Adblock Plus and (a little) more

How are supported applications chosen for Adblock Plus? · 2010-02-11 19:30 by Wladimir Palant

It is time to formalize how I choose which applications/application versions to support in Adblock Plus. There are several categories here:

  1. Applications with very high user numbers (particularly with high numbers of users testing Adblock Plus development builds): that’s currently only Firefox. Supporting multiple application versions is possible, bugs will usually be caught by the community before an Adblock Plus release. Still, once a Firefox version gets close to end-of-life (Mozilla will no longer ship security updates) its user numbers drop considerably and it gets harder to get Adblock Plus properly tested there. Which is one reason why I am targeting mostly the versions supported by Mozilla (currently Firefox 3.5 and 3.6) and drop support for outdated versions eventually (Firefox 3.0 support is currently being phased out).
  2. Popular Mozilla-based applications: that’s currently Thunderbird and SeaMonkey. Here the idea is to support the versions that correspond with supported Firefox versions (that’s currently Thunderbird 3.0 and SeaMonkey 2.0 which both correspond to Firefox 3.5). However, if two versions are very different and supporting both is complicated I will most likely support only the latest version — any complicated solution is error-prone which is dangerous given that Adblock Plus is less tested with these applications.
  3. Applications with trivial porting effort: that’s Songbird and Prism currently, supporting them basically requires adding an overlay file. Only latest version will be supported, more applications (like Wyzo) can be added if somebody asks me to — but it certainly speeds things up if that somebody starts with the implementation. And it is of course essential that users of that application report bugs, otherwise broken functionality will simply go unnoticed.
  4. Applications with high porting effort: e.g. Fennec and K-Meleon, their user interface requires a very different approach. The rule here: I’m not going to do it. If you want them supported you should give me some code. And even then I will think twice whether I want be the one to maintain it.
  5. Applications not based on Mozilla’s Gecko engine: 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.

Just a reminder: Adblock Plus source code is open for everybody and I am happily accepting patches.


Comment [8]

  1. kk · 2010-02-11 22:30 · #

    are you planning/is it possible, to move ABP to jetpack? as mozilla maybe wants to move the developers to jetpack.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    1) No, moving Adblock Plus to Jetpack isn’t possible at the moment. Jetpack as it is now is only suitable for the most simple extensions.
    2) No, “classic” extensions are not going away any time soon. You shouldn’t believe everything you read on Slashdot.
    3) Moving anything to Jetpack now wouldn’t make much sense because Mozilla is going to rebuild Jetpack from scratch, with an entirely different API and everything. Jetpack is only an experiment after all.

  2. Matt · 2010-02-19 10:32 · #

    Hi Wladimir,

    thank you very much for your support for K-Meleon 1.1.x and 1.5.x so far.
    I hope you will eventually support K-Meleon 1.6 when it comes to final release


    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Yes, somebody mentioned already that usable K-Meleon builds are around again. I’ll try to find time to update my K-Meleon code eventually (though it would certainly speed things up if somebody else did that).

  3. David · 2010-02-24 01:34 · #

    Why phase out support for Firefox 3.0? The newer versions perform horribly when it comes to multimedia sites. I have no intention of ever going back to any of the newer builds. Don’t cave into those idiots at mozilla who change things just for the sake of change.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The newer versions (especially Firefox 3.6) actually perform much better. If they don’t for you, I suggest you ask at or, with their help you should be able to narrow down the problem (most likely one of your installed extensions).

    But that’s not really the point. Support for Firefox 3.0 is running out, 3.0.19 will most likely be the last release on that branch. After that you will be stuck with a browser with known and unpatched security issues. And then you will have much bigger problems than having to use an older version of Adblock Plus.

    Oh, in case you are interested: Firefox 3.5 and 3.6 fixed lots of bugs and added lots of new features for extension developers. As long as I keep supporting Firefox 3.0 I still have to work around these old bugs and I cannot use the new features. Reason enough not to support old browser versions much longer than Mozilla.

  4. EP · 2010-04-11 19:57 · #

    responding to Matt’s comments on ABP on K-meleon, ABP for KM 1.1.x/1.5.x can also be found here on the K-meleon Extensions “Privacy & Security” page:
    (it’s v1.0.1 though and packaged in a .7z file but it’s very stable)

    you may want to inspect the contents of that adblockplus.7z file there, Wladimir.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I would rather recommend installing version 1.0.2 from The point is that the newer Adblock Plus versions can no longer support K-Meleon because it continues to use an ancient Gecko version. Who knows when K-Meleon 1.6 comes out…

  5. EP · 2010-06-30 07:53 · #

    Firefox 4.0 Beta 1 and Seamonkey 2.1 alpha 2 will be coming out soon. So the Adblock Plus extension will need to be revised to work with those browsers.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I suggest you check first – the compatibility info is already updated. Right now Adblock Plus is marked as compatible with Firefox 4.0b2pre and SeaMonkey 2.1a3.

  6. mark13 · 2010-07-19 20:08 · #

    just thinking… not supporting others browsers like Opera and Chrome can be lost an opportunity to build a business in browser adblock security. You already have millions of users, you just need a help to build a business around it – and could be open source too like Automattic (Wordpress) or free of charge like XMarks. Think about it! See you.

  7. MarkG · 2010-11-03 20:23 · #

    Opera already has a mighty good Adblocker built in.

  8. EP · 2010-11-15 21:17 · #

    get over it, mark13. if the author of adblock plus doesn’t want to support non-mozilla based browsers like Chrome, IE, Safari and Opera, he’s not obliged to do so. it’s his choice, not yours.

    anyways, there are other ad-blocker addons out there on the web (AdThwart for google chrome for example) that can work for non-mozilla based web browsers. you just have to find them and use them.

Commenting is closed for this article.