Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Google Web Designer (google.com)
1126 points by jaysonlane on Sept 30, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 442 comments

This appears to be a fork of the Ninja Authoring Tool which was made by Motorola Mobility over a year ago as part of the Montage project. Now Google owns Motorola Mobility.


Historical context, thanks!

The most important feature of this (to Google(?)) is the built-in ad editor.

It's the last point on the feature list page, but it's very telling that it's the first thing on the "Create New" screen.


I think that makes sense -- a lot of Google's (paying) clients have been using Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Flash to make ads for years; if Google wants them to adopt HTML5 technology they need to make tools that are as easy to use as Flash was.

That's the purpose of my startup :); we've been making an HTML5 animation tool for OS X for the last two years:


How do you feel about having Google as a direct competitor?

Google itself doesn't scare me; it is really just team vs. team. I think we've got the best product and engineering expertise for this market. Clearly I'm biased :) so I'd encourage anyone to try Tumult Hype and let us know your thoughts (we've got a fully functional 14-day trial on the site).

While Google hasn't announced pricing, it is probably safe to say it is going to be free. This is a business for us, so we charge $29.99. I don't like competing against free, but that just means we'll be continually pushed to provide that much more value!

I would love to check out your product, but it only runs on OSX. You might consider a port to drastically expand your potential client base.

Google's free offering is cross platform already.

“Drastically?” The vast majority of the web developers I know use OS X.

And, I guess, most of the marketers, too.

> “Drastically?” The vast majority of the web developers I know use OS X.

I'm guessing most (all?) the developers you know work in the US?

Mac OS is close to nonexistent in that area in the rest of the world.

Trying to sell an app competing against a free product from Google is already challenging enough, you should seriously consider the original advice and extend your tool to work on Windows as well.

  > Mac OS is close to nonexistent in that area in the rest
  > of the world.
I guess you dont't live in the rest of the world. I am from a small exUSSR country in the Europe and while I would not claim majority for OS X but to claim that it is nonexistent is very wrong. My last company (Java/PHP/Frontend) was Mac-only. In the current company the majority is on Macs (that includes Android and WP developers).

Really? My last web developer position in Australia was in an office full of Macs. My web developer position previous to that was in New Zealand was in an office full of Macs. My current position here in the UK is in an office full of Macs. Every web development house I've ever worked for, contracted with or freelanced with has been in an office full of Macs.

Dutchman here. Most designers use MacOsX here. Developers go with Windows. Design-savy or iOS developers use both.

Also Dutch here. Developers go with Windows if they do not get a choice; unfortunately, most major companies demand everyone uses Windows.

I'm fortunate to be working for a consultancy company that just gives everyone a budget to buy their computer. Most people have a Macbook, with the odd exception that simply has a hatred for Apple or can't get used to it.

I would argue that development tools are much better for OSX. It's like Linux, but usable. A lot of commandline tools just work out of the box under OSX, where you have to go through hoops, hope there's a port, or install a bash emulator under Windows.

Of course, .NET developers will be using Windows.

I do agree here. I do develop in India, and rarely i meet people with Mac. Most devs use linux and most html and UI guys go with windows.

By 'rest of the world' you must be discounting Australia then ;)

As an Australian, I've always thought of our country as the real-world embodiment of what Americans believe when they think of their own country...

I visited Bali once and as an American, had an identity crisis looking in the mirror at all the Australian tourists.

Moscow, Russia – Macs everywhere. Odessa, Ukraine – a lot of Macs and more are coming.

And this is a two year old observation.

Uruguay here: All designers use Mac OS, developers use Windows or Linux

Most web developers/designers in china use OS X also.

> The vast majority of the web developers I know use OS X.

That's what we call a filter bubble

Wow really? Where (in what bubble) do you live?

I'm pretty sure the majority of digital artwork, both visual & audio, is done on OSX. I have never heard of any major company in this field that had its artists on anything other than OSX. Maybe linux for some render-farms or something, but the artists' primary workstation is macosx. Also, all the major digit-art tools work sooooooo much better under OSX, or even just under Linux. Example, I've used Autodesk's Maya under windows and under Linux 64bit. The exact same machine, dualboot, into Linux to run Maya is like night & day. This simple little kitchen scene[1] was too much for Windows to handle, would freeze up the mouse pointer while trying to rotate around and work on the models. In linux, silky smooth. Also, the audio-production software on mac is superior to anything ever. Avid ProTools, Logic Pro,etc. Imagine the kinds of scenes LucasArts/Pixar/Dreamworks/etc got going on. When you're project starts to get big and require more RAM to keep it all in memory and flowing well; Linux & OSX will beat Windows completely. Now I'm not going to put all the blame on Windows, perhaps AutoDesk and Adobe don't put as much quality work into the Windows versions. And why should they? Really, I see the Windows versions as just gateways for beginners and young people to pirate them and learn.When you get serious and it's your profession, you switch to OSX. Yes, I said it. Any serious digital-artist is on a mac. Good day sir!

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNS66CcUJ1o

SIDENOTE: If Adobe made linux-versions of all their stuff, combined with the already-existing linux versions of Maya and 3DSMax, I believe it would be very good for the digital-art industry.

Considering the very powerful, hardware accelerated 3D games that run smoothly under Windows, I would consider the possibility that if Maya cannot render a scene without freezing, maybe that is a problem with the software developers and not Windows.

This might be true, but I think you miss the point.

People will use the enviroment where the tools run stable.

If you live in US that might be right, but on the rest of the world?

No sir!

The rest of the world isn't where the money is ... so why would he develop for a market that can't even afford a mac?

I keep forgetting America is the only developed country in the world. I guess I'm so busy playing games on my PC and surfing the net on my HTC One, that sometimes I forget I'm poor and only bought these devices because I couldn't afford to buy Apple.


You really need to get some perspective about just how big the IT industry is outside of America.

What?! All the digital printing agencies I've been to were using iMacs. I live in a country with a Per Capita of $3,500. That's more than an order of magnitude lower than the US.

I beg to differ as today's reports show.

I'm guessing the bubble called Silicon Valley. They tend to have a fairly skewed view of the world there.

Well, I am from Europe and from people I know only around 15% uses Mac. I was myself using Windows/Linux for all development and Photoshop work till last 3 years, when I moved to Macbook Air.

Windows are for users and Mac are for makers. ;)

Oh please. Designers are not makers. Vast majority of developers I know use Linux.

Los Angeles based developer here. Practically everyone uses a Mac that I know.

The one where the vast majority of web developers live.

There's this entire platform of users who develop in a magical language called C# and run entirely on Microsoft platform. It might just catch on and get quite popular.

The Microsoft world might also be used by large corporations, who also happen to have lots of money, with which you can buy things like software.

(There's also these other platforms based on *nix, but meh :-p)

We don't need any nix at all!

|pushes button to delete nix|

Hey, where did 60% of my favorite website go? Oh, I'll just google how to undelete *nix... wait... crap!

> the vast majority

You're actually discounting the entire world outside of SV right now?

and he can still make a living while doing that.

what now, being able to make a living makes one right?

