Suggestions to significantly improve ABP 3.0.2

Various discussions related to Adblock Plus development

Suggestions to significantly improve ABP 3.0.2

Postby cjsmall » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:02 pm

The user interface to the revised ABP is considerably inferior to the old pre-quantum UI. The following things need to be improved to make this a reasonable tool.

1: Provide keyboard shortcuts to initiate the block element feature, cancel selection (<Esc>), and perform all other tasks without having to access the pop-up menu. This is critical, not only for efficiency, but because a) the pop-up menu blocks elements on the page and is a pain to have to dismiss, and b) there are pop-up site elements that disappear when the mouse is moved to access the ABP menu and you can not get them redisplayed while ABP selection is in force.

2: Add the ability to 'w'iden and 'n'arrow the element selection. Right now, you can typically only access the innermost of stacked elements (whole screen overlays are but one good example) and it takes 2, 3, or 4 consecutive attempts to finally block the offending element. With 'w' and 'n' options as we once had, this could quickly be done in a single step.

3: The yellow highlight does not align with the element being selected. It is positioned shifted to the right of the element which is confusing. What was wrong with the old outline method?

4: Bring back the keyboard shortcut to blink or otherwise mark all effected elements; something which can be used prior to committing to the block.

5: Provide an immediate undo option (with keyboard shortcut) to restore the last blocked element.

6: The ability to edit the block list is inconvenient to access and hard to use. It provides no integrated search or sorting mechanisms. A decent editor should work like Firefox's about:config page, allowing sub-selection display based upon what is typed into the search field. And to eliminate editing mistakes, it should be possible to select whole elements in the list and then delete them as a unit rather than relying upon highlight/backspace which is easy to get wrong, messing up the database.

7: The Adblock tab in the Inspector window is pretty useless as it doesn't allow decent interaction with the page being viewed. You can click on an element and get it displayed in a new window, but it would be much better to see it highlighted in context on the screen. If something more interactive cannot be provided using the inspector, then a separate pop-up window, as seen in the old UI, should be provided.

8: There is a pervasive problem where you choose "Block element" and select something, only to get a pop-up dialog that is empty. Cancel and repeat the same steps and this might happen again, but eventually the element will be identified and displayed. This is very annoying.

9: ABP element blocking does not work (the option does not even appear in the menu) on a number of sites. Facebook is one of them. This used to work in the old version.

10: On sites where ABP element blocking generally works, there are element where it does not. I have seen pop-up notices on sites that are not recognized by ABP while other element are. I do not remember these sites, but will report them here when I run across them again.

Hopefully the UI can be improved with some or all of these suggestions.
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Re: Suggestions to significantly improve ABP 3.0.2

Postby greiner » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:06 am

Thanks for this extensive summary. I've shared your post with a couple people within our team and at least some of those requests are already on our radar:

1. Issue 8 to provide shortcuts (yet to be populated)
2. Issue 12 to provide the ability to select any parent element
4. Issue 12 to also provide a "live preview of changes"
6. Issue 15 to provide a sortable, searchable and editable list of filters (issue also includes a link to a prototype)


And addressing your other points…

3. There's nothing wrong with the old code. It's just that we can't use it anymore in any newer Firefox versions since its Quantum release because Firefox removed support for all existing extensions in favor of Chrome-like extensions.

5. You mean a shortcut that removes all filters that you previously added via the "Block element" feature?

7. I assume you're referring to the "Blockable items list" which allowed you to see which element on the page corresponds to a particular request. We can no longer access this kind of information in the newer Firefox versions so, as far as I'm aware of, bringing this feature back is currently not possible.

9. Unfortunately, I can't reproduce this issue. Is "old version" referring to the pre-Quantum Firefox version (i.e. 2.9.x) or the previous version (i.e. 3.0.1)?


Finally, regarding the issues you mentioned in (3), (8) and (9) it'd be great if you could provide us with more details such as browser version, web page address and instructions on how we can reproduce it. Screenshots may also be helpful.
As you suggested, any further information about the issue you mentioned in (10) would be great.
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Re: Suggestions to significantly improve ABP 3.0.2

Postby cjsmall » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:47 am

3. There's nothing wrong with the old code. It's just that we can't use it anymore in any newer Firefox versions since its Quantum release because Firefox removed support for all existing extensions in favor of Chrome-like extensions.


Yes, I understand that. The highlighting is OK, but the shifting from the element location is somewhat confusing. See the following image:

http://smallthoughts.com/photos/misc/adblock_01.jpg

5. You mean a shortcut that removes all filters that you previously added via the "Block element" feature?


Occasionally, I block an element and then scroll up on the page to find out that something else important that wasn't visible has been eliminated as well. I'd like to type something like Ctrl-Z (probably something else not in use by the browser!) that would be recognized by ABP and immediately undo that last addition. Right now I have to perform a painful manual edit on the content to locate and eliminate that last addition -- and sometimes it multiple elements, which makes the task even more problematic. A quick undo feature would be a real plus.

7. I assume you're referring to the "Blockable items list" which allowed you to see which element on the page corresponds to a particular request. We can no longer access this kind of information in the newer Firefox versions so, as far as I'm aware of, bringing this feature back is currently not possible.


Understood. Anything that would make the interface more visual and interactive would be helpful.

9. Unfortunately, I can't reproduce this issue. Is "old version" referring to the pre-Quantum Firefox version (i.e. 2.9.x) or the previous version (i.e. 3.0.1)?


I was referring to the pre-Quantum version. I used to be able to block anything I wanted on Facebook. Now the Block element option doesn't even appear in the ABP menu. Are you seeing the option and able to block items in FB? I'm on Firefox 59.0.2, but this has been the situation ever since the ABP revision. There are a couple of other sites where I've seen the same problem, but I don't recall specifically which ones. See the following image:

http://smallthoughts.com/photos/misc/adblock_03.jpg

Regarding item 8: I cannot find an example on demand. However, I will screenshot the next time it happens and will provide a link to the image in a future comment.

Thanks for looking into all of this.
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Re: Suggestions to significantly improve ABP 3.0.2

Postby cjsmall » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:43 pm

Back regarding item #8.

See this image:

http://smallthoughts.com/photos/misc/adblock_02.jpg

I visited the following page:

https://atlassociety.org/objectivism/at ... -socialism

and tried to block the element seen in the image. Three times I tried to block it and I got the empty pop-up seen here, requiring me to cancel the operation. (I've previously tried to "Add" from these empty pop-ups and nothing happens.) On the forth attempt Adblock finally identified and reported the element and I was selecting, as seen in the lower image, and I was able to block it.

This happens often, but not all the time. I can see no pattern.
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Re: Suggestions to significantly improve ABP 3.0.2

Postby mapx » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:49 pm

Just drag out the right bottom corner of the window (expand it) ===> you'll see the content (filter)

It's FF bug / issue
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Re: Suggestions to significantly improve ABP 3.0.2

Postby cjsmall » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:51 pm

One more suggestion:

11: If it's not doing so already, could Adblock be registered to sync the blocking database among browsers? This might be difficult as it would require merging additions from the various syncing copies of the DB while eliminating later deletions. The only way that immediately comes to mind would be to time stamp the entries and mark/retain the deletions until a sync operation, after which they could be removed. This would also preclude manually editing the DB, instead requiring a tool to mark and properly handle deletions.
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Re: Suggestions to significantly improve ABP 3.0.2

Postby cjsmall » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:52 pm

Just drag out the right bottom corner of the window (expand it) ===> you'll see the content (filter)


Thanks. That's very good to know.
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