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Author Topic: Browser discussion  (Read 4908 times)

Josh

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Browser discussion
« on: June 19, 2006, 01:07:15 PM »
OK folks, after writing a fairly lengthy review at betanews http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/945720329/1, and getting a VERY nice reply review by JavaJones, I have decided to start a topic so that we can discuss browsers in general. Should it be a browser dev's job to force features on users and decide what is best for the end user security (by limiting 3rd party compatibility, settings within the browser, etc)? Should browsers fix page rendering issues internally or continue to press pages to fix the code they use?
 

Here are the two posts that both myself (Metshrine on betanews) and JavaJones (JavaJones on betanews) made over at the review thread.

Java, if you see this, could you add a link to this post at the bottom of your review? Thanks!

I will be posting a link to this thread in my review on betanews, if you post there, I encourage you to do the same to promote more users to join here and discuss

Quote from: Metshrine
Patel, starting off your review by insulting people (telling someone to grow up because they dont share your view is an insult) is not going to make your review look any more credible.

You say that a user should not rate it bad because a site doesnt work with it. Tell me, does an end user (NON TECH) care about web standards or whether or not a page is feeding opera different code? No, they only care that their pages work. If a page doesnt work, I think every user has a right to rate it bad because of this. The browser doesnt allow them to do what they want to do, browse that page, and as such points SHOULD be deducted. No piece of software should get a 5/5 just because of its history, but only because of how it performs in its CURRENT STATE.

Tell me, is an average home user going to care about web standards being the reason for their pages not working? NO, the average user is just going to know "My pages dont work in opera, but they do in IE, or in Firefox. Why should I use this if the pages I use dont work in it?"

To TechGuy22

"First off users who complain about web pages not displaying properly should know more about the root causes and what opera is doing to fix them. http://operawatch.co...ty.html?pollresult=1"

As I said above, us tech users (or advanced users) will understand the root of the problem, but the average home user will not. As said on the URL you provided, the main problem seems to be more that opera cannot handle the webpages that are serving the same code regardless of the browser (which I can verify, with various sites I use, is the problem for a majority of sites).

Opera has added widgets in Opera 9 beta which is similar to FF’s extensions. Opera is also the fastest browser available today take a look. http://www.howtocreate.c...wserSpeed.html#winspeed

Wrong, extensions are NOTHING like widgets. Widgets are designed to provide external use of the browser on the desktop, not provide functionality that is missing IN THE BROWSER. An extension does just that "Extends the browsers functionality". A widget allows the user to use the browsers engine to render objects on their desktop that dont require the browser's main window. Please, before you post, learn what exactly you are talking about. If Opera supported "Extensions" or "Addons", something IE and FF have supported since their inception, I believe opera would gain a whole lot more userbase. But, they CHOOSE to remain closed to 3rd parties because of security. As I've said in many past reviews, security is all well and good until it starts to affect functionality. Yes, the browser can do what its programmed to do, but if you are limiting the end user to what is included with the browser and telling them they cant addon to it, I dont forsee many users switching. Most users are content in the way they browse, they dont care that you can type "g searchstring" or use the google search bar to search, they know their google toolbar, they know it works, and they dont want to change (especially a home user). I've run into this many times on PC's I've built for users who have wondered why their favorite addon doesnt work.

Also if you do not think Opera is a great browser took a look at this review.
http://www.softpedia.com...Java-Review-14620.shtml


Why should I care about someone elses review? Please, explain that to me? I dont care if someone else rates a browser highly, if it doesnt do what I want it to, or doesnt work on sites I visit, I will rate it accordingly and for anyone to tell me I am wrong in doing so, obviously is closed minded to any other users opinions (as is the case in most fan boys of all browsers, Firefox, IE and Opera).

_________________________________________________

Opera is a browser that shows lots of promise. Aside from the rampant number of pages that cant be displayed (PROPERLY), be it due to being passed different code, or the browser just not rendering the same code appropriately, it does happen and it does happen more than I would like. Aside from that, Opera is a great browser, but its not without its faults.

Opera also fails to support many features that I use on a daily basis in other browsers.

1. Autocomplete. Opera has no way to remember previously typed entries in text fields on various sites. Again, this is due to their stance on security, but I feel this is something that should be included as even the most basic and obscure web browser solutions support this feature.

2. Form Filling. Opera supports form filling but in a very primative and tedious way. Yes, its there, but its nowhere near up to par with what it could be. Proper form filling would require the above auto-complete feature as well, so that the user could fill from previously typed entries. Yes, you can use notes, but who wants to type all of their terms into a note before they actually get to use them?

