Brainstorms and Raves

Notes on Web Design, Development, Standards, Typography, Music, and More

Fri

29

AUG

2003

Friday Feast #57: Browsers, Standards, and Opera’s Latest

I’ve written previously that now is a fantastic window of opportunity for other browsers to promote their features, especially to companies who could migrate their entire staffs and intranets to a browser other than Internet Explorer. Today’s Friday Feast is about Opera doing exactly that, along with other browsers and popular features.

I wondered how Opera would respond to recent changes in the browser world with Netscape and IE.[1] Now I see that they’re taking advantage of these changes. As Opera states in their August 27th press release about the recent browser changes:

“...This leaves Opera as the only major commercial player continuing to push browser development, offering a vast number of new users a continually up-to-date and enhanced Internet experience.”

I’ve included Opera’s entire press release below.

I’m also especially curious to know what happens with Opera in the coming months with Ian Hickson working for them now. Ian has worked on several W3C CSS Recommendations and has been quite involved with the Mozilla project. Incredibly talented, to put it mildly.

In the past web developers were understandably frustrated and turned off by Opera’s earlier lack of DOM support. I sympathized with them and I had frustrations, too, especially as an Opera user not being able to use Opera with my banking site and other critical need sites. For that reason at that point I couldn’t and didn’t recommend it as the only browser needed.

The good news is that Opera’s DOM support is now much improved with more recent versions. Like many others using Opera I can now use my banking site now with Opera[2], no longer having to change browsers for those needs.

Opera’s Standards Support page documents their latest support. The DOM support chart has grown by leaps and bounds, although I’m still disappointed to see quite a few items on the chart that aren’t yet supported. Programmers are far more aware of how those issues impact their DOM work and can speak about that better than I can, as I’m not a programmer. As a user, though, I’ve experienced huge DOM improvements, and I no longer hesitate to recommend Opera to anyone.

In the meantime, though, and understandably, many developers have turned to Mozilla and Safari. Both browsers have been receiving endless praise, and justifiably so, from many who use these two browsers. I use Mozilla and Firebird and like them both.

Tabbed Browsing

One of the features people especially like in these two browsers is tabbed browsing. One of my favorite features about Opera all along has been its tabbed interface and the ability to save all the tabbed windows, even with separate sessions for later use. Opera is a small program that’s effortless to use and has the least amount of problems or crashes of any browser that I’ve used to date. IE doesn’t even come close to providing the features or capabilities that Opera has at this point.

The design and development community has also complained about IE’s lack of PNG support for alpha transparency. Especially now that the next IE release isn’t coming out for a couple of years and only then sold with its next OS, it’s a huge stall in the ability to use this terrific image format feature. On the other hand, Opera provides full PNG support, including alpha channel transparency and gamma support.

Despite my praise for Opera, no browser is perfect, and I still want to know how their current DOM limitations impact developers and users, so feel free to comment below. I hope people continue to provide Opera with feedback, as they genuinely want to continue to improve their browser.

Here’s Opera’s latest press release:

First Opera for bidirectional languages

Opera 7.20 for Windows fine-tunes speed and performance

Oslo, Norway - August 27, 2003 Opera Software today released Opera 7.20 for Windows Beta. The new release makes it truer than ever that Opera adheres to the its popular tagline “The Fastest Browser on Earth,” with Opera’s engineers having fine-tuned version 7’s development branch for maximum performance.

Opera 7 for Windows is Opera’s most successful version ever, with over 10 million copies downloaded so far just from www.opera.com. In addition to the copies downloaded from Opera’s homepage are the many millions more downloaded from other sites around the world.

With Opera 7.20’s added support for bidirectional languages such as Arabic and Hebrew, Opera is now a true global browser. At the same time, recent press reports indicate that IE is slowing down browser development and that development of Netscape has been largely abandoned. Microsoft will not develop the stand-alone version of Internet Explorer further, instead going for full integration in the upcoming 'Longhorn' operating system to be released in a few years time. Internet Explorer users thus need to buy a new operating system to get a new browser. This leaves Opera as the only major commercial player continuing to push browser development, offering a vast number of new users a continually up-to-date and enhanced Internet experience.

“Opera 7 has been greeted with cheers from users and press all over the world. By continuously listening closely to our users throughout Opera’s development cycle over the years, we have succeeded in creating the very best browser there is,” says Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software ASA. “This technological lead is further expanded with today’s release. The feedback from our testers has been unison: Opera 7.20 significantly boosts speed and performance.”

Opera 7.20 for Windows has already been released in pre-beta versions not announced to the wider public. Opera’s Elektrans, the volunteer group that helps millions of Opera users get the very best Internet experience available in every release, has joined forces with a select group of power users that frequent Opera’s newsgroups and forums. This elite group has run Opera 7.20 through intensive stress-testing over the last few weeks to ensure that all critical bugs are found and fixed before the final release. The final Opera 7.20 for Windows will be released sometime later this summer.

See the changelog for Opera 7.20 for Windows Beta.

Enjoy Opera’s Happy Hour!

In conjunction with the launch of Opera 7.20 for Windows Beta, Opera’s “Happy Hour” campaign is now running. During two random hours every day for the next ten days, Opera is available with a discount of 25% for the special price of EUR 29.25/USD 29.25

Warning: Opera 7.20 for Windows is currently an early beta release, and will thus contain many errors. Beta versions should only be tested by advanced users. Opera recommends that beta versions are run from a separate folder from your regular Opera installation.

About Opera Software ASA

Opera Software ASA is an industry leader in the development of Web browser technology, partnering with companies such as IBM, AMD, Nokia, Macromedia, Symbian, Canal+ Technologies, Ericsson, Sharp, Metrowerks, and MontaVista Software. The Opera browser has received international recognition from users, industry experts and media for being faster, smaller and more standards-compliant than other browsers. Opera’s browser technology is cross-platform and modular, targeting the desktop, smartphone, PDA, iTV and vertical markets.

Opera Software ASA is a privately held company headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with development centers in Linköping and Gothenburg, Sweden, and a sales representative in Austin, TX. Learn more about Opera at www.opera.com

Contact

Opera Software
Live Leer
Marcom Manager
Tel: +47 40 40 14 77
Fax: +47 24 16 40 01
press at opera dot com

1Related posts and more info:

2 If I set the preferences for Browser Identification to MSIE 6.0 (Preferences>Network>Browser Identification) I can access and use nearly every site, including my bank to handle banking needs now. Setting the Browser Identification to MSIE 6.0 is only necessary because of behind-the-scenes scripting at certain sites, such as my banking site, that hasn’t been updated to include Opera 7.

05:00 pm, pdt29 August, 2003 Comments, Trackbacks ·

Categories: Browsers, Friday Feast, Press Releases, Reviews, Software, Standards

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