Wallflower: Un-Socializing Your Web

I was looking at about:memory and noticed entries for Facebook and Google+ URLs, even though I didn’t have either open. I figured they were probably from the social buttonry that decorates the web these days. No big deal… except they were taking up a bunch of memory! The Facebook button was using over 20mb and the Google+ button was taking over 40mb!

I have never clicked either of these buttons.

So I wrote Wallflower, a simple Firefox add-on (restartless of course) that removes these buttons from any page your browse to, saving your precious memory, CPU and battery life for the content you actually want.

Install Wallflower.

View the source code on Github.

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50 Comments on “Wallflower: Un-Socializing Your Web”

  1. dria says:

    I read “social buttonry” as “social buffoonery” and was struck by the appropriateness of that phrase :)

  2. David Dahl says:

    good stuff!

  3. funnybit says:

    Awesome work, thanks! Will be available the code?

  4. Awesome. This sounds like a problem that will only get bigger with time. Will future Firefox versions integrate an opt-in service for these resource suckers?

    • At first glance, this doesn’t feel like a Firefox core feature to me. But from the feedback so far, wouldn’t be surprised if a community grew up around finding and adding new things to block!

  5. Aki says:

    Not only resource-hungry, but also privacy-invasive.

  6. Robert O'Callahan says:

    That’s good, but we also need to reduce the memory usage of those buttons! Please file a Memshrink bug on that.

  7. Justin Dolske says:

    I wanted to +1 this, but there’s no button on the page!

  8. [...] (on a similar topic) Wall flower [...]

  9. Benoit Jacob says:

    Thanks! I’m too asocial for facebook anyway so I’m installing your add-on right away.

  10. Cool dietrich, this is one of those addons that I really wanted, the perfect companion to disabling 3rd party cookies :)

  11. Lozzy says:

    I share your sentiments and rather dislike all these ‘like’ buttons. For me, it’s both the privacy and wastage concerns I worry about.

    So far, I don’t think I’ve found a truly effective way to counteract these (‘these’ meaning social interaction buttons and anything else that is served in an iframe from a social network; think Facebook comment threads). At the moment I’m using an ‘Antisocal’ list with ABP, though I do wonder if going the sledgehammer route and NoScript blocking all iframes might be the way.

  12. njn says:

    RoC: they use lots of memory because they involve tons of JS.

  13. Philip Chee says:

    Ironically there is a floating animated advertisement for an ipad2 in this blog post.

    |return window.location != window.parent.location ? true : false;|

    Um? Seriously dude?

    Phil

    • > Ironically there is a floating animated
      > advertisement for an ipad2 in this blog post.

      weird, i don’t see it.

      > |return window.location !=
      > window.parent.location ? true : false;|
      >
      > Um? Seriously dude?

      lol. i didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.

  14. [...] träge. Zumindest beim Firefox ist das so. Zu diesem Zweck gibt es ganz frisch die Erweiterung Wallflower. Sie erkennt Facebook- und Google +1-Buttons und verbirgt diese. Die Erweiterung ist erst ganz neu [...]

  15. James says:

    brillant – there really should be a way to opt-out of those buttons. thanks

  16. Nigel says:

    Not sure if this works on all sites.

    Though showed the about memory – shame that when you press the minimize memory button more than three times, the result is an increase in memory needed

  17. guest poster says:

    wondering, if this makes sense. so how much memory takes this extension wallflower then instead of having the buttons? also great to post your stuff on your wordpressblog full of the socialnetworking filth. your page has more buttons than your extension is capable of blocking.

    now thats intelligent. duh. please try harder next time. this posting of yours is either a total fake, a flamebait or seriously delusional.

    also: about memory, are these buttons only once in memory as a footprint or multiple times? maybe then your extension actually might make a slight difference if they were being kept over and over in memory space. but not that much.

    the web, and html5 efforts dont help it, is full of filth, social and advertisement bloat you name it. its way too late. if i am not watching videos, i am all happy with text, and now just do a rough estimate of what percentage of todays websites the text area is left with and what all the banners, buttons, filthy syndicated stuff and all of this scum makes up.

    you bet. the real actual content is down at single digit percentage these days. now go figure.

    why thank you.

  18. robcee says:

    Why doesn’t this page have a +1 on it? I want to +1 it. Also, “Like”.

  19. robcee says:

    …and, had I read the new comments, I’d have seen Dolske already said that. Gold Star.