3. Bookmark Management. Something that, again, can be done in a vast majority of browsers is the ability to delete/edit bookmarks by RIGHT CLICKING THEM IN THE MENU, as opposed to using a separate window to manage them, but not in Opera. While their bookmark manager is nice, I prefer to not have to open a new tab to manage my bookmarks.

4. The wand. This is a feature that sorely needs work. One, you cannot use the wand button until the page completely loads (or you hit the STOP button) without moving to the keyboard to press the key combo.

Opera seems more committed to incorporating features which only a NICHE group of users will use; I.E., Widgets, Torrent support, Voice capability, etc. These are nice features for those that would use them, but I dont think that a majority of users will bother with them or even care about them. Opera seems to not impliment many features several users request (One common one I see is roboform support, which makes up for what the wand and opera lack in form filling/password saving. They do this from a security standpoint, and as I said before, security is good until it interferes with what could be great functionality to the user.

Extensions/Addons are one thing I think Opera sorely needs. They could add a warning that appears each time one is installed warning the user of risks of such extensions, and if they click yes, then that means they understand. Or perhaps, even only allow TRUSTED extensions that have been opera approved. That would show that the extensions meet opera standards of quality. This would attract far more users than any feature they could incorporate into the browser itself.

Now, aside from the faults I've mentioned, I still use opera as my daily browser. It is quite powerful, but nowhere near as powerful as it could be. Opera is also not without its share of faults, it has had security patches that were needed. Opera has been very good about patching these holes, but that doesnt mean it is immune as several of its users like to believe and try to convince others to believe. I tend to live in the real world where any application can have security problems, and tend to not believe it when a mass group says "Oh, this piece of software makes you more secure". Security is in the eye of the beholder and you are only as secure as you are educated about web security. If an end user clicks yes to everything they see, or browses sites with questionable content and downloads, then it is on that user when they get hit by an exploit, in my opinion. We dont need a browser that tries to take every aspect of any security decision from the user, we need one that works and does what most users want. What these browser companies should do instead is try and educate the end users about web browsing. Then they could focus more on implimenting features the users really want.

Opera has earned its place on my desktop, but I do sorely miss several features that have not been implimented due to a security concern.

Summary:
Opera gets a 3/5 from me. It is far better than firefox, in this users opinion, and loads better than IE, but the faults I've mentioned above prevent me from rating this beta, and any previous beta, what I feel it will one day deserve (5/5). It is faster and lighter than any browser I have used, but that alone doesnt justify a 5/5 from me. Good job for now opera, and I look forward to your future.

The next reply was by JavaJones, and here it is

Quote from: JavaJones
First I'd like to really commend Metshrine on an extremely well-written and in my opinion very accurate, insightful review. I agree with just about every point he made.

I've been using Opera as my primary browser since they removed the ads something like a year ago and I've really fallen in love with it. To me it embodies the quality of being intelligently designed. Things like the pop-out Start Bar, intelligent tab handling (ex: click a tab a 2nd time and it goes back to the previous one), and especially the advanced history functionality are all vital to my daily browsing habits and are extremely well designed and integrated into the browser. It also has excellent support for saved sessions which is very important to me as well - I haven't lost any browser sessions due to crashes or power outtages since I have used Opera (I used Avant previously and it has this capability too, but FF does not without an extension). All of this is built in and "just works" - as it should be IMO.

All that being said I too am increasingly frustrated by the continuing rendering issues on a more-than-insignificant number of pages. As Metshrine said it really doesn't matter whose "fault" it is, Opera isn't going to get people to just do what they want and if they want to increase their market share they need to provide solutions that "just work". Sometimes it's even Opera's fault and although they're generally good about fixes, they're surprising stubborn about certain things that IMO should be fixed.

Meanwhile, as previously mentioned, they are adding on all these fairly niche, non-browser-centric features like bittorrent and voice. Who cares? Ok, with voice they are helping some handicapped people and that's great. But isn't it simply better for those people to have system-wide voice support? So why is it Opera's job to do this?

Meanwhile FF gets by virtually on the sole merit of its excellent extension system - even a lot of FF fans must agree that without extensions Opera is superior. If Opera allowed extensions it would be a hands-down winner IMO. Voice, bittorrent, etc. could all be added as extensions!

As a power user I am very frustrated by my browser deciding for me that I can't use something because it poses a "security risk". What's worse is that Opera does put a lot of power in the hands of users that could cause much greater security risks - the wand is one (though I find this very convenient and would hate to see it removed or limited). So the security argument is really pretty hollow IMO.

