Browser review – opera

I have just spent a day at the opera — the opera browser.  I’ve been using opera for most of my browsing, to make sure that I get a good feel for it.  For the most part, opera works very well and loads pages rapidly.  I’ll comment on what I didn’t like when covering individual topics below.

What went wrong

First, the major problems.  My ISP uses Yahoo to handle mail.  So, early in the day, I logged into yahoo.  The Yahoo page is a mess.  I could not find a link to get at email.  Clearly, the Yahoo page is not compatible with opera.  I logged out — at least I could do that — and I used firefox for handling that mail.  This is the first of the browsers that I have tested that had problems with Yahoo.

Then I tried to login to my employer’s webmail site, which uses groupwise.  The login page gave a message that opera is not supported, and the attempt to login failed.  I repeated that a second time, just to be sure that I had not mistyped.  The result was the same.  So I used firefox for checking that mail.  This was not quite the first browser with problems at the groupwise webmail page.  I ran into a similar warning yesterday, when testing konqueror.  However, with konqueror, it at least allowed me to login and the session work just fine.

The opera developers have announced that they will be switching from their proprietary page rendering engine, to using webkit.  There has been some criticism of this move, as the loss of diversity.  However, seeing the problems with using opera at some sites, I see this switch as understandable.  I might have preferred that they switched to gecko (the mozilla engine), because too many browsers seem to be going with webkit.  However, that’s their choice, and not surprising given the circumstances.

Bookmarks

Opera has a bookmarks menu.  However, when I imported my bookmarks, it sorted them.  I did not appreciate that.  And I found that I cannot middle click on a bookmark to open it in a new tab.  Middle clicking on a bookmark does nothing.  If I want to open in a new tab, I must open the new tab first, and then use the bookmark.

Apart from that, the bookmark handling went well.

Tab support

Tabs work very well in opera, with the one exception that there is no option to open a bookmark in a new tab.  Middle clicking on a link opens the link in a new tab, and switches to that tab.  On closing a tab, it switches back to the previous tab and does that to at least depth two.  This fits well with the way that I have been using tabbed browsing.

Passwords

Opera does have a built-in password manager.  That seems to work rather well.  When I enter a password, I am prompted about whether I wish to save it.  When I use a saved password, I click on the key on the menu bar, and it fills in the password information and logs me in.

Private browsing

In opera, it turns out that I can open a private browsing tab.  I right click on a tab, and opening a private tab is one of the options.  That works rather nicely, and I think I prefer it to chromium (opens a private window) and to firefox (changes the whole browsing session to private.

Spell checking

Spell checking works very well in opera.  It seems similar to the firefox spell checking.  That’s a feature that I have missed in most of the other browsers that I have tested.

Other

Opera has a built-in email client.  I have not tested that, as I mostly use webmail.

Summary

Opera is, in most respects, a very congenial browser.  It is unfortunate that there are some sites where it does not work.  I’ll be testing opera again, after they have switched to using webkit.

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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

5 responses to “Browser review – opera”

  1. youngpenguin says :

    I think its better they have abandonated Presto in favor of Webkit. Gecko is terribly slow, Presto faster than he but slower than Webkit. So its a plus 😉 . I dont understand how they decided to volunteer contribute to Chromium, which is actually the competitor Chrome browser.

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    • Neil Rickert says :

      I think its better they have abandonated Presto in favor of Webkit. Gecko is terribly slow …

      Good point.

      I was thinking only in terms of diversity – having multiple well supported page rendering engines. I agree that webkit seems faster.

      This morning, I bumped into this blog post: “http://www.is-there-a-god.info/blog/clues/evolution-vs-god/”

      The page heading looks horribly cramped in rekonq, konqueror, epiphany and opera, but it looks good in firefox, chromium and midori. Hmm, it looks aweful in seamonkey. I guess there’s something other than the choice of webkit or gecko that affects how this page looks.

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      • youngpenguin says :

        “Is there a God?”… I can not refrain to say that that article have many errors of reasoning. Also, I think that one of the best scientific evidence of creation is the “plutonium halo”… 😀 :; On my computer (Fedora 18) the page looks good on Chrome and also on Epiphany. 😛

        Regarding webkit, my opinion is that its better when developers are united on issues of free software, its better for open source world.

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        • Neil Rickert says :

          On my computer (Fedora 18) the page looks good on Chrome and also on Epiphany.

          Interesting. Thanks.

          It’s possible that the poor appearance for me in epiphany is due to the use of graphic acceleration that is not well supported by my hardware. I should probably try that on a different computer.

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  2. cansayso says :

    Open Opera – Go to tools – preferences – advanced – security – security protocols – and make sure all four are checked.

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