Purify Blocker

Simplest, fastest native blocker for Safari on iOS 9

Hi @ChrisAljoudi. Purify certainly looks very clean and simple - and the name really seems to imply blocking for the right reasons e.g. cutting out the bloat and inefficiencies of modern websites rather than purely being to cut out the ads - although that's no doubt what it does too. Can you tell us a little more about your blocker and how it stands out from the crowd? Where do you see it fitting on the complexity/flexibility scale when compared to some of the others like Crystal, Peace, 1Blocker, AdBlock etc.
@siburb Yes! Please tell us what's the difference with all these ad blockers
@siburb Hi! When we started designing Purify, we looked at the desires and attributes of the tens of millions of users whose web-browsing experience has been degraded by clutter and distractions. Like many things, those users’ skill levels form a bell-curve — from the beginners to the intermediate competent majority to the advanced users. We wanted to design a product that fulfills their needs comfortably without the burden of learning an unfamiliar paradigm. We believe that the best products aren’t ones that look or feel complex and sophisticated — but rather feel friendly and approachable while being seamlessly powered by sophisticated and advanced mechanisms. Purify development started off with an extensive survey of ad networks and the top 100 mobile sites — that’s how the blocking lists are designed. Unlike other blockers, Purify doesn’t reuse lists from desktop blockers (such as EasyList or Ghostery’s list). That data is then used to hand-craft an optimal list that is specifically optimized for iOS performance. Beyond Purify’s exclusive made-for-mobile list, Purify is also intelligent about combining the user’s preferences into the format Safari understands — performing optimizations that result in better performance for all the different user configurations (the whitelisted sites, blocked resource types, etc.) Purify included effortless whitelisting right from the start — and a lot of work was done to make it as seamless as possible. The user never has to leave Safari to whitelist a site, and the changes in preferences are instant. It’s very intuitive, straightforward, and organized, which was done to make it accessible and easy-to-digest for all users — not just the more experienced ones. I hope that gives you some insight into how Purify was designed and why it’s quite different from other blockers!
@ChrisAljoudi nice job! I know you're the maintainer for uBlock as well- how much of your work with that was transferable to this context?
@krrishd My biggest role in uBlock was developing the Safari port — and it was quite an interesting challenge because of uBlock's goal performance characteristics. The reason uBlock is so efficient is a highly efficient filtering engine, in addition to a much smarter CSS injection mechanism. While uBlock was written in JavaScript, the insight and tricks I learned about URL pattern matching and efficient rule-making translates nicely to content blocking in general. So, uBlock really sensitized me to the care that must go into such applications to get something really performant — and this is central to Purify's efficiency and superior performance.
How do you keep up with the hundreds of ways to broadcast ads and trackers on mobile sites? Do you do that "manually"?
@ourielohayon In an upcoming version, Purify will introduce the ability for users to visually pick items they find undesirable from any page they're browsing, and Purify will create the appropriate network and CSS rules to block that. The advantage of that decentralization is a lot more efficient scale. For tracking and things invisible to the user, however, the current strategy is periodic (once/month) surveys of the top 30 mobile sites by traffic.
@chrisaljoudi well yes. that s what Ghostery has been doing for a while. What advantage will you have on them? do you feel top 30 is enough? clearly you would miss a lot (top 30 vary a lot by geo for a start)
@ourielohayon Ghostery isn't on iOS. Peace is "powered by Ghostery," but it doesn't have the same feature set as the desktop browser extension — just utilizes the same list.
@chrisaljoudi i am referring to how they build their block list. they use the same decentralized approach you would have on purify if i understand correctly. if this is the case what edge would you have?
Why no iPhone 5 support?