New Opera features I would like

I think I’ve been using the Opera browser for about a year now. I tried it out because that’s what you do, but I stuck with it because of what it could do. I have really found that, for my purposes and surfing habits, Opera is the best web browser of the current bunch (IE, Mozilla, Opera). IE is a better application platform, but that’s not quite the same as a browser.

The web is exactly that: a web. Hyperlinks weave disparate sites together into a rich tapestry of information, and I like being able to look at multiple parts of that tapestry at the same time. If I’m reading a site, or a story, I usually find several links I want to visit, so I click on them. In Opera (and in Mozilla now, as well), I can open these new pages up in separate windows (or tabs) within a single application space.

Right now, for example, I have 20 windows open in my Opera session. I’ve been snuffling about a variety of weblogs, and more than any other kind of site blogs are just full of interesting hyperlinks. Opera opens up these new windows quickly, and in the background. That way the flow of my reading isn’t interrupted.

When I exit Opera, it saves the list of windows that were open. So, when I start it up again, it re-opens them all, and I can carry on browsing where I left off. This is just so nice, I want more of it!

The feature I would really like to see in Opera (and Opera 7 is just round the corner, so fingers crossed) is the ability to save these sets of window setups.

For example, these 20 windows I now have open are mostly related to blogs and blogging. It would be great to save these to a file (say “bloggin.sav”), and then start with a clean slate. I could go back to this list of saved windows whenever I wanted to.

You can sort of do this now already in Opera 6, but it’s not exactly slick: you can create a new bookmarks folder, and stick the URLs of all the current windows into that folder. You can then use the “open all folder items” feature to open up all the URLs in one go. But you have to do the work of putting all those sites into the bookmarks folder yourself. Even a function to put all current windows into a bookmarks folder at once would be pretty cool.

Movable Type macros for Everything2

Back in the (good/bad…proabably bad) old days when the sunpig site was running on some scraps of PHP code I’d cobbled together myself, it had the ability to automatically convert Everything2 style hard links and pipe links. This meant that we could copy and paste content between here and E2 without doing any extra editing.

When we moved over to Movable Type, though, we lost that facility We gained much, much more in the process, though. But now that Movable Type has support for macros, thanks to the incredibly cool Brad Choate, I can put these E2 links back.

All that is required are two macros:

<MTMacroDefine name="e2hardlink" pattern="m/\[([^\|]*?)\]/">
<a href="<MTNull encode_url="1"><MTMacroMatch position="1"></MTNull>" title="<MTMacroMatch position="1">"><MTMacroMatch position="1"></a></MTMacroDefine>

<MTMacroDefine name="e2pipelink" pattern="m/\[(.*?)\|(.*?)\]/">
<a href="<MTNull encode_url="1"><MTMacroMatch position="1"></MTNull>" title="<MTMacroMatch position="2">"><MTMacroMatch position="2"></a></MTMacroDefine>

Nifty! But probably of more use to Abi, because I don’t tend to post on E2 these days.

Presto! Opera 7 on the way!

The word has been filtering out for a while now, but Opera have only just now put up a link on their home page to announce that Opera version 7 due soon–at least in beta form. Drool.

Opera is fast and efficient, and has a number of features that make web browsing so much easier than IE. Mozilla has the features, but is still icky slow. But what Opera has lacked so far is W3C DOM support, i.e. effective support for DHTML. And this is just one of the things they’ll be bringing to version 7. I can hardly wait! I just hope they make their beta program widely available!

A syllabus for Information Architecture

Peter Morville (he of the Polar Bear book) outlines a syllabus for a college-level course in Information Architecture. I don’t know if the course is definitely running, or if it’s just a proposal, but the content sure looks interesting. Unsurprisingly, he uses the Polar Bear book for a lot of the course reading material, but he points to a vast amount of other useful stuff along the way. looks like I’ve got my reading list for the weekend sorted out…