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Author Topic: Opera: The web browser I have been dying to love  (Read 3165 times)
Josh
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« on: December 28, 2011, 07:28:23 PM »

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?
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JavaJones
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2011, 08:03:01 PM »

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. Wink

- Oshyan
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2011, 10:12:54 PM »

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.
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NigelH
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2011, 10:13:54 PM »

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.

Opera 


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.
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cyberdiva
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2011, 10:43:14 PM »

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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MilesAhead
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2011, 01:10:15 AM »

I was curious about Opera but didn't want to pay for it. When it became free I used it quite a bit. One trick with browsers is, what's "bloated" now becomes "lean" a couple years later when the competition catches up with the bloat. I think I used 8.502 or something like that for years. I feel about Chromium now like I felt about Opera then. You could run it out of the box.  In Chromium I only have like 4 extensions enabled. The main thing that frosted me about Opera was stubborn ideas like expecting me to triple click the mouse to copy a line of text to the clipboard. Have they not heard of CTS??  Geez!!

Even now though, I can't do everything with Chromium. I have Firefox and Opera installed for those sites that don't work well in Chromium.  What I can do without is IE. Don't use it or anything based on the engine.
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hpearce
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2011, 07:24:17 AM »

Opera's extensions are much like chromes'... whcih in my view aren't significantly better and neither will proably ever be able to do what Firefox extensions do.

Opera is however higthly customizable with the INI interfaces although you need to learn how to use this feature. I also like opera because it supports email and IRC all together in one program.

Opera has recently started work on a 64 bit browser which I have tried and from my experience is very fast.
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2011, 08:52:57 AM »

Opera... divisive... I can't help but root for the underdog.

I'm using Opera and Chrome primarily now. Both are great, with minor issues. If I were to pick one right now, I'd have to say Chrome is in the lead, though not by much. It still seems like more sites work better with Chrome.

I find I am spending more time in Chrome though.

As for FF... ditched that long ago. I only use it very rarely now, and only with a special purpose.

IE is still my staple for a very small number of web sites where it simply works better than anything else. But, those aren't many.

Posting from Opera -- DC just seems faster in it. smiley
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Curt
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2011, 10:01:43 AM »

I often use Opera. As an example when I and my Fireox are on a homepage that doesn't behave like I expect it to, I will right-click and chose "Open in Opera", just to check. It was informative to read this thread and realize, Opera can be used for more things ;-)
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dantheman
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2011, 11:11:10 AM »

Josh,

I too have same feelings as you.

But! Opera's 12 Wahoo version is really good!  Thmbsup
The new mail client revamp is fantastic, the browser usually uses less system resources than all the other browsers (except for IE9) and it is snappy as can be at startup and page rendering!  Kiss

Extensions wise it's still lacking but a few like
http://www.moonlight21.com/opera-internal-pages
and http://www.similarsites.com/similarweb/
and the ability to add new search engines to the search box,
that, and little programs like http://www.clicktoapp.com/ i think i can be happy.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2012, 03:43:50 AM »

Opera has been my main browser for many years now - and apart from the occasional issue with some sites that don't support it, I use it for everything. Heck, when evaluating webapps, if they don't have Opera support I look for another one, period.

Things I really like
- tabs and sessions that just worked the way I would expect
- the easily added search options. I can highlight a word and search it in board game geek, my public library's catalog, DC etc. etc.
- reopening closed tabs
- search in history from the url bar
- the synchronised notes. I absolutely love the notes. I have tons of things in it, saved snippets from websites, reference information, often pasted bits of text (for "paste from note"), things I can never remember (such as affiliate ID or my computer specs or the list of games I already own in some form)
- keyboard control
- you can install, uninstall, enable or disable extensions without having to restart the browser. To me, that is extensions done properly Wink

It takes so much work to get firefox to work half as well as Opera does out of the box. Yes, there are far many more add ons available for firefox but what's the point nowadays when we have webapps and all?

Last year I had to work with 2 customers who have a google apps setup and in order to not constantly have the collision of the google IDs I started using firefox and chrome to have each browser focused on one client/project etc. Both are usable but in each I miss a lot of little touches and it takes a lot of add ons to get them back even in a partial manner!

Yes there are more extensions in Firefox but with version 10/11 Opera finally enabled a more integrated extension type and you can find some of the same extensions now. And

Extensions I use on Opera:
- ghostery
- lastpass
- pastebin
- cleanpages ("readability)
- persistenttext (saves form content automatically)
- Textarea resizer
- a couple web developer ones

extensions I wish for opera:
- diigo

That's actually it...
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yksyks
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2012, 05:39:15 AM »

I'm using Opera since version 3, with a short digression to Chrome, but now I'm safely back.

Auto-complete is an area that I have always felt opera has been lacking in.

I'd probably leave Opera for good without the AutoComplete extension.
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dantheman
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2012, 08:06:06 AM »

Although we take it for granted, Opera's wand is still pretty "magical"!  Kiss

In the line of wish lists for the New Year...
Feedly and CloudMagic would be nice additions.
Vote for Feedly dev. at http://www.getsatisfaction.com


Best wishes of prosperity and health to all the folks here at DCF!  cheesy



-btw, is there anyway to file new notes to a default folder or any other of personal choice?

« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 08:18:08 AM by dantheman » Logged
Babis
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2012, 10:04:07 AM »


- keyboard control


Hi, do you really find that opera enables more keyboard control than firefox?

This is a surprise for me. I consider firefox the most keyboard friendly browser.
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MilesAhead
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« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2012, 05:27:40 PM »

Of course the one feature that has always stood out that I've seen no other browser implement in satisfactory fashion, the automatic wrap of bookmarks toolbar or personal bar or whatever you wish to name the toolbar that has a bunch of bookmarks on it.

I've seen a bunch of modifications to FF configuration that supposedly will do it. But every one I've tried caused the browser to lose use of one of the scroll bars until restart.

It is kind of difficult to believe in all these decades of coding browsers nobody else can seem to get it right.  If you reduce the width of the window in Firefox, chromium, IE, etc.. you end up with that '>>>' on the right hand side instead of another row of bookmarks.  Really weird.

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Curt
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« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2012, 02:21:05 AM »

-that is why we use Tab Mix Plus   (on Firefox)

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iphigenie
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« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2012, 04:30:01 AM »


Hi, do you really find that opera enables more keyboard control than firefox?

This is a surprise for me. I consider firefox the most keyboard friendly browser.

I can hardly say I have made a fair comparison - it is very possible that FF has also great keyboard control now, I switched to Opera years ago and back then, well... I haven't looked for it or learned it in recent years when on FF.

I really wanted to love and use FF, it being almost free software (or get iceweasel etc.) but it evolved into something that just winds me up - so much of it just gets in the way (note that I have the same problem with many popular tools and systems, where the cool bits just get in the way of what I want to do and disrupt flow, it's by far not just FF). That mean I haven't made the effort to learn the current keyboard usage possibilities. Back then you had to combine 4 or 5 not-very-compatible add ons to get that. I'm sure it is way better now.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 04:41:10 AM by iphigenie » Logged
MilesAhead
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« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2012, 04:11:34 PM »

-that is why we use Tab Mix Plus   (on Firefox)



Does it adjust the bookmark toolbar? I didn't know there was anything that could do it on FF.
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