The vision behind Opera 15 and beyond

It’s not often that I post stuff directly related to my employer, but for web/ browser wonks, what Opera’s done (swapping its rendering engine and redesigning) is unusual.

Following Tuesday’s launch of Opera 15 for Windows and Mac, my chum Andreas Bovens and I wrote an overview of the over-arching vision behind it, and some of the design decisions.

When we released our first browser in 1996, most web users were people who weren’t afraid to tinker, and who liked lots of options and configurability. Fast-forward 17 years, and the Web is everywhere. Speedy browsing and sites working properly is the most important thing to many, many people.

That leaves us with the riddle that every software developer faces at some point: how best to make a UI simple enough to be intuitive for a consumer who wants a solid, fast browser that just works, and yet is customizable and extensible so that power users can add the features they want?

The answer is to build a strong, extensible foundation on which to innovate. Opera 15 is a fresh start, to which we will continue to add features.

A closer look at Opera 15

When we took the decision to switch to Chromium, compatibility was one reason — but most importantly, we wanted to spend our time on browser innovation, rather than competing on building a rendering engine. We had a deep look at Opera’s internal architecture and it soon became clear that Quick, the cross-platform UI framework we’d introduced back in 2003, was so entangled with Presto’s code that just swapping Presto with Chromium was far from a straightforward task.

The same was true for M2: adding it to Opera 15 would require rebuilding it from scratch, more to download for users and more UI for those who don’t use the feature. For that reason, we spun it out into a separate download.

At the same time, we also wanted to give Opera a more native look and feel. And hence, taking also into account that native toolkits have evolved over the last 10 years (especially on Mac), we decided to build the whole UI with native code: we stripped away Chromium’s UI layer, and built it piece by piece from scratch — a big undertaking, and what you see today is just the beginning.

At first, we also planned to build Speed Dial, Stash, Discover and so on with native code, but when seeing that the performance of our first functional web-based prototypes was excellent, we decided to go with a web-based (and hence cross-platform) UI for these parts instead. Indeed, you can open Web Inspector and see how they’re built.

So, starting from this fresh base, we decided to carefully consider how to build up Opera again: over the years, Presto-based Opera had become overloaded with features, a number of them confusing rather than helping our users — you can’t imagine how many reports we’ve gotten from users telling us that their favorite site was broken, simply because they had turned on fit-to-width by accident, for instance.

So, the approach when building the new product has been and still is to cater for various browsing use cases, but at all times, to keep the UI really simple, so that anyone can use it.

Let’s have a close-up look at four of Opera 15’s features, and explain the thinking that went into them.

Speed Dial

We introduced the Speed Dial concept in 2007. When we extended it allow unlimited Speed Dial entries, we became aware that the conceptual difference between traditional bookmarks and Speed Dial was shrinking. Indeed, rather than browsing through a tree structure in a menu or panel, hunting for the right bookmark, users were relying on the address bar’s auto-complete, Speed Dial entries, or built-in search to get to their site of choice. That gave us the idea to move bookmarks right into the browser window where all the browsing happens. The addition of one level-deep folders with visual thumbnails and super-fast search allows you to find any favorite site in an instant.

Stash

We found that modern browsers are hard to do research in. You open tab after tab (comparing different shopping items for instance), and after a while you can’t keep track of what’s where. Sessions and tab stacking attempted to help, but also confused a lot of users, adding extra UI complexity. So we came up with Stash, which is a vertical overview of items you’ve added with super-fast full-text search, so you can compare and filter. This limits the amount of tabs you need to have open, reducing the number of running processes.

Discover

Now the Web is everywhere, it’s very common to be lounging on a sofa, or waiting at a bus stop, entertaining yourself with a notebook, tablet or phone. But with a world of content out there, where to start? Discover is a feature that brings pre-selected content, in a range of languages and subjects, straight to your brain.

Off-road Mode

Not everyone is on a fast connection all the time. Opera 10 introduced Opera Turbo to render pages faster on slow connections, which was subsequently improved by compressing images into WebP format in Opera 11.10. Off-road mode in Opera 15 adds SPDY to the mix so that your pages render even faster.

…and beyond

It’s no coincidence that Opera 15 was released on the same day as our rapid release cycle began. You’ll soon see what’s on the table for future versions. At the moment, we’re looking at themes, syncing between devices and improving tab handling.

