iHOPerator: user-scripting a personalized bioinformatics Web, starting with the iHOP website

Benjamin M Good, Edward A Kawas, Byron Yu-Lin Kuo, Mark D Wilkinson
2006 BMC Bioinformatics  
User-scripts are programs stored in Web browsers that can manipulate the content of websites prior to display in the browser. They provide a novel mechanism by which users can conveniently gain increased control over the content and the display of the information presented to them on the Web. As the Web is the primary medium by which scientists retrieve biological information, any improvements in the mechanisms that govern the utility or accessibility of this information may have profound
more » ... s. GreaseMonkey is a Mozilla Firefox extension that facilitates the development and deployment of user-scripts for the Firefox web-browser. We utilize this to enhance the content and the presentation of the iHOP (information Hyperlinked Over Proteins) website. The iHOPerator is a GreaseMonkey user-script that augments the gene-centred pages on iHOP by providing a compact, configurable visualization of the defining information for each gene and by enabling additional data, such as biochemical pathway diagrams, to be collected automatically from third party resources and displayed in the same browsing context. This open-source script provides an extension to the iHOP website, demonstrating how user-scripts can personalize and enhance the Web browsing experience in a relevant biological setting. The novel, user-driven controls over the content and the display of Web resources made possible by user-scripts, such as the iHOPerator, herald the beginning of a transition from a resource-centric to a user-centric Web experience. We believe that this transition is a necessary step in the development of Web technology that will eventually result in profound improvements in the way life scientists interact with information.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-7-534 pmid:17173692 pmcid:PMC1764905 fatcat:5h4pwel7drbztpxbwkbkssom7m