It’s with a heavy heart that I make the announcement that I’ve given up on the Opera browser. I’ve used Opera for many years now and was a pretty ardent supporter and evangelist. Things have changed recently and after much research, I’ve settled on a new browser.
Why did I give up on Opera? The last release, 12.x, was a total disaster, and sent a lot of people, including me, running back to older versions. It’s been getting more and more common that new major releases have serious problems and I kind of reached the point of saying “why am I dealing with this?” Another reason is that I got tired of sites not working with Opera, usually financial websites. When I have to switch browsers just to pay my bills, why not just switch altogether?
The other reason to leave came to me during a technical seminar on mobile application development. The presenter showed a graphic with a 1:1 mapping of operating system to browser. iOS=Safari, Android=Chrome, Windows/Windows Phone 8=IE. There was no Opera there. There is no chance that Opera is going to enjoy deep integration like these browsers. It will always be an app, not a part of the operating system.
I was pretty entrenched with Opera. It had some features I really enjoyed and some things I had to have. I began my initial migration process by converting a lot of my specialized functions into bookmarklets. This allowed them to work in any browser. But there was a feature in Opera that kept me from moving: the ability to launch an application from a custom menu item. I did tons of research and study of developing plug-ins for each browser. In the end, I found a way to do what I needed. And my new browser of choice?
It’s surprising, even to me. The browser mocked by the whole internet community is now my choice of browser. And you know what? It’s not all that bad. It’s been quite a while that all browsers were acceptably fast and people began arguing about milliseconds of difference. People would get involved with arguing over support of obscure protocols, which I never used. But what I did use, and IE supported, was the custom menu and the launching of external programs.
In retrospect, I guess I could have made that feature work with Firefox, but FF suffers from the same non-integration as Opera, it also has a significant reliance on 3rd-party plug-ins, which slow it down and require regular maintenance.