>vast majority of web developers

That is an amazing thing to write on the internet.

Silicon Valley is a well known "home" for OSX.

In some circles yes, but theres alot of web developers that are still on Windows for whatever reason. I am from Germany and people here are less prone to brand marketing and i still see quite alot of people using Windows, even people i highly respect for their skills. Im mainly talking about coders though, not designers.

Reasons range from:

1) Big corporations don't like to overspend on PC hardware and can have great deals with anyone but Apple.

2) A company that work mostly on Windows platform (.Net, MSSql)

4) As weird as it sound some people might actually not like OSX.

I will say here, that I am one of those people that do not like OSX. My main issues are getting it to behave with the muscle memory I have developed over years of use with windows and linux machines. Home and End key behavior, actually quitting an application when closed, full-screen apps (though I understand this is fixed in recent OSX builds), and other minor annoyances keep me from fully embracing OSX. I understand that these are personal preferences, and not problems with OSX for the most part.

On the other hand, I REALLY like the idea of an app and all its dependencies being installed all in one folder. That REALLY needs to happen everywhere. This would make migration between installs SO much easier, and would eliminate DLL hell (or shared library hell in the case of linux).

Just my 2cents

Exactly my thoughts. I use OSX alot for different reasons but i still think i am more productive on Windows/Linux. Keyboard shortcuts and behaviour is consistent as opposed to OSX where its kind of a pain.

I also dont like the dock, i like to have a taskbar with the open windows on each of my monitors which is no problem in Windows and Linux. I dont like the Menubar stuck on the main monitor.

As a web developer i really like the unix base of OSX for different reaons though and i need to use some software for game dev (Unity3D) which isnt available on Linux.

But i thought about running Windows for game dev/office stuff and Linux in a VM for web development.

I assume this was numbered as a bitmask so people can represent their choices as a single integer?

> As weird as it sound some people might actually not like OSX.

Oh yes. I wouldn't take a job if they offer Apple only choices.

Actually, here in Europe, MAC doesn't seem that popular.

Most of the people i know just use Windows (Belgium)

And literally zero of the web developers and designers I know use OS X. This is why a single person's social circle isn't a useful indicator of global marketshare.

It doesn't say anything about Linux, but I guess more than one platform is technically "cross platform" :(

Yep, and I hate it when they use "PC" as a synonym for Microsoft Windows. I do have a PC!

It's Apple that made PC synonymous with Windows machines (with all their "Mac vs PC" ads). Yes technically speaking it's incorrect, but that's human language for you, it just happens. Sometimes the other way round, eg. walkman was once Sony's tradename, but eventually all portable cassette players were called so.

Not really, it actually comes from long before that.

I remember being a very little kid and buying shareware games with their "PC-Compatible" labels. At the time, that sticker actually meant "DOS Compatible", and being I just about 10 years old, I believed PCs and DOS were the only possible match, the same way my first MSX ran MSX-Basic and my cousin's Amstrad CPC ran CP/M. I didn't know it was even possible for machines to run different OSes. For that matter, I didn't even know what an OS was. I just knew different machines worked differently, the same way different TV sets worked differently.

So it's not just a matter of human language, it's a matter of intentionally confusing terms in favour of the market. Everybody knew there were other "walkmans" around. Not everybody knows there are other OSes.

Clearly Apple subscribes to this terminology, and I don't think it has much of an interest in putting forward the impression that Windows is the only option on PCs and concealing the existence of Linux.

I think it does. From the very beginning they wanted to sell computers to people by making them think they work like home appliances. If people knew computers are actually universal machines, then they wouldn't be as willing to pay more for the same components with a different brand printed on the machine's case, or a different software running in them.

Besides, that gives them a single competitor to fight against.

Is it really easier to face one big nearly monopolist opponent instead of two who're fighting against eachother? Also one important obstacle for the adoption of Apple products was the common notion that there's no plausible alternatives to buying a PC. That's why they invested heavily in sending the message of pluralism - "think differently" etc.

Yeah, and a Mac is a PC, internally speaking too. So, it should OS based : OSX, Windows. This, coming from the number 1 tech company in the world. Kinda disappointing.

Yet somehow everyone understands what people mean when they say "Mac or PC"...


This has nothing to do with prescriptivism whatsoever. This is like calling the blue "e" icon in your desktop "The Internet". It's just plain wrong naming.

In tech, things should be called by their name, or you risk future confusion.

Cross platform but not Linux. That's "limited" when you do web development.

Too bad those platforms don't include Linux & FreeBSD.

Sadly Google has more or less stopped supporting Linux on desktop since Larry Page came into office (Picasa and others...). Hardly surprising. Even though at Google everyone uses a flavor of Ubuntu for their desktops.

As long as we're doing shameless plugs: checkout my cross-platform product at http://tweenui.com/animator – it's for creating simple HTML5 animations (focus is mobile display ads) in the browser. You can download the result or publish to the cloud.

I don't think tumultco would see ROI porting to Windows or Linux. Quite apart from the actual development effort, managing two or more codebases, dealing with Windows fragmentation and piracy... ugh.

Yes, you'd drastically expand your potential client base – but end up with worse revenue and higher support costs per customer.

Keep up the good work! From first glance your product seems to have superior functionality and usability. So I'd gladly pay for ease of use alone.

It may be tough, but porting your application to Windows would be a great idea and help you compete against Google in the long run. Good luck with it, and from what I've checked around on your website it seems like a great tool/competitor to Google!

(I'm on a Mac, still I have Windows machines and know a huge amount of web-developers who abide by Windows)

You might consider hosting that intro video on a better platform, buffered so slowly for me with a 120MB connection. Granted your site is probably getting hit by HN, but when attention spans are so short, many may give up long before I did.

Thanks for reporting this; our site should be able to handle this amount of traffic no problem and the video loads pretty quickly for me. Where are you located and does the problem still happen?

We've moved nearly all of our other videos to youtube, so if it really is our server you can click the "watch more" buttons on the main page to still get a feel for the app.

"it is really just team vs. team" -- that's a great way of looking at it. Good luck with the additional attention and hope you can convert new eyes into more customers.

Love your attitude. If you can position yourself as the best alternative to Google's product it's not a bad place to be - they may expand the market. Good luck.

Great attitude. Best of luck!

They're the perfect competitor - they validate the market, they almost always fail, and they acquire winners.

And of course they'll pull the plug in 18 months or so thus leaving people wanting for a replacement :P

Maybe an acquisition is in their near future.

Your App is also mentioned a lot in the world of InDesign users looking to create interactive e-books. The HTML5 import of InDesign works well Hype. Hype was mentioned just last week at the Adobe User Event I helped set up. These people are designers, not programmers and your App can really help them. #eyeopener

Hype is amazing tool - only took a few minutes to get up to speed on it. We built an educational touchscreen kiosk in it, and then were able to deploy on an iPad by just scaling it down and downsampling the bitmap assets. A really polished tool.

I nabbed Hype 2 off the mac app store only a few weeks ago or so. I haven't had much time behind it but it seems promising. I'll have to compare the two utilities....

