Adblock Plus

Any Firefox user probably knows how absolutely invaluable the Adblock extension (couple it with these filters and it’s doubtful that you’ll see an ad again) is, but it’s still missing some key features and development seems to have all but ceased – I haven’t seen a new version since I started using it and the last development news was posted in October 2003. Despite this it’s been one of my main reasons for sticking with Firefox over Safari, since I’ve yet to find another ad blocker with the same combination of simplicity and potency. It would get the occasional false positive that would make me pine for a whitelist and some annoying white space left behind that I couldn’t block would crop up occasionally, but the few ads I saw really didn’t bother me.

No more! I just came across Adblock Plus, a development branch straight from the community which adds those features that I wanted and should make it possible to block any ad. First of all, creating a new filter and prefixing it with “@@” will whitelist it so that anything matching that filter won’t be blocked, so that puts an end to the few false positives that I don’t want it to block.

The other important addition that I hadn’t seen in the official release is the ability to block divs, the subdivisions of a page used to apply different styles and properties to different sections. That eliminates the problem with white space being left where your blocked ads once were, as they’re almost always contained within their own div. There are other nice features like synchronisation so that you can keep your filters updated over the Net, but those two are the big ones that I’d wanted for ages.

It’s well worth checking out if you’re an Adblock user, and if you’re on Firefox and don’t have it I heartily recommend the download.

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