If you’re a power-user (and if you’re reading this, you almost certainly are) and you find that Opera 15 doesn’t have a feature you depend upon, first check the growing list of extensions. You may find the basic bookmarks manager extension that I worked on with Stuart Langridge fits the bill — or you may find the cottonTracks extension is an innovative way to solve a problem. If you miss Notes, try the Evernote extension.

If you find Opera 15 is missing something that you absolutely depend on, that’s why we still have Opera 12 out, and why you are not auto-updated to 15. And of course, Opera 16 is just around the corner.

We’re looking at your comments and feedback (as we have for 17 years!). Please send us bug reports if you find mistakes. Inside the company, we all have our own personal wish-lists (I keep harping on about ctrl+enter and Turkish Discover; Andreas harasses everyone about Extension APIs and bookmarks).

Some of these will be rolled out to more than 50 million users. Some won’t — we’re not looking to make a faster horse. Nor are we cloning Opera 12, or any other browser. We will continue to innovate to build the best browser.

70 Responses to “ The vision behind Opera 15 and beyond ”

Comment by m_gol

Do you know when you’re going to auto-update users to the Blink-based Opera? There are some web features Opera 12 is missing (e.g. calc) so it’ll be more & more pain to keep supporting this no-longer updated browser.

Comment by Sarah

Dear Bruce,

I have encountered a problem with Opera 15 that I cannot fix with an extension.

My problem, it is that Opera 15 is not available for Linux!

Please, Bruce, we need to know when Opera 15 for Linux will be available.

We do not just want to hear “Soon!” or “It’s on our roadmap.” We would like an exact date! Better yet, it would be most preferable for you to provide to us a download URL!

Yours Sincerely And Yours Truly,
Sarah

Comment by Bruce

@m_gol I don’t know. Not imminently; we have customers who would be heartily pissed off if we did as they would be missing some features that they depend on. But the fast release cycle should sort that out reasonably quickly.

@sarah I can’t give you an exact date. Software doesn’t work like that (unfortunately).

Comment by Sarah

Dear Bruce,

I have been involved with developing software much of my life. I know the process inside and out, in domains ranging from small shareware utilities through to distributed enterprise systems down to embedded industrial control systems.

Professional software developers do set deadlines, and professional software developers then meet those deadlines.

That is the nature of being a professional.

So I will ask you again, one software development professional to another, at which date will Opera 15 for Linux be available?

This is not an unreasonable request, given the fact that earlier versions of Opera support Linux, and Chromium supports Linux, as well.

Yours Sincerely And Yours Truly,
Sarah

Comment by Egor

So now that you don’t have your own rendering engine, why would I choose Opera over Chromium then?

Your own engine was the only reason I used it in a first place. Nice and fast.

Comment by Bruce

@sarah, sorry – I won’t give an exact date. People get sick; QA finds showstopper bugs; PR tells us that a certain date is a holiday in a key market; we have another product to release which causes slippage. Any of these can affect a process, so I’m unable to give you an exact date.

@Egor, try Opera 15. Even faster.

Comment by devloop

My kingdom for the “site preferences” in Opera 15 ! No extensions can fix this.
And I’d like to see Linux support too :’(

Comment by Bruce

@amar, an oversight – see in my article “I keep harping on about ctrl+enter”. Sorry! I shall make noise to get it sorted.

@devloop I’ll feed that back internally. (You mean iike the old “f12″?)

Comment by dvdgsng

1. How can you recommend using Evernote when the world is going crazy on US institutions watching every single online step?

2. I doubt that many users care which render engine Opera is using. They care about the UI. E.g. vertical tab bars are amazing in Opera 12. Or private tabs (not windows). Or right+left-mouse-combinations to go back and forth. See http://operabrowser.wikispaces.com/Features

Comment by altarius

my problem with opera 15 is, that i like some of the new features (or i got used to them ;) ) but they somehow just feel half-baked.
for example stash is quite a nice feature, but why can’t i organize my entries? you now finally have folders in speeddial, why not in stash? why not allowing grid-layout as in discover? why not allowing storing-to-stash with ctrl+D?
there are also other problems with the ui (if mouse is on tabbar: tabs only resize, if mouse is moved, download-popup prevents shortcuts like ctrl+S, tabs cant be dragged between windows …)

i really like all the new shiny web-things and the overall speed but something doesn’t feel right while using it (it just can’t provide the workflow as opera 12 or chromium 28)

Comment by Ed

Tab OverFlow, Like the way current Firefox and Old Opera used to do. When opening 50+ tabs Instead of having Tabs size into small unclickable buttons, it would overflow to right side of the Tab bar and you scroll through them.

