The much awaited Opera v 9.0 is here. Currently, Opera’s desktop market share is very small, compared to Internet Explorer, Firefox or even Safari. With v9 Opera hopes to turn things around. With the release of v8.50 on September 20th, 2005 Opera got rid of the tag “Ad-Supported Freeware”. Since then it has been downloaded by millions of users, yet there has been no significant increase in the market share. According to Daniel Goldman Opera is gearing up for a serious marketing campaign. Hopefully, it will make some headway.
Opera has always been an innovator. Each of it’s previous builds were ahead of it’s time, and had something to offer that none of it’s competitors had. You can have a look at the comprehensive list of Opera’s Innovations over here . Version 9 also maintains that tradition. Lets have a look at the major new features that has been introduced in this version.
i ) Torrent Support : Many novice users find the concept of torrents confusing. Terms like torrent client, tracker, seeders only baffle them more. Opera has tried to simplify torrents for them through it’s torrent dowloader. It makes downloading torrents as simple as downloading a .exe file. However, it is not intended to replace a full fledged torrent client. So advanced users will probably give this feature a miss.
iv) Content Blocker : In it’s simplest form it is just an image blocker (ad/vulgarity blocker). Opera provides a very simple interface to block unwanted content. However, it fails to work on embedded flash content, which is very disappointing. Content blocker can be used to block any type of content, but you will need to find out it’s url from the source viewer.
v ) Search engine editor : This is another feature that was due for a long time. Now, adding new search engines to the search tab is a matter of few clicks. All you have to do is to right click in the search box and select “Create Search” option (don’t forget to add a keyword ). A simple yet functional UI is provided for managing the search.ini file.
vi) opera:config : In an attempt to simplify the user interface for a new users, Opera has removed all not so frequently used options from it’s preferences. Instead it has put them in he opera:config ( you need to type that in the address bar to access them ). This feature is obviously inspired by Firefox, but Opera’s one looks prettier.
vii) Thumbnail Preview of Tabs : If you hover your mouse pointer over the tabs, a thumbnail preview of that page will pop-up. This is a nice feature, but hasn’t been executed very well. The thumbnails are rather small and the preview pop-up is cluttered by unnecessary information like Encoding and MIME Type.
Opera has added another small feature to it’s tabs. You can now lock tabs, so that you don’t accidentally close them.
viii) Source Viewer : Opera has added an internal source viewer which highlights known syntaxes. One very weird thing is that if you switch to the Source viewer, Edit–>Find option becomes unavailable. You have to use Ctrl+F to bring up the Search Box.
Other Small Changes :
* ‘Find in page’ feature now highlights all matches when searching for text on the page.
* Save as HTML file with images” now behaves like other browsers i.e. stores the associated files in a folder called filename_folder . ( Phew!! Finally!)
* Improved History Panel. Sites are now grouped by date ( like in Ie ).
* Support for importing and exporting news feed lists in OPML format has been added.
* Opera now passes the acid2 test.
* Support for Webforms 2.0 has been added.
* Default useragent string is now Opera ( that’s a smart move ).
* Now if you save an image the Transfer Tab will pop-up. This is a controversial change. To me it is an annoyance, as the transfer tab is opened as the active tab rather than as a background tab. However, this can be changed. It would be better if Opera adjusts it’s default settings.
* Links url’s are now not shown as tooltips if the status bar is enabled. I could not find a way to display link url as tooltips while the status bar is enabled ( if there is a way to do so, please let me know ). While this change may benefit a lot of people, this affects me adversely. That’s because I use the status bar to store opera buttons. So I need to have the status bar enabled. Where as the tooltips help in detecting phishy emails.
* Opera now uses MSI installer. 30 Language packs are included with the international build. However, this has significantly increased opera’s size. The size has jumped up from 3.66mb to 6.17mb, even after removing Macromedia Flash Player from the installer. On top of that Opera still hasn’t included an update manager, that will download and update the newer files when an update is released. This will make things difficult for dial-up users.
* Some objects now needs to be clicked once to be activated. for eg. the flash menu bar in Studiotwentyeight website becomes activated only after being clicked once. Again this is something which I find annoying.
* Find on Page’ now highlights all matches found in that page.
There are a few old annoyances that hasn’t been fixed even in this version.
Offline Mode :Opera’s offline mode simply sucks. Unlike in ie or other browsers, you can’t browse pages from your history while being offline.
Loading Images : This is a major problem with opera. It has been there for ages and it still exists. If an image is partially loaded and scroll down (so that the image is now not in the screen), and then scroll back up the image vanishes. This is terribly annoying for dial-up users.
Absence of support for native interface in Mac.
