Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Year 2013 in retrospect · 2013-12-31 10:17 by Wladimir Palant

The year is coming to an end, this is a good time to look back at what we’ve achieved. We’ve founded Eyeo more than two years ago but getting things rolling always takes time. Before September last year we still had only two developers and could do little more than maintaining the existing code base. And it wasn’t until 2013 that the new developers got up to speed and could contribute significantly to our projects. Here is an incomplete and subjective list of what we’ve achieved this year:

  • Adblock Plus for Internet Explorer is clearly the most impressive achievement. Most importantly, we didn’t simply reimplement everything we had but managed to reuse the code that is powering Adblock Plus for Firefox and Chrome. As a result, we now have an Adblock Plus library that allows embedding Adblock Plus code in environments where we cannot easily run JavaScript. As of now, this library is also used by Adblock Plus for Android which was previously using custom (and fairly complicated) code to achieve the same goal.
  • With Facebook Customizer and YouTube Customizer we’ve started some nice experiments to simplify using Adblock Plus for purposes other than blocking ads. This functionality was always there but only few people knew how to use it.
  • We’ve redesigned our website which was a more challenging task than one would expect. Particularly support for Internet Explorer 6 was very tricky.
  • We created Adblock Plus for Opera – and scrapped it again because Opera suddenly decided to switch browser engines. And then we created another Adblock Plus for Opera because extensions for Chrome wouldn’t quite work in Opera despite it using the same browser engine.
  • The redesign of the Adblock Plus user interface has started. Previously I made several fairly unsuccessful attempts to make Adblock Plus easier to use for non-technical users. This time it looks like we are on the right way. As of now, the first-run page and the icon’s pop-up (in Chrome and Opera) have been redesigned.
  • The project infrastructure that was previously breaking apart (a single server handling everything) is now stable. We already moved many tasks to single-purpose servers that are configured via Puppet meaning that we can easily set up redundant servers or replace a failing server. Right now we have 22 such single-purpose servers running, most of them serving out filter lists for Adblock Plus. The configuration files behind it have been open-sourced recently.
  • The acceptable ads initiative made great progress this year. We finally have the capacities to process all incoming submissions timely and managed to add lots of websites using acceptable advertising.
  • We managed to win several volunteer contributors by making our developers better reachable to outside contributors. This is more than what I’ve achieved in five years of being solely responsible for Adblock Plus.

Some tasks are still in progress:

  • Adblock Plus for Safari sadly wasn’t released yet, there are still a few blocking issues. At least the most important one was fixed now: Apple released fixes for Safari 6.1 and 7.0, this resolves an issue that made Adblock Plus mostly useless.
  • Several important fixes for Adblock Plus for Internet Explorer are in the pipeline, in particular properly supporting Windows 8.1 was a continuous struggle. It seems that this time we nailed it and these issues will soon be no longer.
  • We’ve created a simple system to manage content on our websites in multiple languages. Eyeo website will relaunch shortly based on the new system, and the goal is to replace Anwiki on adblockplus.org soon. Website translations will happen on Crowdin then, same as translations for our extensions.
  • An issue tracker will be set up soon to simplify collaboration, this work is done and merely waiting for my review.
  • Our Mercurial server should be migrated to RhodeCode soon which will simplify server management significantly. Also, this will allow us to have both Git and Mercurial repositories on the server. Many thanks to poz2k4444 for his help here.
  • We want to make the processing of submissions for acceptable ads list more transparent soon. Currently this is only waiting for an appropriate technical solution.

I am looking forward to what we manage to do in year 2014!

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Comment [1]

  1. Mark Wege · 2014-01-03 01:20 · #

    I love the new customizers. Is there any possibility to create one for Spiegel Online. It would be cool, if it was possible to remove articles from certain authors (e.g. Jan Fleischhauer) or certain news categories like sport or panorama.

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