Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Goodbye development builds · 2020-09-03 00:10 by Sebastian Noack

tl;dr

We are no longer providing signed and updated development builds for Adblock Plus. But if you want to try out the latest features you can use the unsigned builds from GitLab CI, they won’t automatically update and might get disabled as you restart your browser though.

How did we get here?

End of 2019, the Chrome Webstore began to manually review each submission with delays varying from days to months. Also the Chrome Webstore refuses new submissions while there is a pending submission in review. This just doesn’t work for a continuous release channel like our development builds. As a consequence our development builds on the Chrome Webstore became useless.

But what about Firefox?

Only a small subset of our users are on Firefox nowadays, hence the number of development build users on Firefox became vanishingly small. Moreover, providing development builds for Firefox has been a challenge recently, as Mozilla changed the distribution method twice in two years. So at this point, there isn’t much incentive to keep up a complex development build infrastructure for Firefox only. We apologize to our few remaining development build users on Firefox.

How to test upcoming changes?

For our own QA we moved to testing the unsigned builds generated by our CI. There are some caveats but at least we are in control of the builds, and the builds are available instantly.

For users who want to try out the latest features, our development builds have not been very useful recently. Most of the time our development builds contained the same code as our release builds, since new changes land in our development branch (next), and then make their way into our staging branch (master) and into our development builds as we start testing an upcoming release.

On the upside, this is no longer an issue with the builds from our CI as there are builds for each revision in every branch. On the downside, being distributed off-store those builds can only be installed in development mode, and don’t automatically update, which renders them rather unpractical for normal usage.

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Comment [1]

  1. lex · 2020-09-03 00:27 · #

    >Only a small subset of our users are on Firefox nowadays

    How did we get here? So sad

    Reply from Sebastian Noack:

    Since Adblock Plus started on Firefox, we have ported Adblock Plus to Chrome, and while Google Chrome (and other Chromium-based browsers) kept gaining market share, Firefox was losing market share. This is as well reflected in our user numbers.

    But don't worry, Adblock Plus for Firefox isn't going anywhere. We only discontinue the development builds.

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