Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Subscription downloads refactoring · 2013-07-17 15:25 by Wladimir Palant

A large batch of changes landed in Adblock Plus for Firefox as well as Adblock Plus for Chrome and Opera. These implement most of the proposal to simplify subscription downloads (updating documentation still outstanding) and part of the proposal to improve forward compatibility of filters. For users, nothing should change — subscriptions should update as usually and manual subscription updates should work as they did before. There is a bunch of changes for subscription authors however:

  • HTTP headers that were previously considered by Adblock Plus no longer are, special comments are now the only way to tell Adblock Plus something. All special comments have the format ! Foo: bar and won’t appear in the list of filters (previously this was inconsistent).
  • There is a new special comment: ! Version: 1234 (must be a number). We might use it for incremental downloads later, at the moment this is only there to allow distinct versions of filter lists that can be part of the issue reporter data for example (will be implemented soon).
  • The special comment ! Redirect: foo no longer needs a day to take effect, Adblock Plus will rather try to download from the new location immediately. Any filters in a filter list containing this comment are ignored.
  • The special comment ! Expires: foo can no specify any update interval between 1 hour and 14 days. If this comment is missing or invalid, the new default value is 5 days.
  • When Adblock Plus downloads the filter subscription there will be additional parameters added to the URL of the request: addonName (normally “adblockplus”, “adblockpluschrome” or “adblockplusopera”), addonVersion (version of the add-on), application (e.g. “firefox” or “chrome”) and lastVersion (last version that was downloaded by this client). This allows serving different data to different clients if there are serious compatibility issues that cannot be resolved by other means.

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