In the end I continue to use Opera for my daily browsing because it truly is a pleasure to use most of the time. The ability to use a program that "just feels right" is very important. But the more pages I see rendering improperly and the more cool FF extensions I hear about the more frustrated I get. I think Opera needs to take a serious look at what its userbase wants and what the greater market would respond to and make a shift for Opera 10.

They should have 2 fundamental goals for Opera 10: 1. Fix rendering issues for 95+% of sites (support this with a sponsored campaign to encourage people to report faulty sites, maybe a "report broken rendering" button in Opera - make it super easy)
2. Create a secure, easy to use, powerful "extensions"/plugin system that equals or surpasses FF's system in terms of ease and speed of development and end user ease of use.

That's all for now.

Sincerely,
A Dedicated Opera User
« Last Edit: June 19, 2006, 01:10:29 PM by Josh »

mouser

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Re: Browser discussion
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2006, 01:16:09 PM »
very well thought out responses, both of you.

Josh

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Re: Browser discussion
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2006, 07:09:32 PM »
Well, it turns out that opera plans to release the latest beta build as 9.0 final ( http://operawatch.com/news/2006/06/opera-9-just-around-the-corner-grand-marketing-campaign-in-the-works.html )

Its a shame that they are planning this with the number of rendering bugs that are prevelant in the browser. Seems like they are more under pressure to just "Get it our the door and fix it later" which microsoft has been accused of so many times.

This truely is a shame when common sense gets pushed to the wayside.

zridling

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Re: Browser discussion
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2006, 12:43:04 AM »
I've really enjoyed the changes in the 9.0 version and use it as my secondary browser, which is quite a lot during the day. The biggest thing I miss is hitting the ALT+D to jump to the address line (F2 is what Opera uses). And here's the funny thing: I use Opera to go to sites that don't render properly in IE! Go figure.

urlwolf

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Re: Browser discussion
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2006, 03:29:53 AM »
I've really enjoyed the changes in the 9.0 version and use it as my secondary browser, which is quite a lot during the day. The biggest thing I miss is hitting the ALT+D to jump to the address line (F2 is what Opera uses). And here's the funny thing: I use Opera to go to sites that don't render properly in IE! Go figure.

You can change that in tools > preferences > shortcuts
do a search for 'focus address field', or 'go to page' and change the shortcut.
I just did.

Shortcut flexibility is second to none in opera.

JavaJones

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Re: Browser discussion
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2006, 01:44:47 AM »
Josh, great to see you are also here on DC! I should have known with an actual intelligent post/review like that. :D I would love to discuss this more as obviously I have a lot of thoughts on the issue. Unfortunately I'm quite pressed for time at the moment but I will come back to this thread and post in more detail soon, I promise. :)

Btw that Betanews thread got ugly fast, eh? :p

- Oshyan

Josh

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Re: Browser discussion
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2006, 07:09:32 AM »
Yeah, it certainly did. It appears I am not alone in the feeling that v9 was pushed out the door way to quick (ALA Windows ME anyone? where is app on this one ;-) ). Anyways, post your thoughts and I will be happy to discuss :)

CGA

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Re: Browser discussion
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2006, 05:31:42 AM »
Very nice posts :Thmbsup:. Especially the comment on autocomplete which I personally have been going on about in several forums. Been an Opera user for longer than I care to remember and I cannot for the life of me understand why they choose to omit this feature, as an option of course,  in every release. As said in the post, it should be up to the user to decide what level of security he/she wants.

Josh

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Re: Browser discussion
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2006, 06:43:40 AM »
The fun continues. Below is my review of opera 9 final (to be added on to my original review) as well as a reply from one of, what I consider, Opera's fanboys that rate it a glowing 5, not based on functionality, but simply because "Its the best". As I state, a 5 indicates to me that there is no flaw (or minimal) in the program and that it doesnt need to be improved upon very much to be totally enjoyable. Anyways, here we go

Feel free to add to this review by posting here

http://fileforum.betanews.com/detail/945720329/1

Quote from: Metshrine
To WillyWonkah
OK, I've experienced issues with opera on heavily JS'd sites, and no they arent blocking the browser because I have it set to identify as IE. So please, hold that excuse as it wont caw. Not every site is out to block opera, as much as the fans and devs would like to think. Its not a conspiracy to keep opera down.

__________________________________________________

Opera has made chase.com useless when attempting to register a new credit card account. Opera has messed up Bank of america military banking's, citibank's, and american express's menu systems to the point that you have no means of navigation (Please note, this is for users with registered accounts on these sites, not the homepage). All of the aforementioned sites work fine in other browsers, to include several linux based browsers.

