Time went on and things were hunky dory, until we got an email from Google a few months ago. (As an aside, this is a pretty unusual for us to hear from Google—we have contacts from both Microsoft and Yahoo, and they send us press releases and invite us to events on their campuses, but we rarely hear from Google.) But the Gmail Product Manager, Keith Coleman, was writing to say that they were working on some major Gmail code upgrades that would break the Better Gmail extension. That was the bad news. The good news, however, was that they were also releasing a Greasemonkey API for Gmail.
Which basically means that Google’s INVITING Greasemonkey user script developers to add to the app. The API itself provides hooks to the web interface for developers to address certain parts of the page. Like, to add a box in the sidebar, your code could call an available method on the page versus start manually manipulating the DOM. This was huge news, and a big step forward for Greasemonkey developers. Because, like we talked about earlier, HTML is not an agreed-upon, permanent way to represent data in a web application. But an API is.
To tell you the truth, I thought that If I were to get any contact from Google regarding Better Gmail, it would be some sort of hostile lawyerly thing demanding that we stop messing with their product. But it was exactly the opposite: by introducing the API, they’re opening up the door and rolling out the red carpet for developers in to add to and modify the frontend of the webapp.