Back in of 2020, my school used a few online learning platforms that allowed professors/teachers to assign homework to students. I, as a lazy developer, wanted to spend more time playing games and writing code, especially when everyone was spending their time at home because of lockdown. I started writing this post in January of 2022, but I put off publicizing it for a while. It has been long enough since this all happened, so please sit back and enjoy.
Let's set the scene. 2018, my school introduces a new online homework platform for students. It's called HegartyMaths and it does a lot. It's fairly simple, teachers choose a topic to set for us as homework, with that we get a 10-15 minute tutorial/informational video on the subject (of which we have to write down notes whilst watching) and a shortish quiz to complete after finishing the video. It's a lot of work, especially the quiz, and in the worst cases can take up to an hour to complete one topic (bad).
Software engineers are naturally lazy individuals. Sure, some get up at 3:30am and go for a "light" 2 hour run in Silicon Valley (before stopping to get their Cloudy Toffee and Caramel Iced Frappe Latte with sprinkles and extra cream and sugar from Philz Coffee), but most of us are lazy. Homework then, naturally, is an arduous task. So, still 2018, myself and a close friend of mine by the name of Scott Hiett decided to do something about the Hegarty situation. We started to reverse engineer the frontend app and eventually came up with a Tampermonkey userscript that would glitch the embedded YouTube player to say that we've watched the video at least 1x. Cruically, our teachers could see how many times we've watched the video, so being able to skip up to 20 minutes of homework time was especially useful – and it was a lot of fun to build too.