Adobe has Edge Animate for that and Adobe Flash can export to HTML5 as well.


Given Adobe track record on betrayal, and borderline extorsion schemes , I would not even touch their tools anymore. They had they chance with Flash,Dreamweaver and Fireworks...

Flash = almost dead

Dreamweaver = Zombie mod

Fireworks = Dead despite its powerfull features like jquerymobile skinning,project files as png files,games graphics, native app design, easily customizable through js.

Thank you Elop (who sold MM to Adobe ), thank you Adobe.

As a former Flash Developer, I will never put my time and money into learning Adobe software again.

Don't blame Adobe if your Flash banners were crap. "Adobe software" is broad, covering a lot of ground. You're turning your back on the whole lot? Sounds irrational. Maybe check out this new Google tool, and see how you feel after about 10 minutes.

He isn't refusing to put time into learning Adobe tech because they produced bad code, he's refusing to put time in because Adobe knifed the Flex development community in the back. Then in the front. Then stabbed them in the back again.

Using closed source tools is about trust. When the trust is broken, nothing can get it back. That's what happened with Adobe and Developpers , they totally lost that market.

Sent from your iPhone? ;)

No offence but I still make 5 figures using Flash/Flex/AIR for Fortune 100 companies.

Flex with IntelliJ beats the javascript crap sauce anyone tries to push down my throat. The VM is extremely capable (yet terrible advertised and documented) and the language is superb and easily approachable.

If Adobe wasn't such a butt hole* at PR, we'd be in a different situation.

*:understand that Adobe shot itself in the foot in every possible way in the last 3 years.

“5 figures” hardly seems notable…

The upper end of five figures is perfectly respectable for that kind of work. I can't imagine people with Adobe product experience are in such short supply to warrant six figures...

In the bay area, Flex devs make > $100/hour, pretty much implying a 6 figure annual rate. Maybe the 5 figures are from another area or country.

As a former Flex developer, I must admit that Flex was the best thing that ever happened to web development, but unfortunately the Flash team wasn't strong enough to bring the runtime to mobile with enough quality. Building a RIA in Flex was so incredibly easy, and debugging was easy, and you really could use anything you wanted for a backend (I've used Perl, PHP, and Java). Bidirectional data binding, an excellent widget library, and a lot of help from the default IDE (custom build of Eclipse) allowed me to build software, full stack, with an engineering team of 1 on a weekly release cycle.

I've spent more time debugging HTML5/JS/CSS than building entire applications in Flex. The AdvancedDataGrid component alone was worth the price of admission.

You guys are so far out of touch with the reality of most people.

Totally agreed. The problem with Flex is it was designed for developer ease first and user experience second. Virtually every code example reimplemented a regular HTML form feature in Flash. You always knew when you hit a Flex app on the web because the first thing you'd see was a "loading" bar.

I used to work for Macromedia but I knew the moment Flex was released they'd taken the wrong turn from complimenting web standards to trying to build their own proprietary platform on Flash. To the user it was only marginally better than Java applets.

I think you mistake the intended audience of Flex. As a former Flex dev all of the apps I was involved with were for enterprise, building complex apps. None of the marketing or talks I attended from Adobe were around building your blog in Flex. People using Flex to make their "webpage" were indeed in the wrong.

Flex is still good for some $100-$120/hr consulting gigs on the side, mostly maintaining or changing something for a company who no longer employees a full time flex dev. Each year since Adobe "killed Flex" this hourly rate has gone up while the # of gigs has gone down. I would not, nor recommend, anyone start a Flex app today for a new project.

AngularJS is the closest thing to Flex that I've used, and only recently has tooling started to come close to what Flex had years ago.

JS/CSS is painful in comparison (esp when you consider large corps are still on IE6, 7, or 8), but still the right choice today for new RIAs. One can only hope the death of XP next year gets these corps to to do something...

Nothing of the sort, all in all, Flex is indeed a great platform. The sad reality is that it only runs on a crappy, obsoleted runtime (Flash) so it is not useful for most web development, but otherwise everything he says is true.

For a web app (RIA) I would pick Flex or Silverlight any day over the whole HTML mess if they would only run properly in all browsers, desktop and mobile.

With Adobe AIR you can deploy to iOS and Android, so that covers most of the mobile market. I'd certainly pick that over the whole HTML mess.

Sorry dude, I did mean 6. :/

As if Google had such a clean slate ... please ...

>>>> Fireworks = Dead despite its powerfull features like jquerymobile skinning,project files as png files,games graphics, native app design, easily customizable through js.

Agreed. I started doing a lot of projects in Fireworks because of how powerful and flexible it is. I actually stopped using Illustrator and Photoshop and was using Fireworks exclusively. I was really pissed when they killed it after the Creative Cloud.

Money grubbing scum.

I never thought flash was all that easy to use. I could never get the timeline to cooperate with what I was trying to do (drag/copy/paste frames etc)


You can create animations in Google Web Designer in two modes, Quick mode and Advanced mode.

In Quick mode, you build your animation scene by scene: you add a new view of the entire page, change the elements you want to animate, and, optionally, modify your transition times and easings.

For more complex animation, Advanced mode lets you individually animate each of the the elements, optionally modifying transition times and easing as well. Advanced mode also shows layers, which let you change where each element is in the stack of elements.

Check out more information on how to use the two different timeline modes in our help center: https://support.google.com/webdesigner/topic/3181123?hl=en&r...

Thanks, Google Web Designer team

the first two links on that help center page result in 404s: "In Quick mode, you ..." (https://support.google.com/webdesigner/topic/3227054) and "... animation, Advanced mode lets ..." (https://support.google.com/webdesigner/topic/3228643)

Doh! Good catch!

Our docs team has updated the help links.

Thanks, Google Web Designer team

Please change the webpage to allow downloads in Linux (or any other OS) - many people would like to at least try it in WINE. Also, your "Available for Mac and PC" button is confusing - most Linux users run it on a PC.

Well and 'Mac' is PC too.

The Flash timeline was counterintuitive but once you grokked it, it was super easy and super efficient. I came to Flash from After Effects (much more intuitive keyframing) and hated Flash until my brain clicked with it.

the flash timeline has poor visual cues on it as to what was going on. key frames area easy enough to get. but sometimes the timeline ends in a dash pattern, then there's the multiple open and closed ends on one timeline. All in all there are just too many states. Live motion was a good tool that just never got out of a buggy state but had an easier timeline to work in.

It is not the problem with people creating the ads that they don't want to create HTML5 banners. The problem lies with most media buying agencies that won't accept them for reasons like their system is not ready to handle this (HTML5) yet or the most heard reason that they want Flash banners even with old versions of Action Script because they seem harder to block by ad-blockers and thus think that more people will watch them. They forget the fact that most people are annoyed with them also ;-)

If you create a truly brilliant ad which is targeted to the right audience and let them do something with your brand inside the ad for example people are more willing to view them in my opinion in stead of just forcing them the same old banner over and over again only with a different brand in them..