While New Opera has written new “UI” from ground up, it has this exact “UI problems” with Chrome.

Comment by Stu

Where is the mouse chording? Whilst this sounds like such a small feature, its a complete showstopper to go without. Undoing 9 years of muscle memory isn’t easy.

Wikipedia even cites Opera as a common application of chording http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouse_chording

Then there’s all the other little things that have changed. Again, I can’t easily undo muscle memory. Ctrl-enter in the address bar has already been mentioned. What about ctrl-tab. In Opera 12, it would tab in most recently used order. Now it just cycles through. Perhaps it was configurable before, but I can’t find the option now. The old behaviour was great for flicking back and forth quickly between tabs.

What about closed tabs. Having a list of all closed tabs was very useful. Opening the just the last one, not so much.

What about / to search (vim-style search in page?). (Or full-stop to search links in page).

These are just a few small things (and I could list more), that were Opera’s bread and butter as far as UX goes. And now they’re gone, soon to be followed by any reason for me to continue using Opera. And that makes me sad, because I really enjoyed using Opera.

Developing a plugin for every little thing that Opera should do anyway seems very silly. Removing email I can understand, but these little things are what really made Opera the great browser that it *was*.

Comment by Stu

One to tick off my complaints… Full-stop (period) now does what forward slash did (search in page).

What about what full-stop used to do, which was limiting the search to links?

Comment by naj

For 10+ years opera has been my main browser, when it was announced that opera would switch to google engine I have been thinking of switching to another browser for a while because opera has been failing me more and more in recent times.

As a linux user, I’ve grown accustomed to being served well after the other users and as such am not surprised that I couldn’t try opera 15 for lack of a linux version.

I have absolutely no trust whatsoever in anything google related and I have noticed a trend in opera to become more and more like other browsers. Some useful (to me) features get replaced by other unwelcome default behaviour that can’t be disabled while incomplete features are shoehorned in and left to rot (hello annoying inefficient bittorrent client).

User feedback is ignored as usability is going downhill, then opera drops its rendering engine and switch to google’s engine and it seems to be another step in the wrong direction.

Will opera 15 fix the long broken bookmark manager ? session manager ? will opera stop messing with my bookmarks pushing spam at each update ? what about the plenty of other paper cuts and more annoying stuff ? Is it really gonna pull a firefox and remove useful features to rely on extensions which is one of the reason I dropped firefox.

I’ll wait till google based opera is out for linux to give a try and make up my mind, but I don’t have much hope for opera and am already planning to switch back to firefox as my default browser.

Comment by Sax

@naj
You are going to love the new speed dial then. There’s a giant google search field that can’t be removed or changed.

Comment by Emanuele

Hi Bruce

thanks for saying I’m a totally idiot. I appreciated it a lot. Thanks to you at Opera ASA now I will have no more problem to use bookmarks that can confuse me.

And thanks for removing mail, feed, IRC, notes, feed discovery, and all these archaic stuff… I was so stupid to use those tools in 2013.

Thanks to protect me from being able to move a button in the toolbar, or (holy God!) create one of them from my own. Or rearrange my toolbars (all that toolbars! very confusing!) or my menus the way I thought was better for me… I was certainly in fault… You guys certainly know better than me what I need and how I need it.

Thanks to remove everything my browser should have, because we need only a slim browser and extend it with extensions, but take the time to give us an absolutely needed stuff like Discover.

Thanks for not letting me write something in the address bar and filter results from Google, bookmarks and hystory.

Thanks for removing that simple, clean and powerful searchbox, in witch I could store all search engines i needed, from my toolbar.

Thanks for removing also toolbars like the statusbar, or the panels, or every other thing could confuse my poor, stupid, idiot brain.

And, finally, very very thank for giving us a so fast and sleek advertising platform. These was something I’ve always wanted.

Comment by LurkingGrue

I will quote the now late Douglas Engelbart (the man that invented Hyperlinks, Mouse and GUI in the 60s) on simplified interfaces:

“So everybody is supposed to ride tricycles because they’re easy to learn, natural to use. But the world shouldn’t live on tricycles, past the age of six. That’s the best analogy I can give to the world: do you want to be locked into tricycles because they’re easy to learn?”

Thanks Opera for giving us a tricycle.

Comment by LurkingGrue

And another thing!

Does your extension API allow for the modification of the interface? Can an extension even exist that would move the tabs to the bottom? How about the side?

