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Opera: The web browser I have been dying to love

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OK, first, a little background. I have been toying with browsers, as have many of the users here, for many years. I owned a license to the Opera web browser back when it was payware and back before tabbed browsing existed outside of opera/netcaptor.

For some time, I have been dying to make opera my primary web browser. It works well, it has a lot of customizability (for certain aspects), and even recently has garnered extension support and supports roboform/lastpass.

With that said, I have been unable to switch for a number of reasons. First, and foremost, is the lack of usability in the extension system. Extensions are there, and this is a good thing, but I feel that it was done in a very poor manner. Most of the extensions ported to opera lack the full functionality in competing browsers.

Auto-complete is an area that I have always felt opera has been lacking in. Yes, you have the ability to use the notes fields for auto-complete, but that is not a substitute for real auto-complete which remembers text typed into fields with various labels. There are times where auto-complete has saved me a lot of time to find some piece of off the wall information I filled in some time ago, like an old account number I thought I would never need again.

Website support is an issue that is two-hatted. Yes, there are some sites which outright block opera, and then there are some which render differently in opera. However, as an end user, where does the fix action lie? Yes, it would be nice if every developer coded to standards, but alas, I doubt we will see this happen any time soon. New standards are released quite often and to keep abreast of them takes time. That said, I feel that if other browsers can render content in a manner which allows websites to function, why shouldn't opera? As an end-user, I should not have to worry about whether or not the website is to blame or the browser is. It should, to take a phrase from Apple, "Just work".

All that said, I feel that opera has a lot of strengths. It is very quick and offers a lot of good functionality, all packaged into a single executable. But, alas, it is the browser that has remained one I have been dying to love, but simply can't due to many nagging little issues (on top of what I listed above, those are just the key ones which crop up very often).

I would be interested to hear everyone's opinions on this piece of software. Thoughts? Comments? Concerns? Existential Quandaries?

I don't have much to add, I feel pretty similarly to you. Over the years I've made it my primary browser for some period of time, in one case up to a year I think, but it has never totally "stuck". I eventually run into some problem I can't just leave alone and decide to switch, or some new browser comes out that seems better (e.g. Chrome, the last time I switched away).

I actually haven't given the latest versions of Opera a try for a while, but I'm pretty happy with Chrome and don't really have the time to tinker for tinkering's sake, though I might like to. I know that means I could be missing out on some great stuff in Opera, and to this day I still feel it might have the best overall "feel" of cohesiveness and feature stability (as in they don't change things capriciously/arbitrarily/stupidly with each new version as Firefox lately, and Chrome to a lesser degree has been - Chrome, why is the new tab page SO FUCKING STUPID now?). But still with the support that Chrome and FF have together due to their much larger user bases, it's inevitable that actual page rendering works better in one or both of those, and in the end that's most of what browsing the Internet is about.

*Ahem*, so yeah, not much to add. ;)

- Oshyan

I like Opera's agility and speed when I'm browsing or posting to forums.

But I just can't rationalize myself into switching over to it for everything - no matter how much I want to - for many of the reasons listed above.

I'm guessing that unless they get all the quirks ironed out - and maybe introduce some 'can't live without' capability - Opera is ultimately destined to suffer a long slow passage into obscurity and abandonment.

I'll throw in my 2c here.

Been using Opera since 2.1 in 1998.
There are things (some of them mentioned in this thread) that do frustrate me, but none of them even remotely make me consider switching to FF or Chrome

So then I need use FF again and pretty soon I'm ready to shout in frustration.
I use FF only because of DownThemAll and that only because of it's capability to rename PDFs using the link's text label instead of the filename.


My favorite anecdote (not that it means all that much these days).

On dial-up (1998), opened IE , typed in url, pressed enter and waited.
Started Opera, typed in url, pressed enter, got full page.
Switched to IE - still waiting for full page to load.
This on many sites, not just one.

Opera - still making other browsers feel glacial.

Thanks, Josh, for saying so many things that I too have thought for a long time.  I started using Opera back in version 3, I think, and for years it was my default browser, even though other browsers were free and Opera at that time was not.  But more and more sites didn't really work well in Opera.  The company and the fanboys always insisted that the problem was that the sites used bad code.  That excuse became pretty tired after a while.  I finally decided that a browser that rendered most sites well was worth more to me than one that insisted on code purity, and I switched to Firefox as my default.  I've still kept Opera on my computers, but Firefox's add-ons have given me increasing numbers of reasons to stay with Firefox, even though Opera always feels faster and more agile.  Today, any time I'm tempted to switch, I think of the add-ons that I depend on and couldn't use, such as Lazarus and the add-on for Surfulater.  I've written to the developers of both of those add-ons, but both have told me that Opera's market share is simply too small to warrant the amount of work it would take for them to create an add-on.  And so I stay with Firefox.


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