>because they seem harder to block by ad-blockers and thus think that more people will watch them.

Do companies actually believe this? Flash is the easiest to remove of all ads.

  "If you create a truly brilliant ad which is targeted to 
   the right audience and let them do something with your 
   brand inside the ad for example people are more willing 
   to view them in my opinion in stead of just forcing them 
   the same old banner over and over again only with a 
   different brand in them."
I have a lot of sympathy for the outreach companies trying to make advertising agencies behave. At some point, someone's neurons started firing and realized consumers had taken control over how they view media. Someone realized that eventually advertisements were going to be viewed of the users volition. Which meant they no longer could be deceitful, obnoxious, baiting, terrible, and rude. Or at least not transparently so.

Unfortunately the industry was built on the grounds that the users had no choice, so the notion of good advertising I think will never come. Old men in stuffy suits don't change unless they go bankrupt.

While Ads is an important focus area for Web Designer, we don't see it as an 'Ads only' tool.

Our ambition while building Google Web Designer is that it be a general-purpose, awesome HTML5 content builder.

Hence the name Web Designer & not Ad Designer.

We aim to learn from our users, iterate & push quickly to reach our ultimate goal of being a kick- general purpose HTML5 builder!

The ad-centric intent is clear and trying to cover it with "we don't see it this way" only further alienates potential users (and worse, makes fool of them). Be up front and honest about the product you make.

When I create a new "document" the first field is about which ad platform I want to use... For calling the product "Web designer", that sends a message...

Great work, I really appreciate it and find value in it, but I think you have to be more clear about this "focus area" in the landing page.

Thanks for the comment. Just out of curiosity, what does "iterate & push quickly" mean in your context? Some people use that to mean releasing every few hours; some every few months. What release frequency are you aiming for?

It's definitely an ad tool. The help section is entirely about making ads. If you look closely, the responsive layout is strictly for the ad, not the website.

You say it like an accusation. Google's the biggest company in the ad business.

The introduction is misleading, it is an accusation. A valid one.

Apple has a somewhat similar tool called iAd Producer.https://developer.apple.com/iad/iadproducer/ (I believe you might need the free developer account to view the page, however.) I know you can create iBooks Author widgets and other HTML5 components that aren't necessarily ads. Even if Google's goal is the same as Apple's (i.e. creating advertisements), I think that Google's branding makes their tool a bit more interesting for someone not expressly interested in creating ads.

Flash was not designed to create whole websites either but that didn't stop people from doing it anyway.

Same can be said about HTML and applications.

HTML? How else was website building intended to be?

"HTML and Applications"

I'd agree that it was not the original goal of HTML to develop full applications.

To be an hyperlinked documents, nothing else.

Might as well be called "Google Ad Designer" :)

There seem to be a hidden agenda in everything Google does these days.

It's not hidden that Google makes its money through advertising.

Nor is it hidden that most ads served through Google's networks are frequently badly designed or use bloated Flash.

Agree. The name should not give false illusions about the product. "Google Ad Designer" sounds better along with Google AdWords

I see it first and foremost as an Adwords/Adsense add-on. More interactive ads = more clicks = more money.

Yes, this looks as a perfect tool for ads — esp to create more appealing, eye-catching effects.

But its Branded as Google Web Designer. :)

Yeah, the product positioning here is awful; it's like someone just went through the marketing copy at the last minute to strip out its ad-centricity. My very cynical guess is that it went like this:

#1 Wait, couldn't the ad designer you've been working so hard on actually be used by anyone to just make web pages?

#2 Well...I mean I guess so, but it wouldn't--

#1 Awesome! It's really a Google Web Designer! This can be a much bigger PR splash than just a nice tool for making ads! Gotta think outside the box. Generalize.

#2 OK, but the actual goal here is to make it easier to create ads, and the product's completely designed around--

#1 BAM! Name changed! Two minutes to create a whole new product. That MBA has paid for itself in spades!

I think that's the charitable view.

More likely:

#1 "we need an ad builder tool"

#2 "OK, but it can do more than ads..."

#1 "Good one. Then it it will seem like we're giving back."

#2 "?"

#1 "Don't worry. Just make sure the focus of using the app will be ads. That will help our users the most, and provide the biggest impact with our limited resources."

I know what you're saying, but "appealing" and "eye catching" effects are generally mutually exclusive (to the user that isn't interested in the ads, but the content...).

Yes, they are.

One of the other purposes of Advertisements are also to create impressions and Branding. You don't have to necessarily click every ad. :)

And with such visual tools ad making is very easy and reachable to all. A great project by Google. Kudos. With Visual tools like this we can interact with more depth. And lets not forget this is free too.

They might bring better ad-making experience overtime with built in ad-templates. All this will bring more Appealing ads.

And Eye catching ads serve as — Branding and Brand-remembering for Publishers, users notice them and remember(clicks not important in Branding)

Downloaded. Opened. Drew a rectangle. Filled with #FF0000.

It spit this out:


(after struggling and realizing CMD+S wasn't saving my file)

I feel sorry for whoever was tasked with making this application.


We are glad you are trying out GWD. You are correct that it seems like a bit of overhead just to render a simple rectangle. However, as alphakappa astutely observed, there is some overhead to parse the JSON data which describes the various shapes and to render those shapes in canvas(es).

What you see is the entire canvas rendering library used by GWD. That code will be reused for additional shapes you create, including more complex shapes you can create with the Pen tool.

You bring up a great point though. In most cases, you probably don't need to draw shapes (and the overhead that comes with the runtime). If you want to rectangle elements on stage, a much better option is to use the Tag tool (the fourth tool from the top) and add HTML elements such as DIV and give them background colors and modify the border styles using the Properties panel.

We are working on our help documentation to educate our users in how to optimize their content in both size and performance.

Thanks, Google Web Designer team - aka the ones tasked with making this application. ;o)

I understand you guys want to serialize data efficiently. But perhaps you can pretty print the rectangle information? It would make designs a lot nicer when version controlled (esp so if you sort the content consistently). Also, it would make manually meddling easier.

I'm curious, why not...

<div id="rectangle"></div>

#rectangle { width: 200px; height: 150px; background #FF0000; }

...by default?


Great observation! We have had this discussion internally as well.

For now, we wanted to have a clear separation in the types of content the user is creating on a canvas, since canvas enables different types of content. And, in some cases, there isn't a 1-1 fallback between a canvas shape definition and an HTML element, e.g., an oval with inner radius.

However, we realize that in a lot of cases users just want elements that look like rectangles, and a DIV with certain styles will suffice. We will work to direct users towards that workflow in such cases.

Thanks, Google Web Designer team

Because you used the "shape" tool and not the "tag" tool.

Can you make the lib used to render the animation and the drawings opensource so developpers can understand it more easily and "hack" it when the designer goes overboard? thanks.

Regards Mparaiso.

The amount of code it generates for a page containing just a rectangle is not a good way to judge the tool. They may have some finite overhead because of the expectation that most users will be using the tool to create more complex pages. If the tool is good for the average ad-page that's created, while maintaining cross-browser compatibility, and bad for extremely simple pages, then who is to judge?