Will we ever be able to move buttons around?

The faster horse quote was never said by Henry Ford so stop trying to be Apple as your desktop userbase is now utterly pissed.

Comment by swe

Hey,
Im using Opera for the last 12 years now pretty much for beeng able to combine my web/ mail/ rss/ newsgroups/ linkslibrary all at one place. Now this is all gone. It is so dissapointing! I sure could run the mail-aplication beside the browser, and use some 3. party notes/rss/irc tools… but what is the point then of using Opera anymore? I am realy curious.. please consider at least give us the possibility to edit the Ui back to the Opera experience we were used to have. PLEASE!

Comment by dvdgsng

So, whats the alternative to Opera 12? Chrome? Firefox? No thanks. Any suggestions?

How about releasing Opera 12 as open source, Presto as well as the GUI. Shouldn’t do you any harm and we would have a great code base to start working on a new open source browser.

Comment by Emanuele

There is one more thing that caught my attention while reading all that comments (99,9999% of them tell you (Opera) are wrong… can’t it be possible this is the true?) in the desktop team blog:

In the article, we say that we’re listening. And we are, and there will be more features coming soon. As we said, we are innovating and introducing features that solve problems people have. We’re looking at sync, theming and tab handling at the moment.

What?! You listen comments of your users and the first thing you’ll implement in Opera-Chromium (TO SOLVE PROBLEMS PEOPLE HAVE) will be themes???!!!! Are you serious about this?

there is no need for any other comment…

Comment by Sax

@Emanuele
They go by the browsing stats they’ve collected.
All hail the silent majority who only needs the address field and google.

Comment by foljs

@Sarah

I have been involved with developing software much of my life. I know the process inside and out, in domains ranging from small shareware utilities through to distributed enterprise systems down to embedded industrial control systems. Professional software developers do set deadlines, and professional software developers then meet those deadlines.

I call BS.

In fact, most software projects are late and a lot fail completely, and this is common knowledge to any professional software engineer.

There’s a huge body of work on that, from “The Mythical Month Month” to “Dreaming in Code”.

A professional would also know that major rewrites are NOT the kind of projects where deadlines are met.

It might work for some BS incremental update, but not for a release where 90% of the code was scrapped and a third party engine was retrofitted with the GUI redone from scratch.

So, I very much doubt your “professional credentials” or their relevance here — you sound mostly like a spoiled kid that wants his ice cream now.

This is not an unreasonable request, given the fact that earlier versions of Opera support Linux, and Chromium supports Linux, as well.

Professionals don’t spend much of their resources for a less than 1% Desktop platform, like Linux, that is also further fragmented into distributions.

Comment by Hayden

I’m disappointed there is no method to edit search providers, this is barrier to adoption for me. Trying to manually modify resources/default_partner_content.json is fruitless because it seems like Opera is running a checksum on the file and ignoring it completely if changed in the slightest (I assume to stop malicious intent).

I don’t care if the bundled search providers are non-editable, I’m guessing you get some revenue from them, but can we please have the ability to add new ones?

Comment by Bruce

Thanks for comments, all, Here are some replies

@Ed asked “Will there ever be Tab Overflow?”, @pgl asked “Will vertical tabs be supported?”, @stu asked “What about closed tabs” – we’re looking at better tab handling at the moment, but I haven’t seen the prototypes so not sure of exactly what’s in there.

@stu asked “What about what full-stop used to do, which was limiting the search to links?” – it’s always done full-text search (on my Win machine, at least)

@naj said “Will opera 15 fix the long broken bookmark manager ? session manager ?” – don’t know about bookmarks (but I’ m reporting back lots of feedback). R/e sessions; if you right-click in tabs, you can save all tabs as a speed dial group (which should say “”folder” – string bug there). Right click that folder to open all pages. I’ve requested an option to “open all in new window”, to replicate sessions.

@Emanuele said “What?! You listen comments of your users and the first thing you’ll implement in Opera-Chromium (TO SOLVE PROBLEMS PEOPLE HAVE) will be themes???!!!” Nope. I didn’t say it would be the first thing. And, you know, *not everyone is exactly like you*. Many users want theming back. We please them, you’re unhappy. We please you first, and they’re unhappy. @Emanuele also said, “thanks for saying I’m a totally idiot” – I don’t recall ever having had any conversation with you.

@Sax said “They go by the browsing stats they’ve collected.”. Yes. That’s data, and listening to customers. Is that bad?

