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To Opera or not to Opera



4:12 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Since joining this forum I have heard nothing but good things about Opera, but before that I just assumed Opera was for those techoguys and had nothing to do with me. I was always happy with Netscape, then switched and became a firm supporter of Explorer, and nowwould like to expand my horizons.

I looked at Opera's web site and I was hoping for some more unbiased opinions about this browser's advantages and disadvantages.



4:16 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have never been an Opera user, but the Opera 7 beta is pretty phenomenal - VERY fast rendering, tabbed views, mouse gestures (hard to give up once you're used to them), NO pop-ups, skins (available on earlier versions as well) and other neat stuff.

I'm anxiously awaiting the final release, and will gladly pay for it - although the ads are not at all annoying.


4:42 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Unbiased? You'll find very few of those. Opera users are fairly passionate about their browsers. Those that don't like it, seem to be just as passionate about it. There isn't a alot of middle ground.

v7 beta, some quirks yet and I wouldn't recommend it just yet. It has more work to get done and about two dozen options are grayed out. Additionally, I just don't care for v7 - it's flash over substance and it moves Opera far into the page designers realm and leaves it's user first roots behind.

v6 Pros: fairly solid and mega fast. The biggest thing is the awesome page-to-page surfing speed. shift-control-click increases my surf speed 3-5 times easily over bloated mozilla and the clumsy in-your-face/hassled-by-the-man IE.

Page control: don't like our choice of fonts? extend thumb out from mouse and press the + key on the num keypad to zoom up the font size.

Don't like our color choices? Tired of eye bleeding pages? CSS squint factor got you down? Just press the 'user mode' (control-g) button to rip out the css at any time.

Really don't want to expose your self to, embedded flash (press f12 turn it off), GIF animations (f12 turn em off), embedded noises, popups, groans, or other nasty IE aimed annoyances? Just toggle it all off, kick back and surf.

Viruses on your agenda? 3 minor holes in the history of Opera and each were fixed in 24hrs. You are never exposed to the onslaught of nastiness and depravity that infects IE and puts your whole system at risk. Throw your system resource zapping web virus scanner away - Opera's got your back.

Opera is also the only browser to respect your surfing privacy by allowing you to turn off referral strings. I've had them off for years. It's nice knowing I'm not leaving a trail to private info just laying around on the web anywhere.

The need for speed: My morning run of news sites is 32 pages. One single click on my bookmark menu "open all folder items" and that book mark branch is opened in 32 windows while I make coffee. All loaded up and ready to read when I get back. All that, and no spammed out task bar too boot.

shift-control-click (open page in background) will redefine how you surf. Rattle off 10 clicks on a search result and start shift-tabbing through the pages while the ones in the background load - no need to set and wait for things like you do in ie/nn. Your always on the move with opera. The "
still loading" phenomena of ie/nn is gone. I can do more with a 56k line and Opera than most guys can with ie and a t1.

If there were anyway to show you or tell you how much faster and productive Opera can make you, Opera would be the #1 browser on the net - no doubt about it. It's a better, faster, safer way to surf. There is just no way to experience it short of really learning to use the program and surf in a new way. An hour won't do it - a day won't do it; but in a week the power of shift-control-click will show itself and you'll be hooked.

I've had Moz guys over here to the ranch and they leave with their mouths open at how fast an opera pro can surf.

In IE/NN, you read - you click, and you wait for it too load. In opera, you read, you shift-control-click, and when done, you go to the next page - no wait time at all. While you are reading, you are loading the next click in the background. Highly addictive.

Mouse Gestures are also highly addictive and super productivity boosters.

v6 Downside:
Some of the newer dhtml doesn't always work (it's what v7 is addressing, but it's not ready yet).

There are a few other quirks here and there with a few pages. Just about any site owned by Microsoft (aint that funny) is going to make you jump through some hoops. All the ms sites (I feel/know it's intentional) throw up something trying to slow down Opera users.

Basically, all the major sites work excellent with Opera.
For my money, O-v6 is the best browser ever made. It's mega fast, it's mega secure, and it looks out for the user first.

Older thoughts...


4:43 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I haven't tried beta 7, but regularly use 6.05. How's the pop-up block on beta 7? I ask because the 6.05 pop-up blocked kills everything. The Mozilla pop-up blocker seems more configurable (better). Have they improved this?


