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[personal profile] mirrorshard
I tried out Opera, but I've finally given up and switched back to Firefox. Opera looks good, and seems to be a little bit faster, but I kept finding things that were unreasonably hard for me to do out of the box, and other things that it just didn't do, for one reason or another. (I should specify that I'm using a new, quite good PC, with Windows XP sp2.)



Sure, Opera lets you switch around the order of the tabs, but it doesn't seem to support keyboard shortcuts to jump to a specific tab (ctrl-1, ctrl-2, &c. in Firefox) and I had to change around a lot of the default keyboard settings - I understand that the Opera people had to find keys for all those operations, but using Alt for in-window shortcuts (cycling between open tabs, for instance) seems counterintuitive to me. Alt's for pulldown menus. Likewise, every web browser in the world ever has used Ctrl-B to bookmark a page, as far as I'm aware. Opera uses Ctrl-T out of the box, which is what Firefox uses for a new tab within the same window (Opera calls them pages, and uses Ctrl-N, which is what I expect to use for a new browser window).

When I'm typing in a text field (like this one - I update through the web, not an LJ client) in Firefox, and the text field doesn't fit entirely on the screen, when the typing hits the bottom of the browser window the browser automatically scrolls down to fit it all in. Opera didn't.

I have absolutely no clue why Opera gave me an error when trying to view PDFs, even after updating Adobe Reader and following the Opera peoples' setup instructions for it - which are absurd. I mean, they want me to move DLLs with user-unfriendly names manually. What year are we living in?

Opera lets you move icons around on the toolbars, but apparently the order of the toolbars on the page is set in stone - and it has the page tab bar in the middle, above the address and navigation bar, which not only looks hopelessly wrong to me, but can't be changed. Speaking of navigation, the Back and Forward buttons are unfeasibly small and don't grey out noticeably when they don't apply, and it has this mysterious set of 'Rewind' and 'Fast Forward' buttons which it doesn't deign to explain - nor does it explain what to use to work with the <link&rt; HTML element.

Using Firefox, standard checked & unchecked tickboxes look distinctly different - Opera renders them almost identically.

Firefox - in the recent edition at least - uses BugMeNot (for those of you who don't use this, it's a web service that circumvents registration-required sites, like the NY Times, for instance, and lets you see the text without having to give them any personal information or go through the faff of lying to them) without having to install a plugin, which is good, because I don't bother with plugins normally. I don't need them to do what I want and I don't like the faff.

Firefox also blocks popups natively, whereas Opera wants you to install some extra utility that needs separate care and feeding (and didn't work very well when I tried it), and doesn't understand blocking images from a given server (those irritating moving ads, in my case). Firefox does it with one click from the right-mouse-menu.

Opera's built-in RSS aggregator reminds me irresistibly of Outlook Express ca. six years ago, or more, and is substantially less friendly and feature-rich than Bloglines. Ditto for the bookmark management system, though I'll admit that I'm firmly wedded to del.icio.us now and didn't really look at it.

I don't doubt there's some other things I've forgotten - and in typing that I remember one such annoyance, that Opera doesn't give a loading-light, spinning icon, or the usual indications that it's doing something. Changing the mouse cursor to have a little hourglass doesn't help, especially if I then have to move the pointer off a text area to see the change. Oh, and Opera seems to cache overenthusiastically - after updating this journal, and clicking on the 'here to see your changes', I then had to reload it to see the new version.

Counter-comments more than welcome, this is just to explain my own choice. (I should also note that neither of them crash noticeably for me.)

Date: 2005-10-03 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wallsy.livejournal.com
The tabs stuff I'll skip over, 'cause I don't use them and never have.

The auto-scrolling thing is one thing I really hate about Firefox. If I leave the window scrolled to a certain point, that's where I want it. If I want it to move, I'll move it.

I have no idea why you couldn't view PDFs either. I installed Opera and Acrobat Reader and they've always worked fine together. Well, as well as Acrobat Reader ever does. But I didn't need to move anything.

The toolbar order thing, you're right. That would be annoying.

The rewind button takes you back to the first page you had open in that tab. The fast-forward button takes you to its best guess as to what the next page will be. If there's a "next" link, it goes to that, for example. The greying out can be altered with a theme.

Checked boxes have a checkmark in them. What more do you want?

This BugMeNot thing sounds good. I shall have to get the latest firefox to try it.

Opera also blocks popups natively, and last I checked, Firefox's popup blocking wasn't nearly as good. Opera's has a setting "Block unwanted popups" which works in most cases. If you click a link that just opens a new window, it works. If a page just tries to open a new window automatically, it doesn't. And in the rare cases where you want it to do something different, you can hit F12 to view a little menu of often-changed settings.

Opera's RSS thingy is shit, I agree. Also it's news and mail thingies are also shit. I don't know what the problem with the bookmarks is though, that seems pretty good to me.

As to the loading indicator, it has the best one ever. In the toolbar options, set the progress bar to pop up at the bottom of the page. That way, a fully loaded page uses as much space as possible, and you still get lots of info about loading pages. You get percentage loaded, images loaded, data transferred, time taken and what stage it's up to (looking up, sending request, recieving data, etc.) No other browser I've seen has anything even remotely as good.

Oh, and the cache settings are customisable. Mine reloads pages every time I go to them, but never when I click the back button (unless I've looked at a lot of pages since). That means that when I follow a link, I get the latest version, but if I post something and it fails, the entry box doesn't get reset when I hit the back button. :-)

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