I agree. The big(gish) script they injected is just fixed overhead, as is the CSS for positioning the canvas. It's just stuff we're used to having in separate files. The actual non-boilerplate part is this:


That could be better, to be sure. It's for some reason part of a JSON-encoded string inside a JS object instead of just a JS object (hence the hard-to-read escaped quotes). And the properties could use defaults to spare us "strokeMat: null" and such. But it's not horrible.

Edits: numerous and minor

Please edit; stretches the page on 1366 width.

arg, too late for me to do it

It would help to see the following.

Draw one rectangle. Save as rect1.

Draw a second rectangle. Save as rect2.

Show us the diff between rect1 and rect2.

Despite the poorly chosen name, this is a WYSIWYG tool for animation, not a site design tool. If all you care about is markup, use a text editor and make your animations by hand. Compared with Adobe Edge Animate (which is very similar), the markup is actually very clean (aside from the big script block, which is for ad functionality and also animation / drawing routines). You can see the animations defined as real keyframes in CSS, not overly reliant on javascript, which is good. It means there is a chance of taking those and using them independently of the JS runtime code, and also that execution will take advantage of native browser animation functions, rather than being bottlenecked by JS code.

It would be nice if there was some options for stripping out the Ad specific javascript. But even at ~55k this is a pretty slimmed down codebase considering what it does. Swiffy, which converts flash files to HTML/javascript has a 200k JS runtime.

A tool that designers can use to make animations in HTML5/CSS3 is desperately needed if we are ever going to move to a truly post-Flash world. We can't expect everyone to be an HTML developer, and achieving the same level of complexity and polish is extremely difficult when just working with code.

From File > New if you select a blank HTML file, you get an empty HTML file with no Ad specific JavaScript.

Thanks, I thought I tried that. That does reduce the extra code quite a bit.

All I see are data for the location and size of the rectangle and some extra code added by default to allow their scripts to work.

I thought it's a tool for designing websites - nope.

It isn't -- it's a tool for designing ads.

Calling it "Google Web Designer" was a terrible decision, but that's clearly not what the tool was meant for.

Ad development is the last listed feature, if that is the main purpose of the app then their website is very misleading.

I agree it's very misleading but they do clarify it in the first sentence of the help page.

Google Web Designer is an advanced web application that's built with HTML5 which lets you design and build HTML5 advertisements and other web content using an integrated visual and code interface

Uh-oh. So, while Frontpage just broke useragent stylesheets (all those sites setting the text-color, and assuming background was white, like it was in IE) -- this'll break what's left of the semantic web? I wonder how well google handles crawling these things...

The semantic web in the way that this tool breaks it has been dead since we had table-based layouts and div-hell further buried that notion. However, that doesn't mean that the semantic web is dead. I somewhat agree with Alan Kay when he said the web was built by amateurs [0]. The problem with the original design is that only documents were considered, when there are actually two citizens: documents and the apps used to display those documents for different contexts and usages. The original design only considered documents in one static use case, a desktop browser. There are two levels of semantics: document semantics, which the web got right and that xhtml 2.0 might have made even richer, and app semantics that were completely ignored by the semantic web crowd to the point where the app people hijacked the plans of those pushing semantic documents.

HTML5 Twitter isn't a document. The 1 to 1 correspondence between the window object and the document object is all wrong. There should have been a 1 to 1 or 1 to many relationship between window and documents. When there is a 1 to many relationship the window object reflects only the semantics of apps and within it, there should be many documents, one for each tweet displayed by the HTML5 twitter app.

[0] http://www.drdobbs.com/architecture-and-design/interview-wit...

Google has long been able to crawl pure javascript pages - I actually think their their crawler is just headless Chrome.

It's meant as an ad development tool, not a page development tool. Entirely different audience.

...which is why they should call it Google Ad Designer.

I don't disagree with you at all there. The name is terrible.

Google Web Designer 2013 = Microsoft Frontpage 2000?

I think its more like Microsoft Expression Design. It even looks similar.


That's exactly what popped to mind immediately. Maybe it was that hairball of code combined with the "generator" meta tag.

Dreamweaver comes to mind.

This reminds me of the MS Word generating HTML

Not really. MS Word was designed to generate HTML that would look like your original MS Word document and be round-tripped. This is not particularly easy. However, it made sense if you wanted to use your word processor to create and edit web documents (rather than find and learn another program), or publish existing documents as web pages. Which some businesses did.

This did actually make the world a better place insofar as the web got some HTML pages that would otherwise have been Word doc file downloads.

MS Word also produces much smaller HTML pages if you save your web page as "filtered HTML", sacrificing some Word functionality in the process. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/about-using-filt...

However, to do that, you would have to know the "filtered" option was there, and why you might want to use it. Which is probably not your average office drone.

I lost count of how many times I had to open a Word generated HTML document (by a regular Word user that though copying from Word and posting it in the CMS was a good idea) and clean it up by hand so it wouldn't break the page for browsers other than IE (even in IE it would break sometimes... surprise, surprise).

So yes, Sir. Yes, really.

HTML generators like this (or MS Word, or Dreamweaver, you name it) unfortunately are not optimized to do just the job they are used for. A good example for that is the one gave by our fellow commenter above. It adds a lot of useless code because it is simpler to do it that way. In the times where every Kb/s used to count, load a HTML page with 3 times the size it should be was a real issue.

Also, MS Word to HTML was the worst thing I have ever seen in terms of compatibility for other browsers. That to me does not sound like making the world a better place, sorry.

Smells like FrontPage spirit.

My favorite part is the WebKit specific code... Don't be Evil and something about standards right?

This is like IE4/Netscape Communicator days all over again, except now with more than two dominant browsers...

"I was a web dev in the 90s and all I got was this lousy XMLHttpRequest object"


While editing a file, Google Web Designer uses -webkit prefixes. However, when you publish your content, the publish dialog allows you to specify additional vendor prefixes (or no prefixes) in the output so the content works in different browsers.

I hope this helps.

Thanks, Nivesh (Google Web Developer)

Can you explain the reasons behind this behavior?


Google Web Designer (GWD) uses the WebKit HTML rendering engine inside the application's workspace and reports the styles that are actually applied to the content during editing.

Thanks, Google Web Designer team

Are you saying:

1. This tool can't produce cross-browser output

2. This tool includes some rendering engine-specific markup to solve cross-platform issues.

1 is unlikely and 2 is benign.

Thought so too, but when you publish they let you add FireFox / IE CSS prefixes (on by default)

> My favorite part is the WebKit specific code... Don't be Evil and something about standards right?

Meaning what? Google isn't directly involved with WebKit anymore and can't make them implement standards.

Google and Apple are the reason we are back to this mess again. They need to fix the problem not facilitate it with tools like this.

Microsoft and FrontPage did the exact same thing back in the days.

Hah! I did exactly the same, went to code view and closed the application. x-D

Github login wall.

Who cares about what you think? Give some constructive criticism or shut up.

Do you know how much code this is for a runtime and how many browser incompatibility issues this solves.