@LurkingGrue said “Does your extension API allow for the modification of the interface?” not yet, no.

@hayden said “I don’t care if the bundled search providers are non-editable, I’m guessing you get some revenue from them, but can we please have the ability to add new ones?” Yes, like Firefox, we get revenue for sending searches to Google. I, too, would like to be able to edit the list of providers (and have asked for that). There is a context menu search extension that I’m using, which allows select text, then search from context menu and customise the search providers

Comment by Emanuele

And, you know, *not everyone is exactly like you*. Many users want theming back. We please them, you’re unhappy. We please you first, and they’re unhappy.

Yes, we know this… but you’ve to admit (and I respect you too much to think you don’t agree) that themes shouldn’t be one of the fist things you’ll implement when your actual browser is so poor… I think there are many many more users that complaints about bookmarks for example… however I well know that you’re only an employe and siply have to do what the company tell you to do… I only find very sad that you want convince me (with article like this) and other Opera users that the old Opera way was wrong, while even you know very well that this isn’t true at all.

over the years, Presto-based Opera had become overloaded with features, a number of them confusing rather than helping our users

Yes, you said your users are too stupid for having something more than a webpage viewer

However, I repeat, this isn’t in any way an attack to you or any other developers… we all know how the business things work

best regards

Comment by Matthias

What confuses me is the fact that, apparently, developers at Opera actually think they are doing the users a favour by dropping many features.

Bruce, you say Opera was “overloaded” in the past… right. Surely it was loaded with features. But overloaded?

As an example, somewhere it was stated by an Opera developer that many people were confused by the “fit to width” button. So this is a reason to just abandon the feature? I think you’re making it too easy with that kind of standpoint.

I mean, take a look at this list, especially the part titled “Unknown”.

These features were the reason why people use(d) Opera.
Maybe not all, but many

And now we have no idea when and if any of those things are going to come back. :(

I just hope that Opera 12 will get updates for some time longer.

Comment by bartoj

Bruce,
Thanks for the update. Despite initial disappointment, I can see what your drivers are, and actually think that you may be able to make a fist of this. Despite being a long-term Opera user (10 yrs), I have been looking at Sleipnir recently as an alternative if Opera 15 doesn’t progress as I hope it does, and it is an instructive experience to see how many features they’ve been able to develop on top of a chromium base – gives me hope for Opera’s development. Keep going – it seems too late to turn back!

Comment by Stu

Bruce, I was mistaken. It was actually , (comma) that would perform a search of links in the page, whereas . (fullstop) does full-text.

Comma still searches, but it now seems identical to the fullstop search :(

No word on mouse chording? That really is a deal breaker.

Oh, and where can the ‘Opera Developer’ version be found. The official announcement mentioned 3 versions would now be maintained. The stable version, ‘Opera Next’ for the beta of the next release, and ‘Opera Developer’ for more experimental stuff. I’d like to at least see if these critical features (chording) are in the pipeline, or whether it really is time for me to head back to Firefox.

Comment by scott

Discover seems very gimicky, tacky, and sad. I for sure will not use it. What a waste of time. You should not be wasting time coding things that select content. You goal should be finding the best way to deliver and render said content.

Discover is an affront to me. Opera thinks best it knows what I want to browse? It’s insulting to the user base that you spent time on that “feature”.

There are much better alternatives, Reddit for example, I just go there to get interesting content that I tailor to my interests. Not Opera’s pre-selected G rated content. All the content I want is better retrieved from elsewhere.

Comment by Cap LKL

There is no vision behind Opera 15, it’s just another Chromium .
Not the suite i’m looking for.

Comment by Ruetama

You reacting and handling like Apple – you don’t care about the will of the Users, tell them they don’t need things they wish and ask for and that they should focus on the other awesome features, telling everyone simplicity is everything, indirectly you do offend the traditional opera users by ignoring their emphases and label the loved key features useless and the wrong way (things you adverted for years), you pushing features no one wants, repeating the benefits over and over again…

I’m really sick of the way IT companies telling the world whats important – setting up borders and restrictions in the name of usability. And now Opera is doing the same :-(

Sorry for this comparison – It’s like switching from Android to iOS by force…

Comment by opera fanboy

why can’t you give us bookmarks and new speed dial?

make panel as extension, like ff did sidebar

Comment by Fabian

Bruce, Steve Faulkner rightfully rejoiced on Opera regaining screenreader compatibility since they broke it in version 7 in 2003. Accessibility champions had this as their number-one priority for ten years, only to get what they wanted by an engine switch.

