Quero Toolbar IE add-on

Windows 8 is heading towards a new direction and so does Quero. I have installed the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 and I am porting the Quero bar to the upcoming IE10 on the Desktop now.

Here is a screenshot of Quero Toolbar 7 on Windows 8 in the new Windows Basic Metro Look:

Quero in IE10 / Windows 8 Consumer Preview

So IE10 on the Desktop will still support add-ons including Quero :) but in the long run Microsoft unfortunately plans to completely abandon add-ons from Internet Explorer, which is already the case in Metro IE :/ I appreciate IE's commitment to Web standards, but it is a pity that IE will not be as customizable any more, or will it?

Actually, there are two versions of IE on Windows 8:

IE10 Metro is the new version that runs on the Metro interface and is primarly designed for tablets and touch input. IE10 Metro does not support any add-ons or plug-ins, meaning no Silverlight, no Flash, but also no toolbars and no browser add-ons.

IE10 on the Desktop, however, is an upgraded version of IE9 and will still support plug-ins and add-ons, including Quero :) IE10 will also for the first time consolidate both 32 and 64-bit IE into a mixed 32/64 bit application (did not believe that this is possible, but it is ;) Unfortunately the Consumer Preview lacks the option from the Developer Preview to switch the IE tabs to 64-bit mode. Wondering, if this will come till RTM.

While I love the 1980s-flavored Metro design (which I already know from Zune HD, WP7 and Xbox), I have concerns about the full-screen start menu for desktop mouse users and have to admit that I miss the visible start button and start menu.

And what about Quero AdBlock IE10 TPL?

IE10 continues to support Tracking Protection Lists and so the Quero AdBlock IE TPL is already compatible with IE10.

Quero for Win 8 coming soon.

Adblock Plus, the ad blocking project for Firefox and Chrome, is currently undergoing an interesting but also very controversial discussion about automatically allowing "acceptable ads" (that have been previously blocked).

Question is what are "acceptable ads" (non moving static ads) but also do advertisers/web site owners need to pay for getting whitelisted?

If so, I would regard this practise as corrupt and unethical.

If it is done in a transparent, non-commercial way, I will consider implementing these changes in the Quero project as well.

The goal of this project is not to kill advertising, but to empower users to fight advertisers, who are misusing the technology to track and obscure users, and keep the ecosystem of the Web in balance.

Follow the discussion in the Adblock Plus Forum.

See how ad blocking works in Internet Explorer.

Executive Summary: full IE9 support added, improved "Hide Flash ads", new TPL-based ad blocker released, to replace the address bar with Quero, click on Quero > Options > Appearance, enable "IE navigation bar", disable "IE9 address box".

IE FishIE Tank Demo with Quero Toolbar 6

This toolbar update is a major milestone in the development of Quero, it brings now full support for Internet Explorer 9, includes a new elegant way to block annoying ads in IE9, got a fresh new toolbar design, and integrates even more time savers.

This is a twin release together with Quero AdBlock IE TPL. Read on the blog entry below more about the new Quero ad blocker.

Here is the complete feature list of the Quero Toolbar 6:

  • Full IE9 support added (now also supports dragging tabs to another window)
  • Fresh new toolbar design (new button design and search engine drop-down list updated)
  • IE9: Tabs on top on a separate line
  • IE9: Display the page title in IE9's title bar option added
  • IE9: Every pixel counts! the new Aero based layout reduces the height of the overall toolbar area by 5 pixels compared to IE9 Beta and Quero Toolbar 5.1
  • IE9 Flash Hider (selectively hides Flash ads, allowing embedded video players from YouTube and Vimeo)
  • Up one level: quickly navigate one level up by right-clicking on the Quero box (Ctrl+Backspace)
  • New text highlighting option: use different colors
  • New Keyboard shortcuts: F4 and Ctrl+L to focus the Quero box (in addition to Ctrl+Q), note: Ctrl+L toggles between search and navigation mode, Ctrl+Backspace to go one level up
  • Search profiles cleaned up, added profile for China

Thank you for all the feedback encouraging me to continue the project, and I am very glad that I finally found a way to make Quero compatible with IE9 :)

Quero Toolbar 6 forum discussion

IE Tracking Protection

Here is the new ad blocking Tracking Protection List for IE9. To get an effictive ad filter in IE9 I recommend using it together with Quero Toolbar 6 Flash Hider (see blog entry above).

This release is a major change to the previous ad blocker, which was part of the Quero Toolbar, leveraging a new built-in feature of IE9 now.

The change was necessary since I wanted to say goodbye to the old hacks (which did not conform to the new IE add-on guidelines anyway), and starting with IE9 the IE team is now offering an improved content filter, called Tracking Protection, which allowed me to make this transistion.

One limitation of Tracking Protection is however, that it does not block 1st-party content, i.e. content coming from the same domain as the Web site. To mitigate this limitation, I have now also improved the Quero Flash hider. It now selectively hides Flash animations, allowing embedded video players by default. This element hiding technique can also be improved in the future to hide other annoying content from Web pages, which is not possible by a mere URL-based filtering approach.

AdBlock IE TPL forum discussion

Hi, you can now connect via Facebook and get the latest news on the Quero front. I am now preparing the next release of the Quero Toolbar for IE9 and would be glad to keep you updated via Facebook. See you on my Quero Page.

IE InPrivate Filtering

Eric Lawrence from the IE team has recently covered all the ad blocking options available in Internet Explorer so far, and there are a lot :) Every solution, however, has its own pros and cons, and limitations. While Quero did a great job for IE6 till IE8, there is a demand for improvement in IE9 as posted before.

