Living with Opera 10 alpha, leaving Opera 10 alpha

by Adrian 17th Jun, 2009 @ 22:54
In “Why in the world would one not use Opera 10?” Joe Clark lists three reasons why he won’t be using it, and I can’t resist adding some of my own.I’ve tried so hard to like Opera over the years: I spent time tweaking the UI so I could avoid tabs on top[1] and I’ve tried out several Opera themes in the hope they’d make it less ugly.Recently despite being disappointed by Jon Hicks ‘lipstick on a pig’ redesign of the Opera UI[2] but prompted by Opera 10 alpha’s speed, I tried it as my main browser for a week. It’s fast – but speed alone is not enough.My main frustrations derive from the lack of a plug-in/add-on feature, I’ve grown used to easy login via 1Password, tidy downloads via Speed Download and easy access to delicious for bookmarks. These all work in the other browsers I use on OSX, but not Opera, because it has no support for third party integration at all.Opera is in something of a tricky position, it has a core of users it doesn’t want to annoy by say, completely redesigning the UI, but it can’t attract large numbers of new users without doing so. It also seems somewhat distracted as a company, apparently prioritizing projects like Opera Unite over a plugin system for the browser.There’s hope yet. Opera 10 alpha’s ‘presto’ rendering engine is fast and has good support for web standards. If they can do better with the UI[3] and add support for 3rd party plugins they might just make me an Opera user yet. In the mean time Opera has once again been removed from my dock and put in the ‘open only for site testing’ folder.Opera 10 alpha: great rendering engine, poor browser.
  1. Though since using Google Chrome I’ve grown to like tabs on top, done right.
  2. It is much better, but it needs a complete reworking, not incremental improvements.
  3. Surely they’re not going to limit Jon Hicks to polishing? It’s like hiring Michelangelo and asking “just give it a lick of paint would you? Nothing fancy, maybe white or magnolia.”