At the same time this switch has now killed lots of Opera’s unique accessibility features, notably spatial navigation and other keyboard navigation (e.g. the way tab worked).

Are these things on to-do lists as well, or have we now converged on the desired level of conformance to other browsers’ practices?

I’m just asking as all ways in which Opera deviated from other browsers (also with spatial navigation and the tab key “not working”) caused complaints and suggestions to simply conform to the market’s mediocrity. Also in the opinion of certain (former) Opera employees, as above Twitter thread shows.

Comment by Francesco

@Sax said “They go by the browsing stats they’ve collected.”. Yes. That’s data, and listening to customers. Is that bad?

Most of the features of Opera 12.xx don’t show up in browsing stats or, to know how much people are using M2, bookmark, notes, tab feature, ect. you are collecting, without telling, more than just browsing data..

And even if Opera 15 is the response to what customers are asking, I have a bad news for you company, these customers and their needs are already covered by IE/Chrome/Firefox and your company and this beta product has nothing that can attract or convice new customers to change browser.

In the meantme, of course, you will lose all the power users that were using Opera for a reason, Its advanced features. And these power users were the ones that were, maybe slowly, expanding your users base, suggesting and installing Opera to all the people they were seek for their help or advice.

So, or this is a totally manager/marketing wrong decision or it’s a very cleaver tactics to dismiss developing of desktop browser to focus just on mobile. I don’t know which one is worst..

You are on the way of another shiny business failure, ask Netscape for advice..

Comment by Peter

The Opera I loved is dead, and will never come back :(.

So many features removed that I won’t start to list them here.

It’ll be SeaMonkey for me.

Bye.

Comment by Bruce

@stu asked “where can the ‘Opera Developer’ version be found.” – it’ll be out in a little while (desktop team a re having a well-earned break)

@scott said “Discover is an affront to me. Opera thinks best it knows what I want to browse?” Nope – just don’t use it. Many people really like it.

@ruetama said “you don’t care about the will of the Users”. We do. However, there are more than 50million users; some are thrilled that we’re using Blink; others angry and want Presto back. As I said to Sarah above, not everybody wants the same things.

@Francesco said “this is a totally manager/marketing wrong decision or it’s a very cleaver tactics to dismiss developing of desktop browser to focus just on mobile”. The move to use Blink and rebuild was entirely engineering-led, and not from marketing or management at all. Basically, we get – for free – a highly compatible rendering engine, so instead of tying up our best engineers on re-inventing standards support, we put them on implementing new standards support (that is committed back so everyone can use it) and implementing new UI features. Note, that does not mean re-implementing all the legacy stuff in Opera 12. It means re-examining what people need to do and coming up with new ways to solve those problems.

@Fabian asked about “spatial navigation and other keyboard navigation (e.g. the way tab worked). Are these things on to-do lists as well”. Better keyboard handling is on the roadmap, yes.

Comment by Jan

I’m not going to upgrade. I’ll stay with Opera 12x as long as possible. I need:

* Site Preferences (userCSS, userJS)
* customizable keyboard shortcuts (single key)
* user defined searches
* M2, RSS built-in client
* Notes panel
* Links panel
* F2 and Shift-F2 (+bookmark nicknames)

and a LOT more.

If I can’t use those features in Opera I’ll look somewhere else (after many, many years).

For all those years Opera has been a must tool for power users. Now you’re going to lose them all.

Comment by Matthias

Thats good news, thanks!

Funny thing is, they mention that many people used sessions to organize their pages. Are sessions going to come back later?

Also, opera:config is mentioned, what about that?

I personally will stay with Opera 12, since it still has loads of more features that I use, compared to Opera 15/16.

Comment by Francesco

Since 2007 we’ve been asking randomly-selected people if we could anonymously collect information from their Opera install (via opera:config#UserPrefs|EnableUsageReport) so we could see the features they use. Some of these users have volunteered to give us this data since 2007.

Based on the group of 100,000+ users, we saw that more than 90% of our users never actually added a single bookmark to the ones shipped with Opera. What most people actually do is:

- keep their favorite sites open all the time
- use above together with sessions
- use Speed Dial

So, from around 50.000.000 users, you choose randomly 0,2% of them and make marketing and design decision over this.. really? How can a random selection be a real rapresentation of the normal/avarage user?

No statistical sampling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_(statistics))?

