There are so many browsers out there! Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari - are the major players on the market. But hey, there is another major and one of the oldest browsers in the world: Opera. You might have heard lots of rumours about it. Maybe even used it. Or maybe you belong to a small group of people, who actually use this browser everyday. Would you like to know, why I've been using Opera for 10 years?
A real hacker?
Opera is my major browser since version 5.02. I discovered it in "Хакер" (russian word for "Hacker") monthly magazine. It was described as an innovative browser with a "jet engine" inside. With the "A real hacker should use Opera!" motto I launched the program... And for ten years Opera never stopped surprising me.
You can find lots of "Opera vs. Firefox" or "Opera vs. Chrome" or "Opera vs. Something-something-something". Most of those articles will lead you to a "speed test" results. Do you really care, if your browser runs a benchmark in 10.1 seconds, with top competitor running it in 9.812 s.? I don't. What I really care of is how the browser is easy-to-use, is compatible with standards and well.. how good it serves my needs.
Even if you're an experienced user, you may find lots of features you've never heard about. For example, do you know that Opera has a "Show" mode? No a common feature though.
What about the common features?
- Trash bin for closed tabs. If you close a tab accidentally, Ctrl + z restores it immediately.
- Navigation via mouse or keyboard is very fast in Opera. There are mouse gestures, back-and-forward clicks (press left button while holding right button to navigate back), Wand password manager (just press Ctrl + Enter or the Wand button on toolbar to login automatically), keyboard navigation (e.g. Shift + arrow keys), middle-click panning.. have I forgotten something?
- Zooming is another great usability feature. A user can combine it with the Fit to width feature - that allows zooming into page and being able to navigate without using horizontal scroll bar at all!
- Search engine customization allows one to create a "search engine" from any text box on any website. For example, I often use Google translate's Finnish-to-English page. With custom "search engine" in Opera , all I have to do is to type "gfi [word or phrase]" in address bar and press "Enter" - Opera will take me to a page with translated text.
- Opera Unite is a technology that turns a browser into a web server. One can share files, music, pictures, serve static html pages, create chatrooms.. you name it!
This is a very short incomplete list and there are lots and lots of other great features. But I'm sure you get the idea :)
You see, with Opera you can get it's all wonderful features in one place, without messing with add-ons, extensions, plug-ins etc. I get very annoyed when I have to use a computer at the university with a "blank" Firefox on it. "Blank" means - no particular extensions that could ease user's work. I can have a perfectly customized Firefox on my own computer.. but as soon as I reach a "blank" installation or even another persons customized environment - I fail.
Sorry for mentioning Firefox, but I wanted to explain, why "add-ons" approach might not work for a person who seeks a complete solution. I respect Mozilla foundation and understand why the "add-ons" way was chosen. Moreover, this way has proved it's consistency and our days Firefox has a much bigger market share than Opera.
But let's continue with Opera. Opera is truly cross-platform software. Opera remains the same on Linux, Windows, MacOS, *BSD. A user gets the same features on all platforms!. Does your mobile phone supports Java? There is Opera Mini to serve you. Here comes another feature that was introduced in Opera 9.5 (back in 2007): synchronization. You add a bookmark in your mobile phone and it appears in your desktop browser. You type an address in Opera's address bar at work, and then get a clue from the browser's "typed addresses history" at home. Will you agree that all this makes Opera extremely portable?
Give it a try!
I hope that I convinced you to give Opera another try :) Enjoy!