Opera 7

Opera 7 is out and a pretty impressive little browser from what I've seen so far.

It's been rewritten since Opera 6, smaller than Opera 6 no less. In fact, the version without the Java runtime weighs in at a 3.2 MB download. That's substantially smaller than Phoenix or Chimera, the 'lightweight' versions of Mozilla.

It has better standards support. It renders my site beautifully. In fact, it does a better job rendering the external link CSS than any other browser, especially for the cases where the link happens to wrap to the following line, as it does for this long link to my home page -- some browsers don't render it at all, some render it to the right of the first line, but Opera does the right thing. Oh and with Safari, the external links look terrible because for whatever reason, it ignores the no-repeat rule. I hope this gets fixed in Safari before the final release. I ran it through the W3C CSS1 test suite, CSS Edge site and others. So far, so good.

The keyboard navigation features are very cool. Shift+Arrows to spatially navigate links/clickable objects within the document. Keys for site navigation (assuming the site has the <link> tags for them), like Ctrl+Shift+Space to go to the home page; Ctrl+Shift+F for the site search page; First, Next, Previous, Last, Up, etc. all have similar hot keys.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but so far I haven't seen any ads in Opera 7. Have they dropped the ad panel with this release or did they forget to enable it in the final build? Update: Yes, ads are in there and will be enabled 14 days after installation. Thanks, Phil.

Well in any event, it's comforting to know that browser competition is alive and well. In fact, Internet Explorer 6 is looking downright ancient these days. I think it's the only browser left that doesn't natively offer the option to disable popup windows. Where is Microsoft these days? 6.0 came out back in August of 2001 fer cryin' out loud.

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4 Comments

Ads: from the final screen of the installer (you didn't read every word?!):

"Opera will start displaying banner ads after 14 days if not registered."

Probably a pretty good idea: two weeks to get their target market hooked, and then the ads encourage them to pay up.

Off to see whether they are still lying about their DOM support.

Ole said:

Too bad that browser competition for MacOS seems to decline. In fear of Safari, both Opera and Chimera developments are likely to be stopped.

Jeff said:

Chimera isn't going to stop. Mike Pinkerton, the lead developer, was "torn" on what to do with the project when Safari was released, but now development is going strong.

Opera will probably stop their development, but its not like they have been doing much anyways. They still only have version 6 out on OS X and it sucks. It is not very mac-like at all and it doesn't support standards as well as other browsers.

I see competition on OS X increasing we have lots of browsers.

- Mozilla is getting better especially with 1.3b since they moved to the machO code base. It is faster now.

- Chimera is still going and moving along nicely. I, and many others, still use it over Safari because of tabbed browsing and various other things.

- Omniweb will hopefully have another version out soon, possibly using webcore. Their CEO said they were considering it.

- Safari will just improve and provide a great standards compliant HTML engine on the mac platform

- IE, well who cares :). It might continue, it might not, but if Safari can get their page rendering very good it wont matter.

- Experimental Phoenix OS X build. This looks promising.

- Other webcore based browsers. I can see more browsers being made in the future based on webcore. This will give a standards compliant, fast and open source renderer for them to use easily. This is a good thing.

So it seems browsers are doing better on OS X than in the windows world.

Rob said:

My site tends to look pretty good in Safari. However, it renders the pages so much different than IE, OmniWeb, Mozilla, and Phoenix. I just find it difficult to write the pages so they look good in all the browsers now. I don't even bother with Opera and Chimera. Of all the browsers, the site still looks the best in Mozilla and IE. OmniWeb looks good, but does horrible with the Styles.

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