effect is identical.

Note: as mentioned on the userscript’s page, Microsoft can theoretically follow your clickstream if you install the script (by logging http referer headers on load requests for the script). If you are not comfortable with that, host the Javascript libraries on your own server and replace the path “http://visitmix.com/labs/oomph/1.0/client/” by the new location.

  1. although several people have argued that the webslices that came with IE8, are in fact a somewhat different implementation of the hAtom microformat []
  2. it is in fact based on a similar del.icio.us script I discussed in a posting 2 years ago []

7 Responses to “Oomph for Firefox: Microsoft’s Microformats IE plugin as Greasemonkey script”

  1. Joshua Allen [msft] Says:

    Whoa, this is fantastic! We had someone contribute a bookmarklet for Google Chrome, but you are right — this just makes sense as GreaseMonkey script.

    Do you mind if we link to this from our CodePlex site? FWIW, *all* of our source is released as Ms-Pl (basically BSD/MIT license) and we take code contributions, so if you wanted to check this into the project, we would be happy to bundle it with the installer for Oomph. But totally up to you — we would love to at least point to the script on your site.


  2. Pascal Says:

    hello Joshua,

    no blogger has ever complained about an incoming link ;-)

    as for including the script in the Oomph installer: I have no clue at all what the legal status of a contribution at userscripts.org is and whether you’d need permission to include a script trivial as this http://userscripts.org/scripts/review/36879

    FWIW, you have my permission, but I guess the bigger challenge for you will be to redistribute the Firefox Greasemonkey extension, so I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle?

  3. Frank Says:

    For those using Safari, there is the Safari Microformats plugin at http://zappatic.net/safarimicroformats/ that works quite well as well, and has been around for quite a bit longer than the IE one :) It integrates nicely with iCal and AddressBook (if you are using OSX, no idea what it does on Safari for Windows)

  4. Joshua Allen [msft] Says:

    @Frank: It is true that we arrived late at the party :-) I think Michael Kaply’s “Operator” for Firefox is the most mature and developed plugin out there, and we recommend his plugin for people using Firefox. But Pascal’s greasemonkey script is quite cool. I have been using it in Google Chrome for the past couple of weeks (I use Chrome as a “backup browser”, and the daily builds support greasemonkey scripts). It’s really remarkable to see the gleam appear just as I expect, no matter whether I am using Chrome or IE.

    @Pascal: Thanks again for doing this; we linked from our blog and I have been giving shout-outs. We just did some bugfixes and re-built the installer, but you are right about the possible issues with installing the greasemonkey extension. I could technically have the installer check to see if Chrome is installed, and then drop the .js file in the appropriate folder (with user permission of course), but I didn’t see a way to do the same in Firefox. I’m very tempted to just add the support for Chrome in the next build of the installer, but need to think it through a bit more.

  5. Ted Says:

    I think this is brilliant: a cross-browser tool that takes advantage of microformats. It works great and looks great.

    My only concern is the plugin for Windows Live Writer. It enables people to include the hCalendar microformat in their blog using the standard format (i.e. using the title of abbr). This method of using hCalendar raises accessibility concerns: how it affects people with visual and cognitive disabilities.

    I hope you can come up with a solution to this problem, because what you’ve achieved so far is quite exciting :-)

  6. Pascal Says:

    Thanks for your comment.

    I’m not a Microsoft guy however, I just came up with this Greasemonkey script that includes the javascript snippet provided by MS automatically.

    I knew there were some issues with microformats and accessibility ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radiolabs/2008/06/removing_microformats_from_bbc.shtml ) and some googling learned that some people tried to come up with a solution for it http://www.webstandards.org/2007/04/27/haccessibility/ (I understand that’s what you are referring to?).

    A good place to voice your concerns would probably be the http://windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com/ Windows Live Writer team blog.

  7. Alenônimo Says:

    The Greasemonkey script should include pages starting with “file:///” too. So we can test Microformats while editing them on our PCs.