Thursday, 11 June 2009

Some thoughts on Opera 10 beta

Spent a couple of days with Opera 10 beta, and I have to say it's looking good. A few observations:
  • The new Mac theme is serviceable—and therefore a vast improvement over the old one—although it helps if you switch the colour scheme to anything except 'None'.
  • The built-in mail server works fine, almost to the point of tempting me away from my current client of choice, Postbox. If only I could figure out how to set up some rules…
  • The integrated spell-checker is an essential addition; the lack of one has turned me away from Opera more than once.
  • The graphical tabs are nice, but the screen estate they take up renders them almost useless to me—in contrast to OmniWeb's implementation, which places them more efficiently on the left or the right.
  • I haven't yet managed to achieve full marks on the Acid3 test, on 99%. Not sure what I've got set wrong, but there you go.
  • As billed, facebook runs very smoothly.
There are so many things I love about Opera: integrated ad-blocking, mouse gestures, speed dial, the ability to reopen closed tabs, and even the mail, but in the end I always end up going back to Safari / Webkit. Opera has just never felt particularly Mac-like, and that's always been disconcerting, a friction between myself and the internet. The missing dictionary was a case in point: when every single app can access the Oxford dictionary built into OS X, an app which has no dictionary access whatsoever feels unbelievably crude. Opera 10 beta has gone a long way to overcoming this, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

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