Opera does not have an auto-complete feature, because they feel it is a security risk to store this data on a pc where it could be hacked. Let me tell you, if my pc is hacked, the autocomplete history is the LAST thing I am worried about. Auto-complete is a standard feature in every browser aside from opera.

Another feature is working auto-fill. Yes, v9 added a type of auto-fill, but it fails to detect various site's fields as auto-fill capable requiring a right click to insert this data.

Opera's bookmark management is nice, but I have grown acustom to the way that IE, Firefox, K-meleon, and konqueror work allowing you to right click a bookmark in the menu system to manage it, sort it, delete it, etc. This seems to be a standard feature in most other browsers.

Opera users clammer about those two websites that show you how you can use features similar to firefox extensions. This is all well and good, but you know, I like a browser to not lock me in to what the developers feel I should have, but allow me to extend it. Again, every browser (Heck, even LYNX (A TEXT BASED BROWSER) has an addon/plugin system) aside from opera can be customized by addons, extensions, whatever you want to call them. Noticing a trend here? Opera seems like they are so set on being deviant that they wont impliment features that are mainstream, but instead decide to impliment features which are only useful to a niche of users; I.E. torrent support, voice support (as javajones pointed out, would be something a user would be handling at the OS level anyways. Why would they use it in only their browser and not any other app?), widgets (havent found a good use for these yet). A good addon/extension system would make opera just that much more appealing to its users. If security is such a big concern for the opera devs, make the addons have to go through a certification process. From what I hear, one dev worked on torrent support, so why cant one dev work on certifying an addon for use with the browser? I have been dying for roboform support since v7, and while there is some of its functionality in opera, it cant compare to what roboform has to offer. If you google for it, you will see many users requesting the same thing. If you search their forums you will see the same thing, many many users wanting roboform support. There are various other addons that could be made, heck, maybe someone would add an addon for auto-complete *GASP*.

Opera is highly customizable, but again, what would seem like a very basic customization doesnt exist. You cant rearrange toolbars. Here is where the hardcore fans clammer in "But you can remove and add any button you want to any toolbar, thus negating this lack of a feature". OK, How many home users are going to spend 5 minutes adding and removing buttons each time they want to rearrange their toolbars, be it only once on their first use? This might be well and good for us techie users, but I doubt a home user is going to spend the time to figure this one out.

Opera is good for security but with this comes sacrifice. Opera has chosen to not add 3rd party support, the autocomplete mentioned above, as well as password viewing and editing (wand passwords), along with other features in an attempt to remove any point of error from the user that could cause a security risk. Security is good, but when it interferes with what should be common place features or functionality, you have to question how much is too much.

Opera is a great browser, the best in my opinion, but I just cant rate it as highly as I think it will eventually deserve, as I explained further in my review below dated 19JUNE2006. After all, we are rating the current browser build, and not what it can be or how it compares to others, we are rating the functionality that exists.

Opera is fast, it is light on memory, and it does have a high amount of customizability. I use opera every day, it is my default browser, and I love the functionality that is present, but that doesnt mean it cant be expanded upon or that there isnt room for improvement (Which there is, and sorely so in some areas).

Overall, a good browser, but not worthy of a high rating in my book.

See the review dated 19JUN below for more details

Also, continue the discussion in a more mature atmosphere located here

http://www.donationc...dex.php?topic=4075.0

3/5


Now, on a side note.

I love reading these reviews where the so called "Opera fans" have to resort to insulting a user based on their review or because they rate it low due to not knowing a feature exists. This is even more prevelant in the latest beta thread here on FF located

http://fileforum.bet...iew/945720329/6/view

How about showing some RESPECT for a user's view? Nowhere in the TOS for betanews does it say you are required to agree with every review posted. I know, as a user, when I come to read reviews, I hate it when I see 5 star reviews that say nothing more than "The best", "Nothing beats it" or some equivelant. I like seeing users who rate it based on experiences because then that tells me more real world experiences and dont just give it a blind 5 without explaining WHY.

Why is that a MAJORITY (Not all) cant seem to respect the fact that someone might not hold the same views as you? Why dont you respect the fact that if a browser doesnt work for a user, they have every right to rate it low? Who are you to tell them that they cant rate it a 1 if it doesnt work on the sites they use? Will the average home user know that a website is blocking opera or feeding it alternate code? No. Will they care that opera is the most standards compliant browser? (Which doesnt matter when it cant display a majority of sites (The ones THAT DONT BLOCK OPERA) properly, to include several banking sites (many of which I've seen reported on opera's forums and via opera bug reports). No, they just want their browser to display websites properly. They dont care about standards.


