When I interviewed Bill Gates at the September 2005 Professional Developers Conference, one of the topics we discussed was the just-announced WFP/E (Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere). Amusingly, he remarked:

…WPF/E — which they say they’re going to rename, but that’s the best they could do for now…

In the usual course of events, a Microsoft project starts out with a cool name like Indigo, and winds up with a clunky name like “Windows Communication Foundation (WCF).” This time, refreshingly, things happened the other way around. What was announced as WPF/E will now permanently be known as Silverlight. It was unveiled at the National Association of Broadcasters show, and as Tim Sneath has hinted, there will be more Silverlight-related announcements at MIX.

For now, I just want to surface an implicit connection between yesterday’s item about Reify Software’s Turnabout (Greasemonkey for IE) and Silverlight. As Tim noted:

Every XAML element can be accessed or manipulated from the same client-side JavaScript that would be used to interact with any DHTML element.

If you’ve installed the Silverlight preview, you can see an example of this dynamic interplay here — on Windows or on the Mac.

Now here’s an interesting point. Because the Silverlight DOM (document object model) is accessible from JavaScript, the same Greasemonkey-style scripts that rewrite HTML pages will be able to rewrite Silverlight inclusions.

Why might this be useful? Suppose you’re using a site that includes a Silverlight media player on a web page. You’d like to modify the player’s controls or its annotation features. A Greasemonkey-style script should be able to rewrite the player’s XAML (the Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation’s XML markup) just as it can rewrite the page’s HTML.

Greasemonkey unleashed a flood of creativity by enabling developers who are not the authors of web pages to enhance the behavior of those web pages in ways that can be profoundly useful. I hope we’ll see similar effects in the realm of Silverlight. And if we do, I hope they’ll enjoy the same cross-browser reach that Silverlight itself does.