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Work on the next version of Opera is progressing according to news group reports. The biggest addition is that of Unicode. With that addition, all "feature gaps" between Opera and ie/netscape are finally closed. In fact, the "feature gap" will now go the other way with ie/nn missing many core user features Opera provides. With work on the Opera ports to Linux, Mac, and portable devices, nearing fruitiion, Opera very well could be the #2 browser on the net before the end of the year. The next release will be the Opera Comes of Age version we've been waiting for.
When do you reckon joe bloggs website designer will start writing sites geared towards Opera as well as the other, as i come across a few sites that are not written with opera in mind, and unfortunately i have to switch over to NN, to read it.
Though i personally write universally for Opera, IE and NN v.3 and above.
Maybe never? One of the problems afflicting web design is the need to design to accommodate multiple technologies - different screen resolutions, various browsers, different versions of the same browser, different script and cookie options settings, etc.
In looking at my logs, I've been pleased to see that the influence of Netscape is waning - not because I want to see Microsoft dominate the world, but because if browser makers can't agree on what a page looks like, I'd just as soon there be only one flavor. If Opera wants to take off, they should do what Compaq did years ago - make sure that stuff runs the same as on the industry leader, and THEN start improving things and adding features.
No doubt some of you remember when software for PCs actually came in different versions for different equipment brands. It wasn't until an absolutely clear industry standard was established (so-called IBM-compatibility) that the market took off. Several compatible-makers ended up eclipsing IBM itself. If Opera wants to carve out a major niche, they should start by displaying pages just like IE, which is now the default browser that most webmasters design for.
>make sure that stuff runs the same as on the industry leader
A year ago that was absolutly true. The old Opera 4 wasn't the best at compatability. However, they have come so far in that regard, that it is almost a nonissue now (especially after the next release with some critical updates).