> Who cares about what you think?

He probably does, to begin with. That you might disagree with him about how much code is warranted here does not make his comment unconstructive.

> I feel sorry for whoever was tasked with making this application.

That sounds just condescending to me.

What is the problem with a < 4kb runtime and some browser hacks?

I totally agree with you that there's nothing wrong with it. But which is correct is exactly what's up for discussion.

Pretty sure that he was being constructive. Did you look at the code?

I care, else I wouldn't be reading these comments.

Ok, the war is on. Does anyone know of a good HTML5 ad blocker?

Flash was awesome. It made it really easy to block animated ads. My browsing experience had been wonderful ever since I installed a Flash blocker a few years ago. Also did wonders for my battery life.

Please, please help my browsing experience remain wonderful. Thanks.

Or you could stop using a website you don't think does ads correctly.

You don't know if a site contains ads until you visit it, and by then, they've already passed off your information to their Ad network partners and exposed you to the risk of Ad network malware.

The safe thing to do is to block Ads by default. And only disable them when they've shown that they're not just letting mass third party Ad networks embed arbitrary script in their page whilst harvesting your private information.

The safe/private thing to do is not visit any website at all. Ads don't have special access to your computer that a normal website does not. By visiting a new website, ads are by far the least of your worries.

Being online at all exposes you to risk and creates a footprint of your existence. Much like moving around in public does. And just as in moving around in public, the safest and most private thing to do is to not be in public at all.

You're ignoring opportunity costs, even in your meatworld analogy. There's real dangers to staying at home all the time, from social isolation to diseases of inactivity. Similarly, without using the web and visiting new sites, you're missing out on a lot of opportunity to communicate, learn, and yes, buy things. It may well be a lot less safe to avoid those things in the longer term.

Personally I block ads because I value my attention higher than advertisers value it. There is always an adversarial function built into ads; the advertising wants your attention, if nothing else, while I am interested in maintaining my focus. For similar reasons, I disable auto-suggest in Google search, animated gifs in the browser, and I use flashblock in all browsers that support it.

Anything continuously animated on the page whatsoever - no matter whether it's an ad, a subscription div popup, a "read next article" popup link, or a sharing toolbar - I block them all with element hiding helpers.

Because the greatest risk to me in browsing a random site is getting distracted and sucked down some rabbit hole. I use all the tools at my disposal to eliminate visual distraction.

You're right, there's risk in any action. The solution is to accept the risk, not to harm others while trying to protect yourself.

By blocking adverts, you're harming the people who make the things you like, in direct proportion to how much you like their content. The more you visit their site, the more load you make them pay for without giving anything in return.

If you're okay with harming others to keep yourself safe, and harming your ability to consume additional content from the people you want to consume content from, then fine. Continue to block ads. But know you're part of the problem, and are being selfish.

Ads don't have special access but because of their deployment across many different sites they get to track a much broader amount of your web activity than any individual site which in turn makes them a bigger privacy threat.

I don't block ads but I do use NoScript which means I rarely see them. It is increasingly common for pages to load scripts from dozens of different providers and those sites I generally turn away from.

Privacy threat? Because they want to serve you content you actually like? No, I don't think you know what a privacy threat actually is, then.

If you want to hobble around the web like it's 1995, that's your business. If you want access to content that's paid for by adverts, however, you need to be counted. That's the only way that content will be produced at all. You're not only harming the content producer, you're also harming yourself by lowering the number of interesting things in this world.

I don't think that's completely fair. The people who are providing the content on a lot of web pages are not the same people who are responsible for the monetization scheme. Some sites have good/decent content, but really obtrusive advertisements that the authors aren't responsible for.

The people providing the content are still being supported by the monetization scheme - you're taking money from them when you use their content without viewing their ads.

No. Those people are exposing us to mass cross-site tracking before we even get to see their content, without our permission, and without most people even knowing it's happening.

Visiting a site is giving that site permission to run whatever it wants in your browser/on your computer.

The only winning move is to not visit a site.

"Visiting a site is giving that site permission to run whatever it wants in your browser/on your computer."

No, it really isn't.

Way to add to the discussion.

"Visiting a site is giving that site permission to run whatever it wants in your browser/on your computer."

Unless you configure your browser otherwise. Which is what I'm recommending people do.

IIRC running a program meant to delete the users computer on your website would likely get you in a bit of trouble.

So what? 99 times out of 100, the people monetizing the site are also the ones who pay the bills.

You aren't entitled to content just because it's good.

and you arnt entitled to my personal information and browsing history just because i clicked a link.

...yes, I am?

Well then. I suppose you are also opposed to

* pop-up blocking

* cookie blocking

* readability

..all of which are common browser features now. Because you can just not visit bad sites.

Yeah, didn't think so.

The only relevant thing you've mentioned in your list is pop-up blocking, which is a subset of advertising (cookie blocking doesn't prevent impression and click tracking, and Readability has nothing to do with ad blocking, as the most common use case for Readability is after you've visited a page already).

Blocking one form of advert is not even slightly the same as blocking all forms of adverts.

There is an implicit social contract created when a content distributor attempts to monetize the content - you can only obtain the content if you go through the monetization strategy. Sometimes that's a price on the content, other times that's an advert.

Circumventing the monetization strategy is a statement that you believe you're entitled to the content without paying for it. Almost universally, you're not, and this entitlement complex is pervasive through Internet users. TV shows, movies, music, software, anything that's been given artificial scarcity is a target for this entitlement attitude.

For some content, this attitude doesn't hurt the content producer enough to be meaningful, or the content producer has adapted. This is almost universally the most valuable and previously established content producers. Your large game studios, your record labels, etc. For other content producers, however, those who aren't as well established, the harm is more severe. The independent web comic, the unsigned band, the budding writer, the local newspaper. These people suffer because Internet users think they deserve the content these people create without providing compensation, and subsequently, less content gets made, talent can't be developed, gifted individuals can't specialize, and the world is a less beautiful place.

So sure, we can continue to use ad blockers, but at what cost? It's not hurting U2, and it's not hurting J.K. Rowling, but it's hurting other people, people who feel the kinds of pain a 1.5% vs. a 2.5% CTR might bring.

> Blocking one form of advert is not even slightly the same as blocking all forms of adverts.

Well good, then you just misunderstood me. I'm asking for an animated HTML5 ad blocker to parallel a Flash blocker (or pop-up blocker, etc.) Not something that blocks all ads.

Although you didn't state it specifically, presumably you're ok with pop-up blockers. And therefore accept that it is ok for consumers to override the choices of bad web site designers in some cases, not merely choose to never visit the site again. Flash blockers did the same thing. Cookie blockers and readability are relevant for the same reasons. Consumers have a vote on how the web should be designed, too.

> Consumers have a vote on how the web should be designed, too.

Exactly the wrong-headed sense of entitlement I'm talking about. No, you absolutely do not get a say, whatsoever. You either get the product through the monetization scheme set up by the content owner, or you get no content at all.

