I think too often the extensions and themes in the Mozilla realm might get more attention than the people behind them. With that said, I want to shed a little light on the people who make these things happen from both inside and outside of Mozilla. So where to start? How about with Wladimir Palant – the creator of Adblock Plus.
What is the difference between Adblock and Adblock Plus?
Well, usually that’s the point where I send people to the FAQ: http://adblockplus.org/en/faq_project#adblock
Adblock is very outdated, it hasn’t been updated for a while. There is a bunch of ways that web sites can detect Adblock, there is also a bunch of ways that web sites can prevent their ads from being blocked – no such security holes exist in Adblock Plus to my knowledge.
Adblock is full of UI inconsistencies, I tried to eliminate those as much as possible. One extremely important Adblock Plus feature is filter subscriptions – you can subscribe to a filter list maintained by somebody else and just forget about the ads. In Adblock you have to use Filterset.G Updater if you don’t want to write the filters yourself – not the perfect choice if compared to some subscriptions available for Adblock Plus. Finally, I put lots of effort into making Adblock Plus efficient and into avoiding website breakage – both points that were never considered in Adblock development.
That’s only the big differences I can give you off the top of my head.
Have you ever been approached by any of the advertising businesses offering to pay you briefcases full of money to stop what your doing?
LOL – No, I am not that important yet, the advertising industry cares very little about Adblock Plus. It is mostly owners of small websites who care – and suspect that they would earn millions if it weren’t for Adblock Plus. But those would never pay.
How much of your daily life has Adblock Plus taken over? Do you have time for other projects and work or is it Adblock on your mind 24/7?
I have my day job as well, you know? :)
I don’t have any constant amount of time per day that I spend on Adblock Plus. Sometimes I actually used to spend a few days on Adblock Plus only though mostly it wasn’t more than 2-3 hours per day. Recently however other things have taken over so that now I only spend maybe 4 hours on Adblock Plus per week – barely enough to maintain the project yet not enough to develop it further. I hope that I will have more time for it again soon.
As far as development goes, have you done all that can be done or are you still looking at improvements that can be made to the product for future releases?
I haven’t even started. There is very much that can be done. Something that I hope to see happen in the nearest future is a community-driven filter database that will allow classification of filters, and that in turn should allow users to choose which types of filters they want to subscribe to (e.g. graphical ads but not text ads). Something else that is in discussion is a set of rules for “acceptable advertising” and the ways how a “certification” of ad servers according to these rules can work – users would be able to configure Adblock Plus to not block these ads then.
What is the best way for normal everyday users to help with the development of Adblock Plus?
Testing Adblock Plus (also development builds) and reporting bugs is something where I can never get enough help. In particular testing in less popular applications (Songbird, K-Meleon etc) is where we have issues right now. Helping other users (forums) is another area where everybody can contribute.
I want to thank Wladimir Palant for taking time out to talk with me here, and please be sure to check out Adblock Plus if you haven’t done so already. I think if there was an extention hall of fame for Firefox – Wladimir’s contribution would definitely belong.