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Take back the web with Adblock Plus

Tuesday, 4 September 2007 adblock firefox other

Completely customise your browsing experience with complete and utter ease. Remove any page-clutter and any adverts with just 4 clicks.

Firefox has already improved the internet more than, I think, any other browser could claim credit for and not just for its own users. It has raised the bar for browsers, making features like tabbing, following standards and extensibility popular. It’s amazing how much effect Firefox has had on other browsers and the way designers and developers create for the internet.

One of the best features of Firefox has to be its add-on engine. It effectively and quickly allows you to take your brand-new browser and mould it into doing whatever you like. For me this means I can debug web-pages, change CSS on the fly and see how things really look before committing changes. But there is one plug-in that really makes a tangible difference to my daily online life: Adblock Plus.

Adblock Plus

On its own, ABP allows you to block images and scripts with precision. Pure and simply, it allows you to block items off a page that are of no interest to you. That alone is powerful but it doesn’t change that much. You still see the same pages just without their adverts.

There are free subscription lists allowing you to take out the most popular adverts around the web including all the major advertising agencies ads and some of the more affluent publisher’s adverts too. But depending on how adverts are nested into a design, blocking them can break things. Advert blocking rules also don’t help against page elements that aren’t external adverts but are equally annoying.

But this plug-in has a plug-in: Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper. This allows you to target regions of the page using the powerful Document Object Model and CSS-selectors and hide them. What’s even better is that you don’t need to know anything about DOM or CSS to do it. It’s ultra-simple. Here’s a short demo:

The point I’m making is that nothing is safe from element hiding. You can target anything with as much precision as you like.

I should add that this is isn’t an exclusive Adblock feature. You can code your own stylesheets or javascript to override page styles and do the same thing but nothing else makes it as easy as with Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper. It allows even the most novice user to customise the sites they visit and make their browsing experience as enjoyable as they want.

To me, this re-instils why Firefox is the best browser there is.