Linked by Kroc Camen on Wed 3rd Jun 2009 21:07 UTC, submitted by Liquidator
Opera Software Opera have announced the general availability of Opera 10 beta. Opera 10 includes an improved rendering engine Presto v2.2. The beta adds a new default skin and a couple of new features, notably "Turbo", a proxy compressor for dial-up users, and tab previews. The result? Complete fail. Read More for why and a quick screenshot tour. addendum: As an apology to the community for the reckless and inadequate review I will be doing it again, properly, taking into consideration your fine comments.
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My own review isn't as harsh
by deathshadow on Thu 4th Jun 2009 20:10 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

But I do find that Opera 10 is more of an 'under the hood' release than pointless eye candy.

I use opera as my primary browser - I use all the browsers every day because I'm a web designer, but I always come back to Opera for doing things because it means I don't have to go hunting for plugins/extensions because for normal use it does everything I want done - and things I can't get done in FF, all right out of the box. Flip Navigation, favicon quick launches, portrait mode tabs, self customizable buttons/controls, robust adblock, spell check, it's all built in.

Some of the features for 10 are quite nice. The new version of speed dial finally lets you customize how many it shows - 2x2, 3x2, 3x3, 4x3, 4x4, 5x4 or 5x5 (the 5x4 looks really good on a 16:10 display) - I really prefer speed dial to Google and Safari's approach since I get to choose what's displayed there, not have it thrust upon me by way of them tracking my use or having what they want me to see show up.

But the new skin? Color me unimpressed. It still has that "over the top" gap between the buttons - screen real-estate is tight enough as it is (and that's coming from a 3 displays at 1920x1200 apiece user) without introducing a 8 pixel gap between the buttons. The black background STILL makes custom buttons unusual, so just as I've done and just as the reviewer did, I switched back to native - or should I say, I re-did my own variation of native that adds a few extra icons and strips that pixel gap between buttons (in your toolbar.ini add "Mini Buttons=1" to each Toolbar.style)

The new icons for forward/back/new tab do indeed blow chunks, even more so on the 'native' skin... it appears to no longer obey the 'large images' button, and I don't know what the hell that icon is supposed to be but it certainly doesn't make me think 'wand'.

Turbo is cute, and handy enough when on the laptop in the back yard were signal strength ends up bupkis, but it's not exactly an original idea - NetZero and Bluelight used to do that too.

I do like that the inline spell checker now comes pre-installed instead of having to go track down and install GNU ASpell. So many people constantly bitched that Opera "doesn't have a spell check" when it's detected ASpell since version 8 and used it if available. This is one of those things they let go for too long without "fixing" or making it more obvious. (like say... have a spell check in the menu if aspell was not present and when the user goes for it, it tells them to install ASpell, just like how VOICE works.... But this is good too)

Though I hear a lot of people bitch about the layout of Opera itself - I've never understood this as to me it's no different than FF or IE - and it's the most customizable in that department. I'm actually quite shocked that in the same breath people will bitch about the UI and then bitch it has too many customization options... Serious Whiskey Tango Foxtrot territory.

I do wonder what people are on about with the expanding tabs - since that doesn't show up in any skin with the tabs in any orientation. That new 'feature' is completely missing here. Does not seem to exist - Not that it would since I prefer running tabs portrait mode on the right (just as I run my taskbar portrait on the left) and a lot of the wiz-bang features often get neglected if you put elements anywhere but "top".

The improved web standards are nice - too bad they will be effectively real-world undeployable until some time around 2020 if Microsoft continues to drag it's heels on moving forward while continuing to have market dominance... While I'm one of the few people who applaud Microsofts concentrating on getting CSS2 working PROPERLY before moving on to CSS3 (were that Firefox's project managers and developers were as dilligent, hey how's bugzilla 915 coming along?) it would also be nice to be able to start using at least SOME of this stuff without clients coming back to bitch "Why does the page look different in IE"... So really on that front Opera's efforts (and the webkit folks suffer from this too) to be ahead of the curve on rendering leaves things a bit... lacking in the other aspects of the browser.

So, it's a mixed bag release. The best complaint the majority of people come up with is the UI - I have no complaints with the UI itself - Apart from the graphics and colors the only MAJOR difference between it and FF right now on startup is it actually has a new tab button for nubes who don't know you can double click on an empty part of the tab bar, the refresh and stop buttons are combined (since you'd never need both at the same time!), you have the fast forward and rewind buttons, and of course actual accessability controls and a trash can - Oh yeah, that's so radically different we instantly have to bash on it... NOT.

Seriously though, if this is the best the big name graphics guy they hired can come up with to hang on the UI for eye candy, then they flushed more money down the toilet like they did with that stupid 'pissing contest' billboard... but then the FF logo never really blew my skirt up, and if you look at the guys website it's more about vector based eye candy logo bull than UI design and actual usability - as evidenced by the unclosed div, lack of semantic markup, lack of graceful degredation, fixed HEIGHT layout, and fixed metric fonts. Yeah, and this is someone choosed to do interface design? Bub, do us all a favor and stick to doing vector logos.

But could be worse, I could spend five hours searching for and installing extensions to bring FF up to the level of functionality I've come to expect in a browser.

Edited 2009-06-04 20:18 UTC

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