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Opera - Shooting themselves in the foot?

Too many upgrades too soon?

     
6:37 pm on Sep 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I don't want to start another browser-war thread here... even though I'll use comparisons, so let's not do the predictable thing :)

Firstly, I like Opera - It's not my prime browser but I just wanted to straighten that out.

Some will argue that their market strength will come about because it's their core product and so can quickly churn out fixes/upgrades.

However, looking at the bigger picture I'm thinking that the quick succession of fixes/upgrades could, or is working against them.

Users in the wide world typically don't upgrade their browsers at the rate that Opera releases them.

Given that some of their older versions have rendering bugs, rapid and frequent releases simply means that there are numerous versions out there that're messing up our sites.

It's potentially adding - if it hasn't already - to confusion, ie... it's hard enough as it is to ascertain what will work in what browser and which version.

At least with the "drip-feed" upgrades offered by the likes of NN and M$ every few yrs, we, as designers/developers can invent/utilise workarounds with minimum fuss.

I dunno, I'm thinking it'd be better if all that had to be worried about was whether the site, and hacks, worked on IE, NN, Moz and Opera rather then the plethora of Opera releases <-- Simple comparison for sake of discussion.

All these new browsers coming onto the market lately just make me more paranoid.

7:29 pm on Sept 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I understand where you're coming from. Typically the initial release of any major upgrade of software (eg v1.xx to v2.xx) is wrought with bugs and I tend to avoid the initial upgrade.

That being said, the minor upgrades (eg. v1.01 to v1.02) are typically worth doing as they address the bugs and optimize the code to be more efficient based on user feedback and other performance testing.

I use Opera as my primary browser and it is something of a hassle to keep upgrading - but not really. I like the browser and I find the upgrades are worth the effort though I can see how someone less comfortable with software upgrading could feel a bit more intimidated or put-off.

1:10 am on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My impression is that most (most) of the type of people who use Opera are also the type who like to keep their software updated. But that's just IMHO.
2:38 am on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Good point TGecho. That's very true in my case. You could even go so far as to say that anyone who has even considered using Opera is probably a person with a bit more inclination to keep their software up to date. ;)
2:56 am on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I look forward to the Opera upgrades, that's what I'm paying them for. The only Opera upgrade that was even slightly disruptive and time consuming was the jump from 6.x to 7.x but that was because old settings didn't automatically carry over.
2:19 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So, what you're saying is that you prefer that browsers evolve very slowly (IE), so you've got the time to identify the bugs and create fixes for them in your html/css?
(Like Tantek's box model hack: [tantek.com...] )

I prefer the Opera way: Fix the bugs as fast as possible, and let the developers consentrate on creating standards compliant html/css, not workarounds for bugs.

3:10 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I prefer the Opera way: Fix the bugs as fast as possible, and let the developers consentrate on creating standards compliant html/css, not workarounds for bugs.

I can see why you/designers/developers/I like that idea but what I'm saying is if Opera want to become a mainstream browser, then all the frequent updates/fixes etc... can thwart the progress to standards compliancy because your everyday casual surfer - that doesn't follow the trends as we do in the "community" - will more likely have a version that doesn't fully comply... meaning that there's more fixes/hacks for us to worry about, not less.

It's a double-edged sword really.

3:46 pm on Sept 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The problem with bugs and erroneous rendering is partially caused because the rendering engines in any browser are not incrementally updatable.

Imagine the advantage we'd all have if:

1. Whatever browser you are using, it offers to download the latest version of its rendering engine once a week or so -- and that download, being an incremental fix, is a small file. We'd pretty much all have up-to-date renderers with almost no effort.

2. There was a metatag that really buggy (or browser specific) pages can set to say "I only look good if rendered by IE 5.5 renderer dated 18/jan/2001 or earlier" (There'd be a metatag entry, if necessary, for each major browser).

If a page wants a renderer you don't yet have, that would trigger a download request.

All pages would look good at almost all times.