Your foot stamping and insistence that people shouldnt have any control over site content does not infact change the technical reality that they do, being as its their client on their machine displaying what they tell it to.

Its better to just accept this fact and work with it than attempt to boil the ocean.

one might also ask about what kind of entitlement an attitude like yours is bringing to the table.

I guess the mindset comes from TV/Radio land where content is just dished up, and there is only one way to consume it, or you can stop consuming it.

It's probably more an issue of, we are in a difficult situation where some businesses don't know how to monetize outside of advertising (like google). And if everyone could block them, you'd effectively destroy businesses like that.

But on the flip side, the advert business model have gotten everyone used to 'free'. If google started selling "Search packs" where you get 100 searchs for $20, I don't think people would go for it.

This has nothing to do with radio or TV, this is simply trying to keep the lights on. How is a web service like imgur going to keep doing what it does without adverts?

It's a practical problem as much as a moral one. Content producers need to pay the bills somehow, and ads can be an effective way of doing that, if people don't try to circumvent them.

This isn't about what you can do, this is about what you should do, and what damage you cause the content producer and yourself when you decide you're entitled to something without paying for it.

You're the one with a sense of entitlement. If you want to go down that road, you should only put your sites in pay per view locked-down kiosks, or something similar that enforces your perspective.

Um. I get the content however I want. It's my computer.

If you send me some data. I can choose to view or ignore any of it. You have absolutely no stance to make me acknowledge all of it, or any of it.

If I asked for some data from your server and you sent it, you sent it. But I don't have to read all of it. Even the bits that make you money.

Further, some people choose (or more likely didn't know they had a choice) to make you money, if you want their money, in aggregate their wishes are something you are interested in. At no point does entitlement enter into this.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I sent my data with the social contract that you'd also look at my monetization technique.

By breaking that contract, you're preventing me from producing more content, content you apparently want. You're actually hurting yourself, from a practical standpoint, as well as causing harm to me.

A social contract? I have never acknowledge such a system, or heard of such a system. Are you referring to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Contract

seems unrelated.

Advertisements have a measurable cost on me. I have limited focus, losing it is expensive to me. I've seen advertisements change the thinking and perception of my peers, and it scares the crap out of me. I am all for uplifting the community through my actions, but this cost is too great. I have an extreme distrust of advertisments anyway, I never click on them (except by accident, which was frequently btw, until I started blocking them), so even If I acknowledge them, I'm still not making you money.

and finally, this is just a side note which I think only applies to me, most content I consume only has advertisements introduced by the gatekeepers (or I pay for it). Youtube, blip, et al. I'd rather the producers just use distributed systems, but we can't always get what we want.

If the cost is too high, don't pay for it, but don't take the content as well. That's theft.

And I mean social contract as in a contract you agree to by simply being part of society that stands above law. Don't kill people, don't steal things, that kind of thing. Things you do and are therefore allowed to be part of society.

Society allows me to be a part of it because it has no objections to my behaviour. I actively tell the people around me I block ads. Therefore, if your social contract did exist, I would not be in breach of it.

Morals are subjective, the people that surround me believe there is nothing wrong with my actions, if your only standing point is that it's "morally wrong" then you have failed to convince me.

That, of course, is not your only point. You also believe that without the advertisements the content I enjoy wouldn't be produced. This argument has some grounds. The only problem is how actively degenerate ads are. I can outright improve almost all media just by removing them.

Let's say the "nightmare scenario" happens, and almost everyone blocks ads with ad block. Ad Block is running an initiative of acceptable ads. Ads that arn't decietful, distracting, or annoying (which, in my opinion, is a far more morally abhorrent act). So if everyone started using ad block. The world would actually get measurably better. Not worse.

The product server throws bits at you, and your software displays them however it's setup. It's not an entitlement issue, it's how you let any browser/server/thing consume bits sent by any server (instead of, say, requiring some sort of specific viewer).

I used to put blank paper on ads when reading printed magazines because ads distract me. What am I supposed to with web sites? Literally cover the screen with paper?

So...... you're for or against pop-up blockers?

You've turned a technical question into a moral one. Don't do that.

Why not?

One is answerable with fact. The other is unanswerable with anything but subjective opinion, and inevitably drags the ensuing thread into pointless back-and-forth over, in this case, particularly well-trodden ground.

Just because we can doesn't mean we should.

And here we go over the well-trodden ground yet again. "Should" according to who? You? See the problem there? It's perfectly possible for other people to have equally valid moral positions as you while taking a different stance on this specific question.

Trying to dictate morality never ends well. Especially in cases like this, where the specific tech is not only possible, but also has unarguably legitimate uses, and is therefore pretty much inevitable. You just end up tilting at windmills, and the ensuing hot air back and forth just creates pointless noise, generally adding little to the discussion.


Readability is in Safari, so many (many) millions of users. There are extensions for basically everything, bookmarklets for everything else, and many news-reading applications use the same scripts to render their 'text' views.

And popup / cookie blocking has been standard (not just common!) for a while, so I assume you didn't mean that.

I've been using Evernote Clearly for a while, which is easily the best extension for this in Chrome.


So, a website provides content to you without a membership free at the "cost" of also having ads on the page. Which you may or may not choose to ignore.

Your response to this is circumventing the ads and blocking them, denying the service which you use any revenue from you. Awesome.

How about if a site has intrusive over/under ads or otherwise intrusive behavior, you just don't visit it? And allow the sites you use that do ads without being jerks about it to actually continue to function and provide the service that you apparently value?


I'm not normally someone who crusades against ad blocking software, but your comment was extremely obnoxious and really annoyed me.

It's going to be trickier as just blocking a single plugin is no longer viable.

I think an domain blacklist a la Adblock is probably the best idea but that won't help you with ads that are already present in the DOM on pageload.

Thankfully, AdBlock and friends can also target DOM elements for hiding or outright elimination.

Why do we even waste time detectin and hiding ads? WHy can't we not wasting bandwidth download it at all?

well. You can't tell the server what to send, really.

...which they have gotten overly aggressive on; creating a myriad of issues with normal website functionality.

Can you give an example? The only issue I've ever had with ABP et al. is when I'm working on a site and forget to turn it off & I think my site is broken (because ad doesn't load). :p

One of our webdevs complained about some issue that was causing issues with our site in particular (regarding generic id names being blocked) and since then I've had several anecdotal instances where disabling adblock on sites seems to clear up nagging issues.

I should have been more clear. My apologies.

Well it happens if you name your javascript ad*.js or similar, also should be extremely easy to find.

I haven't found a significant example of this, and I've been browsing with Adblock Plus for years. The only place I've seen issues with is some video streaming sites, when it interferes with streaming ads.

Doesn't Adblock Plus alter the structure of the page, which can mess up layout?

Also believe it or not I don't want to block all ads, just animated ones. I want a general solution for All People, not just us nerds, and erasing advertising from the web would destroy a lot of businesses.

I want something browser makers can build in and turn on by default, which is what Safari has essentially done now with Mavericks (Flash and Java are blocked by default.. Flash under the rubric of power conservation).

