Why you will always have a choice to switch off Acceptable Ads, and why you shouldn’t - an opinion piece · 2016-12-14 14:46 by Björn Loesing
The advertising business in general has gone down the wrong rabbit hole. It’s all about getting clicks. To find out why the Acceptable Ads initiative is the most sensible choice despite all of this, read more in this personal opinion piece.
Adblock Plus 2.8.2 for Firefox released · 2016-11-22 18:17 by Wladimir Palant
This is a maintenance release, most importantly introducing some improvements to CSS property filters.
- Made sure that element hiding rules don’t affect browser’s and extensions’ special pages, this regressed with Adblock Plus 2.8 (issue 4624, issue 4625).
- Fixed blockable items list slowing down page loading (issue 4587).
- Pop-ups using
data:URLs and similar unusual schemes can be blocked now (issue 4368).
- When selecting keyboard shortcuts, more shortcut keys already in use by the browser can be recognized. This will change the shortcut key to show Blockable items list from Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-V to Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-U for pretty much everybody (issue 4544).
CSS property matching improvements · 2016-11-14 13:05 by Felix Dahlke
About a year ago, we introduced CSS property filters as a means of hiding elements based on their styles. Today, we have landed two improvements to this:
Case insensitive matching
This is a change in semantics; CSS properties will now always be matched in a case insensitive manner, to make it consistent with the way Adblock Plus matches URLs. This is unlikely to result in undesired behaviour as there shouldn’t be many use cases for case sensitive property matching.
Regular expression matching
Until now, CSS properties could only be matched using the simple URL matching syntax, which made it difficult to match property values in a fine-grained manner. To address this, properties can now optionally be matched using regular expressions. The default matching behaviour is still the same, to use regular expressions, a matching expression needs to start and end with
/, for example:
These improvements are available in Adblock Plus for Firefox as of 220.127.116.1129 and Adblock Plus for Chrome and Opera as of 18.104.22.1682, and will presumably be released with the next stable version on each platform respectively.
Please note that we still consider CSS property filters an experimental feature, and therefore subject to change. Considering this, and the fact that CSS property filters are slower than regular element hiding rules, they should only be used as a last resort.
Adblock Plus 2.8.1 for Firefox released · 2016-10-28 14:37 by Wladimir Palant
Our Adblock Plus 2.8 release introduced a regression that went unnoticed for months in the development builds. Users who activated the please_kill_startup_performance preference were experiencing data loss: filters didn’t load completely. Also, importing custom filters was failing for large files. Both issues have the same root cause (issue 4576) and have been resolved in Adblock Plus 2.8.1. If your data is still incomplete after updating to Adblock Plus 2.8.1 please click the “Backup and Restore” button in Filter Preferences — one of the automatically created backups is certain to be correct.
Adblock Plus 2.8 for Firefox released · 2016-10-25 12:38 by Wladimir Palant
This release changes the way element hiding works in Firefox, so that noticeable delays from changing a single element hiding rule should be no more. Also, the behavior should be more consistent now and filters not applying on a particular website should no longer be able to cause unexpected side-effects. On the downside, changes to element hiding rules will only apply after a page is reloaded now (which is actually consistent with blocking rules).
- There is a special
$websockettype option now to block WebSocket requests, the type was previously considered to be
- Our toolbar icon will look better on high-resolution screens (issue 4142).
- Removed feature selection from the first-run page until the features can be removed similarly easily (issue 4294).
- Hits for CSS property filters which were introduced in the previous release are being counted now (issue 3969).
- Fixed: CSS property filters applied even when Adblock Plus was disabled everywhere (issue 4201).
- Fixed: A regression in pop-up blocking functionality caused websites to be mistakenly considered pop-ups under some circumstances (issue 4335).
- Corrected handling of frames with
- Fixed and improved search functionality in Filter Preferences, was partially broken in Firefox nightly builds (issue 4510).