Comment by Andreas

I perfectly understand the motivation to make a fresh start. Unfortunately I find Opera 15 is so utterly unusable, I simply can’t find the time to find workarounds for every single little thing I do in Opera 100s of times a day that don’t exist anymore. Far too many examples to list, and no good would come of listing them anyway.

But for my own sanity, just a couple:
- UI customisation: tab bar on the side which is so obvious
- Single-key shortcuts: Z/X/Q/A…
- Content blocker
- Wand/password manager/CTRL-ENTER
- CTRL-TAB to switch back+forth between current+previous tabs, not cycle through all tabs. I can’t express how much I use this (mapped to a single keypress).
- Customisability in general

It’s an eye opener to realise just how much you’ve come to rely on something when it abruptly changes.

Comment by Andreas

And several things referred to in O15 aren’t even there.

* From the desktop developer blog, July 2: “From Speed Dial, right-click the background image and select Change Theme”. No, it’s not in the menu.

* From built-in help: “To name or edit the web address of a [Speed Dial] entry: Right-click the entry’s thumbnail. Select Edit”. There’s no Edit in the menu.

* From built-in help: “To delete a [Speed Dial] group & all of its entries – right-click the group and select Delete Group”. No, it’s not there.

What gives?

Comment by Andreas

And the Bookmark Importer is greyed out. Why? I’m giving up in disgust. There’s now NO good browser to choose from on the planet – brilliant.

Comment by Ken

I lasted nearly 5 minutes before I uninstalled it.
Looks like 12 will be the last version of Opera I use.

Comment by Matthias

I personally will continue using Opera 12 until Chromium-Opera has the following features:
- customizable interface and keyboard shortcuts
- dragonfly
- cached history navigation
- site-specific preferences
- … I actually wanted to make a short list of the things that are currently deal-breakers for me, but I noticed this list would get too long… guess I’ll just have to hope that Opera 12 will still get security updates for some time.

Comment by Bruce

@matthias wrote ” many people used sessions to organize their pages. Are sessions going to come back later?”

Right click anywhere in your tabs, choose “save as speed dial group” [which should say "speed dial folder"; string bug fixed in Opera 16]. This saves all open tabs as a Speed Dial folder. Right click a folder, choose “open all”. I’ve asked for “open all in a new window” to be added later.

@andreas said “several things referred to in O15 aren’t even there” – they are all there. “the Bookmark Importer is greyed out. Why?” because bookmarks are coming back in a later version

Comment by Haudihou

Features overload?

All the good features, that make Opera Opera, a and still the Opera 15 setup.exe is much bigger than Opera 12 setup file is.

Comment by mauro_cerisola

Thanks for explaining, Bruce.

While I find still hard to like Opera 15, here is my list of most-wished features from Opera 12:
- vertical tab bar: helps coping with 16:9 monitors, where I have plenty of width but lack height;
- print preview: who knows how many sheets and ink my print will take?

Comment by Matthias

Thanks Mauro – I’ve added those to the feature request list

You added “vertical tab bar” and “print preview” to the feature request list?

What about the other features requested here in the comments? By Andreas and me for example?

Sorry I don’t want to sound rude, but I’m just interested what you guys at Opera actually have on your feature request list! :)

Comment by Waleed El mougy

I want to suggest some adding to opera 15 and that was in opera 12.12
1- I have many accounts in same site but when I try to use them as saved passwords in opera 15 I surprise that I can use only one account with its password
so I want to add something to able me to choose from many accounts when I try to use them as saved passwords
2- I hope to add (empty on exit) check box to history and cache disk to able me to delete them when I close the opera 15 if the check box was selected
3- I hope to add (delete new cookies when exiting opera) check box cookies page in setting in opera 15
4- I hope to add the forms page that has my personal information to able me to auto-fill forms with these info I have filled before in this forms page
thanks a lot

Comment by Bruce

Matthias

the other feature requests were already logged.

I don’t know that we’d publish the huge feature discussion list, as some are things we’re developing internally and don’t want to discuss openly yet. But I’m lobbying hard to be more forthcoming about upcoming features.

However, they haven’t made me King of Opera yet.

Comment by mem

Bruce,

Thanks for the post; I found your site by reading through some of the feedback on Opera’s main site. I share this more by way of conversation than complaint—I guess you’ve probably had enough flames and trolls to last for awhile.

I actually bought Opera as a kid back in the 90s—I’ll have to see whether my floppy disk is still sitting in archives somewhere—so I’ve been using it for awhile.