4:54 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

v7 beta, some quirks yet and I wouldn't recommend it just yet.

Brett - While I would agree with the above (I have returned to IE :( for everyday browsing because of some incompatibility problems in Beta 7) I don't see the "flash over function" problem you describe. Of course, as I mentioned, this is the first version of Opera I have used - maybe I would feel the same if I were more familiar with its roots.

Not being familiar with its roots, I think the final (stable) version will blow away Netscape and IE.


5:12 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

>flash over function

colored forms + colored scroll bars + pretty glowing buttons = flash over function. This offers nothing to the user to help use web pages better or faster. It obfuscates them and takes the power of the browser out of the users hand sand turns it over to the page designer to do as they wish with your browser.


5:32 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I guess not having seen earlier versions, those glowing buttons load pages so fast that Beta 7 still looks like a huge improvement over IE and Netscape to me.

The benefit of being late to the Opera party, I imagine. I can get a lesser version of Opera and still think its the best thing to happen to web browsing since Mosaic ;) Every now and then a lack of perspective works out to my benefit :)


11:17 am on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

I probably would use it if I could find a way to have it work with my companys intranet (which I designed). It uses integrated NT-security and it doesn't seem like Opera supports it. It also seems like it doesn't like some of the javascript I have made (hover-functions in the menu at www.skogdata.no), and to be honest I have never really adjusted websites for Opera-users so I guess I have to blame myself...


1:14 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Best thing to do is download the free version and use it as your default for a month as a trial. Version 6.05 for Windows is fast enough that you will notice the time saved at the end of each day. I really like it on my Windows machine.

The Mac version still needs some work.


1:38 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I switched from IE to Opera about 8 months back, however, alot of the sites I use either don't work at all in Opera or certain necessary functionality doesn't work. I switched back about 6 weeks ago. As soon as sites start designing more for Opera I'll probably switch back.


p.s. Please don't swear. I don't like the NN words (N*tsc**e N***g**or) :)


1:44 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

After ruling out using Opera because of various JavaScript/DHTML/DOM problems for months, I was very impressed by the 2nd beta of version 7. It certainly is indeed the fastest browser, at least on my older P2-400 system.

However, the ads were the reason I decided to use Phoenix 0.5 instead.
It's a non-bloated, more user-friendly version of Mozilla, and together with the "Tabbed Browsing extensions" and "QuickPrefs" extensions, which you can install at the click of two buttons, it can do *everything* Brett listed for Opera, with no exception, AND it is free, has no ads and does fine with (standard-conform) DHTML.
My favorite Phoenix+TabbrowserExt function is: "Undo close tab", if you accidentally closed something too early.

You should really try out both Opera and Phoenix (download this version instead of the 0.5 release, it has some important bug fixes: build 2002-12-28 [ftp.mozilla.org] and get the extensions here [texturizer.net]), and then decide whether Opera's small speed advantage and the included mail client are enough to put up with the ads or pay for it.


2:55 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My wife uses Opera 6, and likes it quite well for a large subset of the reasons Brett mentioned. Personally, I use Galeon for all the same reasons. Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine deals with modern HTML and javascript better than Opera 6 does, though I have no doubt that will be fixed in Opera 7 when it finally leaves beta. Galeon's prudent removal of everything else in Mozilla makes it a faster and easier browser to use than Mozilla, which in my mind has a fancy cop-out instead of a user interface, though I still use it for the document model inspector and such things now and then.

Hopefully, Phoenix will/does bring simmilar features to Windows. I've liked what I saw of Phoenix so far, but I'm still happy to use Galeon on my Linux machine and reluctantly still using Mozilla as my primary browser on Win2k and work. (A place I should go visit now.) I may update Phoenix when I get there and give it another shot.

Opera 7 looks like it will be nice in a lot of ways, but I do think they've over-done a few things, like the behavior of the buttons when the mouse goes over them and such. Who knows - maybe users like that kind of stuff?


11:58 pm on Jan 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

from a developers view, like Mozilla, the cross-platform rendering is beautiful. No unexpected quirks as you move to a different OS.

One thing about the windows 6.x version though... regardless of the bugfixes, I always have some memory leaks that requires the occasional stop/restart. Hope v7 axes this problem.


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