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