Quero users have the choice to use the Quero Ad Blocker option together with the new IE9 Flash blocker introduced in Quero 5.1.

The downside of this approach is that some content (which is dynamically created by JavaScript) is downloaded first, before it is hidden by Quero.

I have experimented with another option relying on the somewhat unkown but powerful IE8 feature InPrivate Filtering, which will be improved and called Tracking Protection in IE9. As of today, I am making an XML-based Ad Blocker available for Internet Explorer users, which can be used even without any add-ons.

It is based on Firefox Adblock Plus extension and its most popular filter subscription EasyList. I have optimized it to work with IE and am committed to make updates to it as necessary.

Adblock is based on an URL filtering list and selectively filters Flash animations and ads. You can use it in combination with Quero's Flash filter, if you like, which hides all Flash objects by default.

Unfortunately, the implementation of InPrivate Filtering has some bugs as I found out today. Not all content is blocked as it should be. I am trying to contact the IE team on this issue. You can download the new AdBlock IE XML here and I wish you happy and hassle-free browsing!

Update: Further research has revealed that InPrivate Filtering is not capable of blocking content from within the same domain as the Web site, which is unfortunate but better than nothing. It seems to be a limitation by design of InPrivate Filtering. So it's a feature not a bug ;)

AdBlock IE XML forum discussion

IE9 with the IE for Mac Quero Theme:

Internet Explorer for Mac Theme for IE9

Internet Explorer for Mac was a by-product of the first browser war in the middle and late 1990ties, when Microsoft actively ported their new Windows-based Web browser Internet Explorer to other platforms including Mac OS and OS X, Solaris, HP-UX and to Microsoft's own mobile operating system Windows CE.

IE for Mac also became the default browser on Macs as a result of the Apple–Microsoft deal in 1997, and was by that time a competitive browser, in some aspects even better than his big brother IE6 on Windows. IE5 for Mac supported transparent PNG, had a superior CSS engine and a fresh and light user interface, but was eventually discontinued in 2003.

I was asked to create a theme for Quero resembling the old IE for Mac look and feel. Since I never owned a Mac personally, I based it on some screenshots and found a video on YouTube, which I used to recreate the original button hover effect.

Download: IE Mac Theme for Quero

Install instructions: Quero Toolbar required, download the file into your Quero install directory, open IE > Quero > Options > Appearance and specify the location of the Quero Theme file.

I have posted a tutorial in the forum how to add the W3C validator and a PageRank query to Quero.

Executive summary: limited time to work on the project, experimental version for IE9 released, after upgrading go to Quero > Options > Appearance: enable IE navigation bar, disable IE9 address box / navigation buttons.

Quero Toolbar in IE9

Hi, I would like to post a status update about Quero, since IE9 Beta was released on September 15th 2010. I received several emails asking me about the current state of the project.

I made some personal changes last year. I moved away from my previous developing/research job in IT to begin something completeley new in the space of fashion and art :)

Since Quero has always been more or less a spare time (night) and research project for me, I have now only limited time to devote to it, and regarding the recent race (war) in Web browser development, I thought it was wise to move forward and to focus on my new project.

Additionally, I am quite impressed about IE9, what I have seen so far, Internet Explorer has advanced a great step forward, including full standard support (for html5, css3, svg, canvas, video), full hardware acceleration and a completely new, fast JavaScript engine.

Finally, IE has now adopted, what Quero did for the last six years, combining the address and search box into ONE box, a logical and highly anticipated step in my opinion :)

Also advertising has changed: not all commercial Web sites are that bad any more, some sites such as Facebook use intelligent unobtrusive ads, others have found new forms to monetize their content, ...

However, I am very glad to announce that I found a way to make Quero compatible with IE9 Beta 1 with the following update:

Quero Toolbar 5.1 released

  • experimental support for IE9 Beta added
  • after upgrading go to Quero > Options > Appearance, enable IE navigation bar, disable IE9 address box / navigation buttons.
  • new IE9-compatible Flash blocker: hides all Flash objects after the site has loaded (shortcut Ctrl+Del).

I have decided to move away from the ugly hack that was necessary to build the content and ad filter in previous versions. The code is still there, but does not work 100% in IE9 because of the new JavaScript enigne, not all script commands are filtered.

You can now (additionally) enable Hide Flash (it is now a toggle switch like the other ad blocking options). The beauty of the old/new Hide Ads approach is, that it is solely based on standardized APIs and could also be developed further to filter out other undesireable content in a Greasemonkey-style fashion. The disadvantage is that the content is downloaded first and appears on the page for a short time before it can be detected and hidden.

Developing Quero was so exciting for me. I would like to thank you for supporting me and giving encouraging feedback :) Just in case you missed the news, Quero is an open source project and can be reused, modified and improved by everyone under the GPL license.

IE9, Quero Toolbar 5.1 forum discussion

The IE team has recently published a set of new guidelines for add-on developers, which forbid for example to change the default search provider without user consent.

While it is a good thing to keep the user in control, I am afraid the guidelines may be too restrictive, because they basically do not allow to replace or enhance existing IE features any more. However, I think that there are legitimate scenarios for doing so.

I had a friendly conference call with Microsoft informing me about the new guidelines and actions I need to take in order to comply with the guidelines. I have now made two changes to the default settings and hope that the new version will be accepted by Microsoft.

Version 5.0.0.5

  • On installation Quero does not hide the IE navigation bar any more
  • The toolbar close button is now accessible by default

I would be interested in what you think about the new guidelines and opened a discussion in the forum.

Update 2010-06-19: Version 5.0.0.5 has been approved by the IE team :)