Of course the major issue with Opera as always is site incompatibility. Most of the time it isn’t Opera’s fault. However, the fact remains that Firefox which is younger than Opera manages to render more websites correctly compared to Opera. I am currently using Firefox to write this article as Writely fails to work with Opera.
In spite of all these shortcomings Opera v9 is an excellent browser. It is fast, it is secure and it provides a heck of a lot of functionality. Opera provides a very smooth browsing experience which can not be matched by its competitors. However, it falls behind Firefox and Maxthon when it comes to customizability. Opera is fairly customizable however, it often involves manually editing the .ini files etc and will probably scare novice users away. It is impossible for Opera software to add all the requested functionalities to their browser, hence releasing an API ( Application programming interface ) or SDK ( Software Development Kit ) is a necessity. Although, Opera provides a host of features it still doesn’t have an automatic form filler, there is nothing similar to stumble upon in opera, there is no ftp add-on available for opera, there is no Snapper for Opera!! The absence of these will probably prevent a Firefox user from switching over to Opera, although overall Opera does provide a better browsing experience. However, if Opera gets its marketing campaign right it should be able to win over current Internet Explorer users.
My Rating : 8/10
37 responses to “Opera v9 : Excellent but not Perfect”
a small correction opera seems to pass the acid 2 test but it actually doesnt.
I dont know what you mean by “opera seems to pass the acid 2 test but it actually doesnt.” But it passes the Acid2 test. There is no confusion in that. Opera is only the second browser to pass the ACID2 Test ( after Safari )
Content blocker can block flash just like plain images. I don’t know why it doesn’t work for you.
I tried it on a few sites. It didnt work.
For eg. http://www.anim-fx.com/
It doesnt work if you click on the flash beneath the header.
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I also like the clolour schemes in opera( themes)
its a qucik alternative to a new feel.
I find this as a new adition:
The Error console window
It’s not a new addition. It should be disabled by default.
Uncheck “Open console on error”.
Awesome writeup! true to the last word.
I love opera from the moment i first used version 8.
The best thing I like abt opera is its download manager/transfer window and ‘when u click back on a webpage, it backs off and loads it from cache!’ Its cool for users on a slow connection.
all the other featueres are quite innovative and useful too.
“However, the fact remains that Firefox which is younger than Opera manages to render more websites correctly compared to Opera.”
That’s an inaccurate statement. It says nothing about what the browser is able to do. All it shows is that more people test their sites in Firefox.
Also, Firefox is not “young”. Firefox uses Gecko, which is many years old. Gecko is the “new Netscape engine”. All webmasters know about Netscape, and most of them supported Netscape 6 because it was Netscape, and they were used to supporting Netscape. Firefox got to “freeload” off that momentum.
Also, the higher market share means that more sites are forced to test with Firefox.
Again, it’s got nothing to do with the browser’s capabilities, just its market position and history.
I’m not sure why you can’t click on the Flash animation, but you can still block it. Go into “Block content” mode, and at the top of the window press the “Details…” button. Add the following:
It’ll then be blocked.
I’ve been a long-time fan of Opera.
But in the past 3 months, they have managed to push me away…
I submitted (along with a dozen or so other people) a question concerning opera’s inability to open websites that it was able to open the day before. I was told to “pack your —- and get off the forum”.
I have been running the V9 betas, and all seemed to be well.
Yesterday, I installed the new release… it crashes reguarly, and complains of missing .dll files.
The voice features, which worked in the beta, no longer work.
I have tried to make it work, and I have tried to explain away all of the websites that don’t work with opera as “this website doesn’t work because it isn’t written well enough to work with a GOOD browser.”
Today, I posted a five paragraph explanation of my history, and growing disappointment, with Opera.
Their response was to delete my post 10 minutes after I submitted it, and closed my account.
I have been polite, reasonable, and forgiving with them. The only thing I posted that could be construed as offensive, was when I quoted their techie… and I even posted the “bad” word in l337!
So, I am moving on to FireFox.
Opera may be the “most standard” browser, but the rest of the world seems to live on a diet of “non-standard” web pages that only work on IE or FF!
They (Opera) have a good vision, but their elitist attitude on their support pages, as well as their growing incompatablilty with web sites (like google!), and their inability to release a new version that works WORSE than last week’s beta… it’s all enough for me to throw in the towel and move on to something that may not be as ‘good’, but that at least functions!!!
The gecko engine is younger than opera. Work on it began in 1997, and first beta was probably released in 1998.
I know that a lot of websites dont work, because of careless webmasters. But there are lot of websites which don’t work due to opera’s fault. for eg. sites like writely. Historically also opera has had problems. When gmail was released opera didnt support it, firefox did.
Opera always seems to be doing the catching up game as far as website compatibility goes.