EDIT

To T-C-L

This is called a review and I am entitled to display what I feel is wrong and missing from the browser. Since you didnt show enough respect to read my entire review before posting your flame, let me point out (as I did in my review) that I do use opera as my primary browser and I do feel it is a great browser, but it has its share of flaws that prevent it from being rated a 5. Unlike many of the sheep (read fanboys) around here, I am not going to post a glowing 5 just because I feel opera is the best browser. A 5 would indicate to the user that there are no flaws in opera, which is far from the case as in most pieces of software. A review should be based on functionality, or lack thereof, and not how you feel the browser performs under real world conditions, not some idealistic fantasy where everything is golden. If that were the case, I would be rating firefox a 1 all the time, but I dont because its not a bad browser, it gets a 3 from me because it also has its share of problems. Again, learn to respect peoples views, I never said anywhere in this review that you HAD to agree with me.

Also, Opera does not have addons in the sense that a home user would want to use. Yes, you can add custom menus and buttons, but what about toolbars that many home users are fond of? What about adding programs that add functionality to the browser (Roboform, For example)? Why should I be locked in, functionality wise, to what the dev's feel is best? The wand is far from the best, and roboform definitely would be a breath of fresh air for opera (and many users, just google for it or search the opera forums for roboform, you will see)

By the way, instead of saying "3/4 of the banks I have access to dont work", how about stating which banks so other users can chime in and let you know "Hey, this works for me" or "Hey, this doesnt work for me either"


Quote from: T-C-L
I wonder why Metshrine even bothers to write long-winded posts ranting about Opera for every single version. What's the point?

If Opera is so bad and all its users are so terrible, use something else. You don't see me going over and bashing Firefox because Firefox fanboys are annoying, and because of Firefox's many problems with site compatibility. No, I stick with Opera and that's it.

I didn't bother to read Metshrine's comment in full because it was basically just a long rant, but I noticed this:

"Again, every browser (Heck, even LYNX (A TEXT BASED BROWSER) has an addon/plugin system) aside from opera can be customized by addons, extensions, whatever you want to call them."

Opera can be customized by addons too. You can download custom menus, toolbars, User JS, panels, etc. So yes, even OPERA has an addon/plugin system...

Anyway, back to Opera. It's smaller, faster and more secure than the competition. It's got loads of time-saving features built right in, and these features are created by professional developers who focus on usability and reliability rather than hobbyist coders who write an extension in their spare time.

And that is one of the main issues here: Opera's features just work. Firefox's extensions are nice in theory, but come across as an afterthought bolted onto the browser. And they break when you update Firefox.

Opera's features work, and they work out of the box. And when Opera introduces a new feature, you know it won't be long until someone in the Firefox camp copies it :)

So, Opera... Best rendering engine, fastest, more secure, and smaller. Innovators, not imitators.

And the best part is: ALL THOSE WONDERFUL EXTRA FEATURES DON'T GET IN THE WAY!

They are hidden until you actually need them or want to use them.

So yeah... I dumped Firefox a while ago because it has severe memory and resource problems, and because it breaks on lots of sites. Three out of four online banks I have access to don't work in Firefox at all. Opera works perfectly.


« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 06:48:08 AM by Josh »

JavaJones

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Re: Browser discussion
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2006, 08:17:29 PM »
Ironically I agree with just about everything T-C-L said, in principle at the least. It's the things he doesn't mention, particularly the demonstrable fact that Opera has more trouble rendering a wide range of popular sites properly than FF and IE do, that really put me off. Along with the unwillingness to implement certain features that I consider basic and very important, like auto-complete as has been mentioned. Judging by the quality of some of their other features I think Opera's devs could do a knock-out Roboform-type implementation natively in Opera; if they added import for Roboform settings to it I think they'd have a lot of converts based on that alone. Who would bother with an addon/plugin when you could get it natively in an already highly capable browser?

The bottom line with Opera is I'm left to wonder just what their goals are, who their target market is. And here is where it might be better if I was more familiar with the Opera community and developer intentions. I honestly *don't* know what they're aiming for. For all I know they may prefer serving a niche, implementing cool new features that a certain target market is interested in. It seems clear *to me* that they are not *as* interested in courting the mass market as one might think; not as interested as say Mozilla is. If that's really the case perhaps Opera and I are doomed to a tragic romance, where I see so much potential and so many wonderful features, but simply can't deal with the few but key missing features and rendering issues. The sad thing is these are things the devs should be able to easily fix yet they focus on other things like the really IMO irrelevant Bittorrent support. You have to wonder why.

For now I continue to use Opera as my primary browser - it's still a better experience than FF for me - but I continue to be on the lookout for a replacement. Maybe Maxthon...

- Oshyan