Kent Brewster


Stone Knives, Bear Skins, and Greasemonkey
36 minutes, 16.6mb, recorded 2010-05-11
Kent Brewster

Designers often create designs that are impossible for engineers to implement. Rather than wait until engineers have time to implement a design, rapid prototyping tools can demonstrate whether a design works without a lot of effort. In this talk to BayCHI, Kent Brewster of Netflix shares how his prototyping work at Yahoo! and Netflix, then demonstrates how Greasemonkey can be used to create browser-side prototypes in a matter of minutes.

Greasemonkey works by modifying a web page after it's rendered in a browser. It uses the same capabilities of the DOM, CSS, and Javascript that AJAX uses. Brewster takes the Twitter home page and removes ads, changes the color of links, and removes all of the follower count numbers. He also demonstrates more complex services like MyBlogLog, which displays community members that have most recently visited a web page. These aren't suitable for production because they must be installed per browser and the changes don't take effect until after the original page is completely loaded.  But it gives a quick and cheap way to demonstrate changes to decision makers.

Kent Brewster builds cool new toys at Netflix. Prior to that he was a prototyper, technology evangelist, and pointer-out-of-security-holes at Yahoo!, where he helped to build the Yahoo! Developer Network and take Hack Day on the road. In another life, Kent was a Hugo- and Nebula-nominated science fiction writer, editor, and publisher. He doesn't write much fiction any more, but still thinks that the internet is his generation's revenge for not being allowed to go to the moon.


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