Also, I am not blaiming opera completely for this. I stated before that often it is not opera’s fault. But think from a novice end users perspective. He will see that the site works in ie and fx, but not in opera. Whom will he blame? Notice my woording :
“Of course the major issue with Opera as always is site incompatibility. Most of the time it isn’t Opera’s fault. However, the fact remains that Firefox which is younger than Opera manages to render more websites correctly compared to Opera.”
Make no mistake, I am an Opera fan. I want Opera to be the most popular browser around. But, when I am reviewing it I must be fair.
@ Anthony : I am aware of that. If you read my article carefully, you would have noticed that I have mentioned it.
From View (within the transfer window), it can be set
On my 15inch monitor 800×600 res looks the most comfortable, that is why I am limited. The main bar’s height is too large and it eats up a lot of space.
For bookmarks you can use the personal bar.
Opera is checking if the status bar is enabled or not before showing the tooltips. Instead it should check if the “status field” is enabled or not.
“The gecko engine is younger than opera.”
Gecko is older than Presto, the engine in Opera 7+.
“But there are lot of websites which don’t work due to opera’s fault. for eg. sites like writely.”
Really? And why is Writely Opera’s fault?
“Opera always seems to be doing the catching up game as far as website compatibility goes.”
Again you are getting it backwards. It’s the fact that people actively block Opera or simply refuse to test in Opera that is the problem. It’s got nothing to do with Opera’s capabilities as a browser.
“Make no mistake, I am an Opera fan. I want Opera to be the most popular browser around. But, when I am reviewing it I must be fair.”
Then you shouldn’t claim that sites blocking Opera says anything about Opera’s capabilities.
You are being pretty ignorant now, if you think that all of the sites dont work in opera, as they are poorly designed. I know very well that a lot of sites do block opera actively, or dont send proper code when opera ui is detected eg. currently gmail. But when it was released opera genuinely didnt support it.
If you think sites are blocking opera then just mask as mozilla and reload it.
A majority of the sites compatibility problems are due to poor designing but some of it is also due to opera.
Yes. Presto is younger than gecko
Scrolling function not working with Opera 9 when pages have frame!
If its working with U then tell me!
It works fine over here.
one new thing i noticed is that if i right click an image and save it, it comes in the transfer window.
On the transfers tab click the view dropdown button (beside the quickdownload box) and change to show transfers in background when starting download
jayakumar I am aware of that option. Check comment no. 15.
vysakh, yes. That is something i mentioned in the article.
its quite irritating.
even for minute sized pics its being shown
Vysakh Press Ctrl and then click on the picture. That will open the save box.The transfer window wont pop-up.
Or you can set it to remain in background.
“I could not find a way to display link url as tooltips while the status bar is enabled (if there is a way to do so, please let me know)”
Here it is:
Thanks Antonio. But can you tell me how do I make that userjs display the url insead of the alt tag?
Actually the mistake that Opera devs made is that, Opera is not displaying the tooltip if the status bar is enabled. The behaviour should be changed slightly, and it shouldn’t display the tooltips only if the “status field” is enabled.
You can customize multipopup in any way you want; it has two kinds of tooltips, one primary view, other secondary. Primary view titles are displayed automatically (defaults to title), secondary tooltips are displayed using the control key modifier. You can customize it to display any attribute, including class, id, etc. either automatically, or by using the control modifier. The latest version that had optimized behaviour for Opera9 is at:
I will host it after we do some little changes, but it works really well.
Opera is a great browser. The integrated mouse gestures, torrent support, everything. I was hesitant to travel to far from Firefox, but I just made the switch yesterday..
Welcome to the Opera club. If you have any problems you can always get help at http://my.opera.com/
Thank you! You have a great blog here by the way. I will have to start reading it regularly!
Opera 9 Final Is Out!
Finally, it’s out! – Opera 9!
They also started a big campaign and a release party.
I have written a review about Opera 9 earlier (based on beta versions which are not much different from its final product, though) at this blog post 🙂
Sorry, but you should replace the lot of “it’s” with “its”.
(Example: It’s my house, its colour is red”.
It makes the whole blogpost hard to read 🙁
But very great and good blogpost, I will trackback it in my blog, hope that is ok 🙂
PS; The image blocker can block Flash if the flash “movie” is on its end/not playing. I tried it a few times and it worked 🙂
It may be so. I will try it on a few more sites. But most ads are looping, so actually they never end.
@Pallab: with those dart/boxing flash games, it worked for me , do not have a site example at hand now, though.
” However, if Opera gets its marketing campaign right it should be able to win over current Internet Explorer users.”
Has IE have a seat for this competition???
Forget IE , it only has its much tickets because of being accompanied with Windows .
martin, thats why Opera needs to get its marketing strategy right, and make everyone aware of a better alternative.