Tomodo: Modify a Website and Publish it Online

Websites are rarely perfect. They’re either horribly designed or simply lack the functionality to perform in 2013. Worse still, many website owners refuse to develop mobile version leaving smartphone users struggling to use their sites.

Tomodo is a platform for modding websites and sharing your improved version with the world. It seems like a strange idea. How can you mod a website that isn’t yours?

Using clever coding and the ingenuity of a growing community Tomodo is now home to dozens of modded website. Everything from Time Magazine to Ebay is altered. Are they any good though? Maybe you could do better.

Mods Everywhere

I’m not much of a programmer so I was more attracted to the community’s mods rather than the prospect of actually making one myself. If these mods were actually good and useful then maybe they could change how I use my favourite websites.

Some of the publicly available mods on Tomodo

Some of the publicly available mods on Tomodo

My first choice was Time Magazine’s website mod and I was not impressed. It didn’t work. All I got was a grey screen. Some instructions in the modders descriptions alluded to ‘swiping’ to change page. Maybe it was for smartphones.

So I checked it out on my Android smartphone to only limited success. A web page loaded but wouldn’t respond to even my most aggressive of swiping.

Happily, not all the mods are this bad. TechCrunch Swipe offers a great version of the TC website that works brilliantly. You simply swipe to left or right to navigate between full articles sourced straight from the TC blog.

Bitcoin price displayed alongside US

Bitcoin price displayed alongside US

Fans of Bitcoin (the Web’s controversial crypto-currency) will be happy with the Ebay/Bitcoin mod. This slight adjustment to the auction site displays the Bitcoin price of an item against the USD value. Values are updated live from Mt.Gox Bitcoin Exchange.

My favourite mod is the IMDB with Rotten Tomatoes mod. It displays the Rotten Tomatoes review score of a film alongside the IMDB review. It’s a super helpful feature for any film fans.

Tomodo toolbar allows you to comment or edit a mod

Tomodo toolbar allows you to comment or edit a mod

When viewing a mod directly from the Tomodo website, their toolbar will be along the bottom of your browser window. It’s unobtrusive and allows you to discuss the mod with other users via the comments section. You can also use it to view the page’s source code, switch to the unmodified version or open up the code editor so you can create your own version of the mod.

Making Mods

Any programmers reading this are likely wondering about the process of creating a mod and hosting it on Tomodo. The first step is pretty simple; signing up, which can be done via email or a few social network accounts such as Twitter or Facebook.

You’ll have a ‘Modder’ account which you can customise. Your profile page displays all your mods and an avatar.

Choose a website to mod

Choose a website to mod

To get started all you do is enter the URL of the website you want to mod.

The code editor is pretty simple and allows you to paste in your Javascript elements or CSS code, both of which have their own separate tabs. Some basic code describing the website you’ve chosen to mod will also be generated.

Simple CSS/Javascript editor with some options to the left

Simple CSS/Javascript editor with some options to the left

Aside from editing the code you can change the mysite.tomdedo.me URL to something more fitting and upload a cover image for the mod. This image will appear on the Tomedo home screen.

The editor is lacking in some respects however and can, in some instances, hamper modding a website. For example, removing items like images from a website must be done through CSS as you cannot simply remove HTML code because it isn’t displayed in the editor. I would also note that Tomodo is lacking a visual web editor (WYSIWYG) for less experienced users.

Tomodo Community

Although usage is evidently increasing, Tomodo remains largely unheard of. This limits the availability of mods quite a bit. If and when things do get busier at Tomodo they’ll need to include a search function, a feature currently not present on the site. For now you must simply scroll through whatever mods there currently are. For modding questions there is an external help forum linked to via their homepage which is used for questions and suggesting new features.

Final Thoughts

I think the idea behind Tomedo is inspired. There are dedicated modding communities for just about every other tech segment out there such as video games, programs and mobile apps. For websites you had to own one to mod it.

They’re also currently releasing their API in closed beta so they can improve the editing platform. You can gain access via their Twitter account.

Right now, most of the mods on Tomedo are simplistic. There are ambitious attempts to mod Facebook but they simply don’t work. Hopefully we’ll start to see a greater number of mods coming to fruition. So, what are you waiting for? Get modding!


Summary

Tomedo is a publishing platform for modified websites. It has a code editor and user profiles. Check out dozens of popular websites that have been modded such as eBay and Tech Crunch.

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