I’m also a software engineer, and I (at least in theory) understand that Opera has a fairly significant hole to climb out of if greater share in a (shrinking?) desktop browser market is one of the business goals as competition in mobile browsing is heating up. Opera has always had something of niche status as a browser, and I guess that’s another reason you have such passionate (I’m being nice) users.

Working in a small company, I handle a lot of IT responsibilities as well as engineering, and I decided to install Opera on a colleague’s machine after the nth infestation with malware and trojans. The site-specific preferences are a life-saver in these situations since you can turn off basically everything—iframes, Javascript, plugins, cookies—and enable them for the sites that you want to actually work. I was a bit surprised to find this missing in 15, though I can appreciate that most of your users probably don’t take advantage of the complete awesomeness that is that feature. (I use it daily in my own browsing as well.) She complained about not being able to import bookmarks, so I just installed 12.16 instead.

My own route to using Opera almost exclusively has been through M2, which I still think is the best mail client I have ever used. (Two reasons: I can easily read contact email without filters, and M2 automatically handles mailing list messages. I have more than 87,000 emails, and M2 is just fantastic. Database loading was, admittedly, quite slow on my old machine, and the mail client is sucking up a fair bit of RAM, but the tradeoffs are worth it, IMHO.)

One thing I do appreciate from an engineering perspective is standards compliance. It’s like skating in hockey or dribbling in football; it’s your worst core competence in a sense: you can’t play if you can’t skate or dribble, and you have to have other skills.

I also appreciate that loosely-coupled suites tend to be more manageable than conglomerate applications, provided that your code base isn’t too fragmented. I expect it could be a nightmare to manage a Torrent client alongside an IRC client and the other skillion features that you’ve integrated into the browser. Dis-integrating (couldn’t help myself) these seems, honestly, like a Good Engineering Idea to me, although I will probably cry over M2′s grave if it’s a casualty of the revisions.

Personally, I think Opera’s business is in for a rough ride and I can only suspect (and hope) that this is Phase I of a rather larger Grand Scheme on the part of Management. Don’t want to be too bleak, but it amazes me that Opera are still around at all given the sheer dominance (and market cap) of the major players. This, I think, is in no small part to seeing the future in embedded browsing ahead of the curve.

Most of your users are probably not “browser-as-a-service” sort of people, but this is where the market is, and what Opera need to capture to live. Opera’s ecosystem, such as it is, is considerably smaller than Google’s (i.e., Google Apps) or Microsoft’s (which admittedly is still growing), and gaining market share is going to require more than just switching engines. You’ll have to be able to integrate the browser (via extension or natively) with Google apps, Flickr, Pintrest, Facebook, LinkedIn et c., while attempting to develop your own set of core dev. APIs that encourage independent application development.

Spinning off M2, augmenting with a well-designed Calendar (integrating well with common calendar apps) and task management could help, though won’t probably knock of Exchange or cause people to migrate from Google. IMAP support is a little dodgy still, too, which is a real killer if you have to support email-in-the-cloud.

In any case, I’ve probably wasted a bit too much of my time, to say nothing of yours. I’ve appreciated Opera and enjoyed using it for a long time, and I hope it’s viable for my use in the future. Thanks for your hard work.

Comment by G Man

FIrst-time user of Opera here. And definitely not a power-user, programmer, or hacker.

Frankly, I love Opera 15 as-is. Simple, light, fast. Safari is a pig; I only use it since I’m stuck in the Apple iCloud ecosystem. Chrome is nice, but overwhelming – since when does my browser need “apps?”

I hope to see the mobile (e.g. iOS) versions of Opera Mini catch up to Opera 15.

That said, what I feel is missing is:
(1) a simple way to import Safari bookmarks (and retain their folder structure)
(2) Opera Link compatibility, to unify everything across all of my devices.

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Comment by Sebi

No bookmarks? Yeah, I read your thoughts about them, and no, I don’t share them. I keep my Quick Dial with maybe 8-9 websites I really browse a lot.
I have my sidebar open with my Bookmarks, and guess what? I can click and browse.. not click and open a folder and then look for what I need. And from what I hear, there are many, many users that feel the same.

No middle-mouse-button click-to-close/click-to-open tab? Jesus!

No master-password?

No options to customise anything whatsoever.

How is this a step forward? I have just uninstalled 16 and went back to 12.

Comment by adore

When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked on the
-Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from
now on every time a comment is added I receive 4
emails with the same comment. There has to be a way you can remove
me from that service? Kudos!