There's a setting in ABP for Firefox that allows you to show "placeholders of blocked elements". I think that's what you're after if you want to use ABP and maintain the layout?

AdBlock Plus is running an initiative of acceptable ads.

That is the solution, frankly.

Maybe a crowd sourced blocker would be ideal for identifying divs in a site.

It would be a plugin that allows you to mark a spot on a page that is an ad and the plugin will record the very specific CSS path and hide it permanently for you and others that go to visit that site.

Maybe once you have a significant number of CSS paths you could do something with machine learning to identify the likeliness of a div containing an ad and block it when it crosses a certain degree of confidence.

Firefox+NoScript does a pretty good job. Typically, the domains that host the JavaScript to run the ads have no JavaScript I actually want executed.

If there's an exceptional case I open it in a Chromium private browsing window.

NoScript blocks all javascript except for a whitelist you have to construct. That's way too disruptive as a general solution. We need something easy and automatic.

    NoScript blocks all javascript except for a whitelist you have to construct.
Blocking JavaScript is just one of NoScript's many features. (NoScript's other features include blocking plugins and other embeddings (e.g., HTML5 video and audio), as well as protecting against XSS, CSRFs, and clickjacking.) I use NoScript, but I don't use it to block JavaScript. NoScript's ability to block HTML5 video and audio is one of my favorite features, and I hope that NoScript will block additional HTML5 annoyances in the future, especially as advertisers and other troublemakers make greater use of HTML5.

I am quite happy with Ghostery+NoScript. If you have a general solution, then you would just end up with an arms race. See [0] for details.

[0] http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/12/its-made...

IMHO - Ghostery should not be used, Disconnect should be used instead (https://disconnect.me/). Why? Because Ghostery is selling data to advertisers. https://www.hnsearch.com/search#request/submissions&q=ghoste...

Heres a more comprehensive article on the topic: http://purplebox.ghostery.com/?p=1016023438

Ghostery would only send data back to Evidon if GhostRank option is enabled.

Plus Disconnect.me is FOSS and (at least when I switched) blocks more than Ghostery.

Yes, but IMHO they are still the best trade off. ( But I will have a look at disconnect, thanks for the link.)

> We need something easy and automatic.

Like running ads in a standalone plugin which could be easily disabled. Wait...

such entitlement! do you have any idea how publishers make money on the web?

Entitlement? He is entitled to not download and view content that he doesn't want to.

No one is obligated to alter their own behavior in order to sustain someone else's business model. How publishers make money is their problem to solve, and if they're publishing content on the open web that's viewable with web browsers, then it's up to them to decide how to deal with the fact that some web browsers aren't going to download the ads.

They have plenty of alternative options: they can block all of the content unless ads are downloaded; they can put all of the content behind a paywall, etc. But most websites don't employ these methods, and do leave their content accessible to people who block ads.

No one is obligated to alter their own behaviour in order to sustain someone else's business model, that's why it's totally okay to shoplift if it's more agreeable and convenient to you.

No. Your obligation not to steal is not derived from any more fundamental obligation to sustain other people's business models.

Sorry, I wasn't clear enough.. I don't actually want to block all ads, just animated ads. Because they are annoying and drain battery life.

I just want an HTML5 version of a Flash blocker.

It is impossible to read and understand text when there is something moving in the corner of your eye. The human brain was trained to do that for millions of years of evolution on the savannah. The moving thing might be a predator...

I'm sorry, but what's so wrong with not wanting to have advertisements on your browser?

People make their money via ads? Sure, why not. Do I always have to see those ads, and just sigh and "suck it up", even though it's potentially ruining my browsing experience? I don't think so.

> I'm sorry, but what's so wrong with not wanting to have advertisements on your browser?

Would you pay a monthly fee to all the websites that provide you content in exchange for an ad free experience?

I don't know about manish_gill, but I certainly wouldn't.

I guess the people running those websites will have to choose between continuing to publish content on the open web, knowing that some users won't look at the ads, or putting everything behind a paywall, knowing that some users won't subscribe.

No, but since it's not difficult to detect that I'm running an adblocker they can feel free to paywall me or just tell me to go away and I will.

I paid for Pandora specifically so I didn't have to listen to their ads.

All the websites? Nope. A selected few who I think provide me a great value as a customer? Why not.

Do you have a minimum amount of time you promise to yourself to spend gazing at ads in print publications too, to give the publishers what you owe them as a consumer?

By providing valuable, interesting content, maybe? http://theoatmeal.com/comics/facebook_likes

Those are Facebook likes while the conversation is about ads on websites.

And in the end, he says that interesting content will get you "Likes," where in the current conversation of blocking ads does the visitor contribute after perusing the valuable and interesting content?

Yes, I realize that, but the idea holds. Subscription-based services work if the content is worthwhile. It is an alternative model to ads, sure. One that is proven.

Subscription based services are an alternative, but then you really don't the the ease of redistribution to friends and stuff.

Of course whatever floats your boat as long as there's some sort of compensation for the media one is ingesting. I don't really mind non-intrusive ads all that much.

Not at all. It's only entitlement if the publisher also provides me a way to pay them for the content (at the same rate that the advertiser is paying) and I still choose not to pay for the content.

I want to be the customer, not the product being sold.

I'm curious whether or not an embedded Esprima AST parser would provide a decent API for writing rules that detect undesirable code and rewrites them as no-ops.

It would be nice if this was also a social version of user scripts where I could visit all the user scripts that other users wrote that work on the page I am currently on. A button in the browser that takes me to all the user scripts that match the URL pattern for that page would be awesome.

Element Hiding Helper lets you target page components based on source. It has a standard filter for ads and other filters for egregious social buttons/trackers.

I also use it to remove annoying sign-up overlays and Google+ notifications when I search.

And if you add Stylish on top you can pretty much make webpages look like you want them to with 2m work - I often end up fixing huge ugly headers and the like (i.e. text size/color) on blogs I frequent!

THis takes care of half of the problem - seeing the ads.

It does not, unfortunately, prevent the ads from seeing you. (Very nearly literally these days.)

If they're embedded iframes, you should still be able to use e.g. adblock based on the URL. If not, you can probably go back to element blocking, same as now for static containers. If they're invisible / removed from the DOM tree, it should be a lighter weight browsing experience :)

My best suggestion is Adblock Plus combined with Element Hiding Helper in Firefox. Gives you a menu item that lets you select an element to hide, with a custom CSS selector. If you can find it with jQuery, you can probably hide it with that.

I choose to disable adblock on all sites, and only block ads on websites I feel are not legit or are going overboard with the ads.

I choose to let sites do what they want with ads, since it is their site and their business plan/model. I also choose not to visit sites that have ads that I don't like.

This is unrealistic. Most sites I visit by following links without knowing in advance what their ads are like.

This is unrealistic. Most sites I visit by following links without knowing in advance what their ads are like.

Of course it's realistic. I've been doing it for years.

This is exactly what I do as well and it drives me nuts that it's not the default normal way that adblockers work.

Do you also use a "@@*$document,domain=~foo.com|~bar.com" filter in order to accomplish it?

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact