Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Opera 15 - a brand new browser is born!

Opera, one of the fastest browsers for both mobile and desktop platforms with various features to give the full flavor of the world wide web has released a brand new version of their popular browser. Opera 15 is here. Leaping from version 12.15 they skipped all the numbers between and have launched an "Opera 15" with very different looks and feel. This browser is unmistakably a new-born who have lost much of its old glamor along with the rendering engine Presto. The news is that Linux users will get this newer version a little late. Quote from Opera official site - "We are planning to release a Chromium-based Opera for Linux, but it's not ready yet."

Opera 15 at .NeXT

Official Site and Download : opera.com/computer

Opera 15, based on Chromium Blink platform is just a native Chrome lookalike browser with some of its old glory remaining! But as an old user me myself is not too worried and has kept my fingers crossed for a better version again soon. There are something new in this baby Opera too. The new rendering engine of course have revolutionized the fact where Opera failed to render many pages which in turn had pushed away many users to other alternatives. The Google V8 Javascript is another addition to that same goal of improving the lacking features. The others are listed here.

New Changes:

Operating System Integration:

The new UI is set to integrate with your machine. A lot like the latest Firefox release, but it does help the interface become lot simpler for a dedicated Opera user.

Speed Dial:

Speed Dial has always been the trademark for Opera browser. However like that in the Android version, the Opera for your desktop has been revamped with the bookmarks now integrated with older interface of speed dial. The interface now simply gives you a visual overview of your favorite pages. When you migrate from Opera 12 to Opera 15, you're offered the option of converting your bookmarks to Speed Dial entries — just click on the orange Bookmark Importer to get started. Note that you can now group Speed Dial entries together into folders, just by dragging one on top of the other — if you want, you can name the folder via a simple right-click. To add a page or extension to Speed Dial, simply click on the big plus sign. You can also do this while you're browsing, of course: just click the "Add to Speed Dial" icon in the top right corner of the address bar, and the page in question will be added to Speed Dial.

If you want to save all your open tabs into one Speed Dial folder (you've been doing some research, or looking at holidays), simply right-click anywhere in in the tab bar and choose "Save tabs as Speed Dial group". To re-open them all, simply right-click on the Speed Dial folder and choose Open all.

If you have a lot of Speed Dial entries, you can click the search icon in the top right corner. Start typing in the field that appears, and your bookmarked sites will be filtered in real-time.

Stash:

Do you sometimes find yourself browsing the web, and coming across pages you want to save for later — e.g. a list of favorite gadgets on Amazon, or a selection of hotels on a booking site? This always posed a problem in the past, and many were using their tab bar to hold tabs for later use. With Opera 15, you can Stash a page, and return to it when you have time.

Simply hit the heart icon when you're on a page you like and whenever you want to return to it, open your Stash from the start page (open a new tab or click the Start Page icon to the left of the address field). When a page has already been added to your Stash, the address field icon will be highlighted to reflect that. You can click the highlighted icon to remove the page from your Stash.

To adjust the size of your stashed items, use the slider to the right. If you have a lot of stashed items, you can click the search icon in the top right corner of the Stash page, and just like with Speed Dial, filter your stashed sites in real-time.

Discover:

Discover is another new feature to Opera for Android and Opera 15 for Computers, which helps you find interesting content to jump straight into browsing. Click the cog to change settings - select your language and location, and select subjects depending on your interests. For launch there are 13 categories in 32 languages.


Combined address and search field:

Opera 15 for Computers has a combined address and search bar, showing suggestions (that can be turned off via Settings > Privacy and Security) and multiple search providers. You can also set your default search provider in the Preferences section.

Off-Road mode:

Just because you have a computer rather than a mobile device doesn't mean that you're always on fast Wi-Fi; you might be on shared Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, or your network might be slow today. Activating Off-Road Mode from the Opera Menu sends pages through Opera's compression servers, reducing the page size significantly by using a smart mix of image compression, SPDY and more. Note that rendering happens on the client side, so JavaScript will work without a problem. Secure (https) pages don't get sent through our proxy.

Mouse gestures:

One of Opera's classic features, mouse gestures, let you perform common browsing actions with small, quick mouse movements. Note that on Mac they are by default disabled, since Mac has native support for system touch gestures.

Advanced keyboard shortcuts are also available, but are off by default. To enable them, go to Settings > Browser > Enable advanced keyboard shortcuts. And while you're at it, have a look at the other advanced settings on opera:settings.
(Details of new changes courtesy to "Bruce Lawson" at my opera)

Shortcoming?

I am afraid that even for a long time user like me I had too many problems with Opera 15 and had to get back to version 12. The problems I felt before I took the decision were as follows.

  • The theme system is gone. You may now add a wallpaper of your choice in the new tab page.
  • The extensions are not there to enhance your browsing experience. Although it is a fact that being a chromium based browser the extensions should soon be available once again.
  • The super fast page loading experience is not there! As the rendering system changed the pages load from scratch when you reopen the browser. For the same reason when you clone a tab it keeps the changes made to the primary tab, which is more like Chrome and Firefox.
  • The tab management has been degraded by removing some useful features. Open in new tab now load always unfocused. As such the option to "open in background tab" has been removed reducing the flexibility it offered. The "reload every" function is just not there! It will be missed by people who needs it(e.g. me).
  • The tabs itself always stop loading and look same as any visited tab. It will most certainly annoy people who work with many tabs open and need to check things in different tabs.
  • The mail client has been made into a different application. It was not my type of thing anyway. But some people must be using it.
  • The classic bookmark option have to be accessed through an extension only.
  • No "Notes". I needed those and I can't live without those in my Opera.
  • The bittorrent interface has been removed too.

Now, it is a fact that the rendering engine and other new things look more robust and certainly more compatible than the older versions of this browser. But the daily used features being not there, the usability of the application as a browser for any dedicated user is guaranteed to be hampered. Hopefully we will see a new version with lot more changes and many new advancement reducing the present issues in not too distant future.

Note: I still use Opera 12.15(latest released version) along with Opera Next(latest version) side by side.


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