Adblock Plus for Google Chrome to be released soon · 2010-12-15 18:52 by Wladimir Palant
For a while my official position on Adblock Plus for non-Gecko browsers read like this:
Forget it, I am not writing Adblock Plus from scratch just to support your favorite browser (be it Chrome or Safari or Opera or Internet Explorer). And even if somebody gives me the code — I am not going to maintain two unrelated projects. This asks for an independent project and in fact, there are already independent projects to implement ad blocking for all of these browsers.
As you can read from this, the frequent requests to port Adblock Plus to <insert your favorite browser here> got quite annoying. Still, it is time to change this position, we are starting to look into ways to cover other browsers than Firefox and SeaMonkey. And we are starting with Google Chrome, a beta version of Adblock Plus for Google Chrome is scheduled to be released soon. I’ll try to give answers to some questions that you are certainly urging to ask.
What changed now, why are you doing that?
The declared goal of the Adblock Plus project is changing the internet as a whole and putting users back in control. We came to the realization that while Firefox is and stays very important being restricted to only one major browser limits our options too much. We continue to consider partnering with other ad blocking projects but these projects have very different goals that are difficult to align with ours. This very clearly manifests itself in the configuration capabilities that these extensions offer: there are typically only rudimentary configuration options, the focus is instead on reusing filter lists that have been created for Adblock Plus. The result is that contributing back to the filter lists is only possible for Adblock Plus users, users of other extensions are lost for our community.
Why start with Chrome and not Internet Explorer?
Internet Explorer with its still very significant market share would be a primary target — if it had a usable extension support. Unfortunately, not much has changed in the three years since my blog post on this topic, creating an ad blocker for Internet Explorer is still an ugly and very complicated business. We have some ideas but it will take a while to implement those.
Did you write a new Chrome extension from scratch?
No. We were talking to Tom Joseph, the developer of AdThwart. He didn’t have time to continue AdThwart development so he agreed to hand over the project to us which we will continue under a new name (Adblock Plus for Google Chrome) while keeping the existing users. So we get to start with an existing and relatively small codebase which already reuses parts of the Adblock Plus source code. And we win Tom Joseph as a contributor.
What has been done already? What is planned?
I have to state first: Chrome’s extension system has severe limitations, so we won’t be able to create an exact equivalent of Adblock Plus for Firefox. However, there is still much we can improve to make Adblock Plus for Chrome behave more similar to the Firefox version. What has been done so far:
- Extension has been rebranded into “Adblock Plus for Google Chrome (Beta)”.
- The source code has been made available under the Mozilla Public License 1.1, code parts that couldn’t be relicensed were either removed or rewritten.
- A mechanism to automatically rewrite Adblock Plus source code has been created to make that code suitable for Chrome. The one year old Adblock Plus code in AdThwart has been updated and should stay in sync with current Adblock Plus development now.
- A few minor issues have been fixed to make Adblock Plus for Chrome behave more consistently (most importantly: it will work correctly with XHTML documents now).
We want to release Adblock Plus for Chrome with these changes and continue with other changes then:
- Make it reuse more of the Adblock Plus core code, especially to make it match Adblock Plus behavior more closely.
- Block more advertisement downloads that are currently only being hidden.
- Remove known inconsistencies and shortcomings where possible.
- Redesign the user interface along the lines of what is planned for Adblock Plus 1.4.
I also expect development builds to be available soon so that you can test drive these changes before they are officially released and give us your feedback.
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