Frank tried Opera 7.10 and found it wanting, too. I have now also moved back down to 7.03, and I’m much happier with it.
I’m quite disappointed about that. I started using Opera when it was still at version 5, and every version since then has been a step forward, adding at least some feature or bug fix that improved my browsing experience. I hope that 7.10 is an anomaly, and that 7.11 will patch things up again.
I installed Opera 7.10 earlier this evening, and I can’t say that I’m entirely happy with it.
First of all, they’ve gone and changed the default font size. In Opera 6 (and I think in the beta versions of 7) it used to be smaller than the Internet Explorer default font size. Then in the early versions of 7 they set it to be roughly equal to the IE default font size. And now it’s back again to small. Make your mind up, guys.
Secondly, they seem to have changed the point at which a web page’s stylesheet is applied. Now, as I watch a page loading, I get a brief (sub-second) flash of what it looks like without any css formatting. It seems to take just a fraction of a second longer to apply the style sheet in this version, but it is noticeable, and it is annoying.
I suppose it’s possible that this allows people with slow ‘net connections to see at least part of the page’s content before the stylesheet itself is fully downloaded. But on a broadband connection it feels jarringly crude, like a throwback to the last generation of browsers, where page elements would jumble and rearrange themselves madly before landing in their final configuration.
The Opera 7 beta has arrived. And it’s glorious.
I’ve only just downloaded it, but it’s already clear to me that this is a fantastic step forward for the Opera browser. Check this out:
- You can save and re-open sessions (sets of open windows), just as I had been hoping.
- Multiple user accounts are supported. (Older versions of Opera could be tweaked to allow different users to have their own preferences/settings/favourites, but it was a bit of a hack.)
- <link> tag site navigation is supported by means of a slick extra toolbar. Not many sites use these <link> tags yet, but Mozilla and Opera both support them, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be in Internet Explorer 7, too. It’s a great usability and accessibility feature. Within 2-3 years, I reckon that <link> tag site navigation will be ubiquitous across the web. (Note to self: must implement this on Sunpig now!)
- New mail client program, called “M2”. I haven’t played with this yet, but it looks intriguing. It tries to go beyond a standard email program, and allow you to treat your mail as a freeform database kind of thing.
Also, the browser has been given a fresh new look, with rounded tabs and sexy transition effects on the menu buttons. All in all, it just looks utterly fabulous. I’ll try and do a more extensive review once I’ve had a chance to work with it some more.