New element hiding approach in Firefox · 2016-10-10 15:46 by Wladimir Palant
Traditionally, element hiding on Firefox worked quite differently from all other platforms supported by Adblock Plus. Rather than decide on the filters for each website individually, all element hiding rules would be written into a single
elemhide.css stylesheet file that would apply to all websites unconditionally. This approach had a few disadvantages:
- The global stylesheet could not consider exceptions, such as websites where a particular rule should not apply — we had to implement a complicated mechanism to make sure that the rule didn’t have any effect in such cases, and on some websites there still were side-effects.
- Changing a single element hiding rule caused the global stylesheet to apply again to all open tabs, this could cause significant delays.
- With multiprocess Firefox coming up and sandboxing enabled on some platforms, we could no longer rely on being able to access that file.
Luckily, Firefox implemented better mechanisms to apply stylesheets to documents a while ago and as of Adblock Plus 22.214.171.12406-beta development build we are now taking full advantage of these. We will now make a separate decision for each website, which (if any) element hiding rules should apply. And we don’t sacrifice performance for that because the majority of element hiding rules will go into a preloaded stylesheet with all the rules which apply unconditionally.
There are a few drawbacks here:
- New element hiding rules will no longer apply immediately, just like blocking rules they now require the document to be reloaded (can actually be seen as a good thing because consistent). This also affects Element Hiding Helper extension which will need to be updated.
- We are no longer able to count hits for element hiding exception rules (issue 4509). We simply don’t know any more whether the rule that the exception applies to would have matched anything.
- Element hiding rules apply with a slight delay which in theory might cause some ads being shown and then flashing out. In practice, I haven’t seen this yet.
This is a huge change to the inner workings of Adblock Plus and while we tested it quite thoroughly some issues are expected — let us know if you notice any.
New filter type option for WebSockets · 2016-09-21 14:30 by Wladimir Palant
Starting with Adblock Plus 1.12.2 for Chrome, Opera and Safari we can block connections initiated via WebSockets on all major platforms (this functionality was available on Firefox since the very start). However, we didn’t have a special type for these requests as these were listed with type “other” instead. The assumption was that the protocol
wss:// would be sufficient for filter list authors in order to target WebSocket connections specifically. However, we received feedback that this wasn’t the case.
So with the current development builds (Adblock Plus 126.96.36.19902 for Firefox and Adblock Plus 188.8.131.525 for Google Chrome, Opera and Safari) WebSocket connections are listed with the new type “websocket.” Consequently, filters can be made to target such connections specifically by adding
$websocket type option. Existing filters will have to be duplicated for now:
This syntax will support both new and old Adblock Plus versions as long as the versions without support for the “websocket” type are still common (these will ignore the first filter).
Edit (2016-09-22): This post was originally suggesting specifying both
other options on one filter. This approach will not work in Adblock Plus versions without support for the
websocket option because filters with unknown options are ignored.
Clearing up some things from this week! · 2016-09-16 17:37 by Rachel Brochado
There has been a lot of misinformation floating around these past few days about Adblock Plus and Acceptable Ads and the Acceptable Ads Platform, so let us try and clear up the most common ones.
Adblock Plus 2.7.3 for Firefox released · 2016-04-27 14:32 by Wladimir Palant
This release adds support for the experimental CSS properties syntax to Adblock Plus for Firefox (issue 2401, issue 3955). This support isn’t complete yet, most important issue being that hits are not counted for CSS properties filters (issue 3969).
- Fixed issues that Adblock Plus could potentially cause on Firefox startup (issue 2850).
- Some first-run page optimizations (issue 2668, issue 1292, issue 3736, issue 3814).
- Cleaned up internal messaging approach (issue 3499, issue 3851, issue 3853).
Adblock Plus 2.7.2 for Firefox released · 2016-02-23 16:42 by Wladimir Palant
- Closed a pop-up blocking loophole misused by some websites (issue 3568).
- Fixed tooltip display for very long filters (issue 1950).