  20. If you’re running AdBlock you can add the url/path to the FB buttons and other widgets and never see them again. What you see in place of the widgets is the animated loading gif, which loads forever :)

    Block:
    http://www.facebook.com/plugins/*
    http://www.facebook.com/connect/*
    http://www.facebook.com/widgets/*
    http://www.connect.facebook.com/*

  21. pd says:

    I’d like to see a -1 button against “I want to +1 this page” comments :)

    Please inform the people behind WebIntents that this post has attracted quite some attention. There must be a way to selectively disable all of these WebIntents they are proposing to develop. BTW why not just call the WebActions?

    Meanwhile in case the nasties at zuckerland and co get creative and start putting these little bugs inside Flash tags or take other nefaerious tactics, blocking these domains in NoScript is probably a more comprehensive solution. You do need to get into the NoScript Options and tick “Forbid <IFRAME> under the Embeddings tab in the “Additional restrictions for untrusted sites” section. Then flag the various source domains for these bugs as untrusted.

  22. [...] Dietrich recently posted about the memory usage of social plugins, and I found the results rather surprising because, at least in the case of Facebook, I didn’t think it ever loaded enough code to consume 20+MB of memory. [...]

  23. euterpe says:

    Instead of writing a custom add-on, you can simply use Adblock Plus with the Antisocial subscription.

  24. ignorante says:

    You know where those saved megabytes of RAM are really gold? In the mobile version. Is it too hard to make it installable in Firefox Mobile?

  25. ignorante says:

    Sorry for commenting again, but some social plugins are not frames so they are still being loaded:

    2.64 MB (01.27%) — compartment(http://www.facebook.com/plugins/likebox….)
    1.62 MB (00.77%) — compartment(http://platform.twitter.com/widgets/foll…)

    I was really interested in writting an extension that cancelled requests to the URLs where the social networks js code comes from, but I could not find a way to do that using jetpack.

  26. Ralf says:

    lol, why don’t you start with removing the offensive buttons from your own site?

  27. [...] add-on took about 10 minutes to write,” Ayala said in an e-mail to CNET and mentioned in a comment on his blog announcing the add-on that it is not intended to be track-free browsing. [...]

  28. [...] add-on took about 10 minutes to write,” Ayala said in an e-mail to CNET and mentioned in a comment on his blog announcing the add-on that it is not intended to be track-free browsing. [...]

  29. [...] add-on took about 10 minutes to write,” Ayala said in an e-mail to CNET and mentioned in a comment on his blog announcing the add-on that it is not intended to be track-free browsing. “Wallflower [...]

  30. [...] add-on took about 10 minutes to write,” Ayala said in an e-mail to CNET and mentioned in a comment on his blog announcing the add-on that it is not intended to be track-free browsing. [...]

  31. [...] add-on took about 10 minutes to write," Ayala said in an e-mail to CNET and mentioned in a comment on his blog announcing the add-on that it is not intended to be track-free browsing. "Wallflower is [...]

  32. [...] add-on took about 10 minutes to write,” Ayala said in an e-mail to CNET and mentioned in a comment on his blog announcing the add-on that it is not intended to be track-free browsing. [...]

  33. Breaks the ‘Back’ button on some sites. Other than that, pretty nifty.

  34. [...] add-on took about 10 minutes to write,” Ayala said in an e-mail to CNET and mentioned in a comment on his blog announcing the add-on that i… [Read more] This entry was posted in [...]

  35. [...] 10 minutes to write,” Ayala said in an e-mail to CNET and mentioned in a comment on his blog announcing the add-on that it is [...]

  36. is it possible to make wllflower work with ff 3.6.xx? Thanks in advance. i tried to disable the version check but no luck.

  37. [...] add-on took about 10 minutes to write,” Ayala said in an e-mail to CNET and mentioned in a comment on his blog announcing the add-on that it is not intended to be track-free browsing. [...]

  38. Stefan Arentz says:

    This is great. Can you also block the LinkedIn buttons? For an example, check for example the CNet article at http://cnet.co/ofDvRp The button is right at the buttom next to Twitter and Facebook.

  39. raju rajun says:

    good stuff. thanks for sharing.

  40. [...] external servers. These are the culprits of long load times, unreliable features, and visitor frustration. I (along with many others) think that there is a better way to provide easy [...]


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