Opera – The Browser, Not the Loud Wailing Thing..

The more I delve into all the glory that is web development, the better appreciation I seem to get for different browsers. My once-flawless image of FireFox has been shattered, lack of standards across ALL (yes boys and girls they are all breaking rules somewhere along the line) the majors (IE, Safari, FireFox) and generally just the mess that is support for “basic” features as well as usability.

Following a Facebook discussion the other day with a friend, Opera came up. Now, I have known for a while that Opera has excellent standards support, but I never really used it. I don’t know why that is, maybe its because no-one else I know uses it. Maybe it’s just because I am an idiot.

So, it popped in my head today because the guys at Opera have just released version 9.5, so I dived on the download.

All I can say is Opera, I am so very sorry. Why the hell did it take me so long?

Yes, I am still VERY fresh to it, but my initial impression is pretty much “wow”. Here’s the main points I have so far:

  • “Speed Dial” is a great idea and works very well.
  • Speed, speed, speed. Page renders are fast, and the indexing of addresses/searches etc is also instant.
  • It sports a nice clean UI that’s easy on the eyes.
  • The gadgets are cool and work really well.
  • There are tons of features for me to play with, a lot of which look like I may actually use them.
  • Integrated torrent downloading. I don’t download torrents often, but having it in-browser is a great way to get more people onto the much better, distributed file-transfer system. We need to reduce the load on the web servers, both for them, and us.
  • Undo support seems to be everywhere, everything I delete seems to be stored in a trash can so I can get it back if I need to.#
  • The keyword-search-address thing is a nice touch (e.g. “g cantgrokwontgrok” in the address bar will Google “cantgrokwontgrok”).
  • Password save prompts appear and stay until AFTER logging in, there is nothing more annoying then entering your user and pass, saving it, then being told its wrong. I know FF3 will change the way it does this, not sure how IE8 will handle it (need to check).
  • Form TextBoxes, buttons and other UI elements render nicely within the browser.

And my (few) annoyances:

  • F6 doesn’t take you to the address bar. All the other major browsers have a common set of shortcut keys, and I am a believer in having at least some common UI across software. I then had to Google to find out what the hotkey was since it wasn’t listed in the shortcut keys within help (FYI, its “F2”).
  • I never got an option to set it to default browser, and I couldn’t seem to find the option to do so within preferences. I ended up doing it manually by right-clicking the start menu and customising. I admire them for not ramming it down your through, but it was several extra clicks that you could have saved me.
  • That is all!

So yeah, a very positive first encounter, lets see if it continues!

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  1. Interesting to see this followed by your disappointment that you can't hook it up to applications of your choice. An interesting breakdown of interoperability.

    PS: The only problem with having the Twitter on your new blog's posts is that when Twitter is down or overloaded, sometimes the posts simply never render.


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