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[Click to Enlarge] Opera 11 features a cleaner look, a new mail pane, tab grouping, a speedup, and ... extensions

"Lights Out" is one of our favorite extensions. It makes watching YouTube videos much easier on the eyes, by blacking out the background..
New browser packs extensions, tab-stacking, faster speed, and lots of other perks

For those of you that missed it, on Thursday Norway's Opera Software ASA released Opera 11.  We've used plenty of browsers in our day, and we can tell you that the Opera browser, like Google's Chrome browser, is headed in a very good direction.

Before we get started, we suggest you take Opera 11 out for a test drive of your own.  You can grab the browser here.  The browser is available in Windows, Linux, and OS X.

I. The Browser

i. Looks

Opera 11 has always looked pretty nice.  With the latest release, Opera has made its Aero Glass a bit more transparent.  Overall the look is cleaner.  All the key buttons (such as your close tabs button "recycle" button on the top right, or you turbo button on the bottom left) are all in easy to reach locations.

The browser looks remarkably similar to Mozilla's Firefox 4.0 beta 7, with a few subtle differences.  It breaks the refresh button out to the left, where Mozilla has this on the right as a smaller button within the address bar.  And the "feedback" button has been replaced by the more useful "Tab Recycling" icon, which allows you to reopen closed tabs.

Firefox 4.0b7 and Chrome 8 were our two previous favorites in terms of looks.  But Opera may be the best looking browser we've tested yet.

We do have one complaint, though.  We would like to see Opera adopt Firefox's method of pressing the "Alt" key to temporarily get the traditional menu bar.  You can get such a bar in Opera, but you have to manually select it ("Menu" > "Show Menu Bar") and deselect it ("File" > "Show Menu Bar").  If this tweak was added, we couldn't imagine a much better interface.

ii. Extensions

As to the functionality, Opera has a lot of nice upgrades.  The biggest one is extensions.

From the Opera homepage you can go to "Add-ons" > "Opera extensions" to access the growing catalog of extensions.

Right now the catalog is relatively small -- only 215 extensions (Mozilla's Firefox has close to 12,800).  Nonetheless, there are some useful ones already available.  We test drove "AdSweep", which is the Opera extensions equivalent of Firefox's "AdBlock".  In our tests it worked flawlessly, blocking ads even on traditionally ad-rich pages like Sports Illustrated.  

We also tested out a pair of video related extensions -- "Turn Off the Lights" and "FastestTube".  For being so simple, we love Turn Off the Lights.  It essentially makes the Browser window black, except for the currently watched video.  For watching internet videos, we now view this as virtually essential.  FastestTube, by contrast, allows you to download YouTube videos.  In our tests this worked with some videos, but others appeared to disallow videos (such as a CNN.com clip).

In short, there isn't that big an extensions catalog yet, but the current catalog already greatly enhances Opera's web browser.

iii. Turbo

Turbo, introduced with Opera 10.0, is one of our favorite things in Opera.  When tethering to a smartphone, Turbo allows much faster page loads.  If you are using any browser other than Opera when tethering (unless it's work mandated, of course), we'd say you're doing yourself a disservice.  

Note Turbo can not work on https pages due to technical details (but that's a good thing for security).

iv. Tab Stacking

Our second favorite feature in Opera 11 is a new one -- tab stacking.  Firefox 4.0b7's tab grouping is similar, but left us with mixed feelings.  You had to jump into a different window and the process wasn't entirely intuitive.  By contrast, tab stacking is flawlessly executed.  You drag one tab on another, and voilà! it's stacked.  To access your stacked tabs, just click the little arrow next to them to expand or contract a particularly stack.

Tab stacking is an absolute godsend when you have a large amount of tabs open.  It allows you to instantly access groups of similar tabs (e.g. Amazon.com product searches/views or your favorite news sites) without having to view them 24-7.

v. Mail Client

Another feature we really like is Opera's mail panel.  Basically it feels like Thunderbird and a browser fused into one.  Accessing it is a bit less than intuitive (though Opera's tutorial does a pretty good job of explaining).

To access it, you must first go to "Menu" (top of screen) > "Mail and Chat Accounts..."  A dialog will then comes up that allows you to add the necessary details that you need to access your email.

Once complete, you can click the "Panels" button on the far bottom left.  Then just click the envelope icon (left) and the mail panel will instantly appear and begin to populate.  Note, clicking "Inbox" opens a new tab, with your email inbox, as do the other links.

Our only complaint here would be that we'd like to see the envelope icon automatically accessible when you press the "Panels" button.  Rather than being forced to add the account by sifting through "Menus", it would be far more intuitive just to click the envelope icon and have it automatically launch the setup process if an account hadn't been added.

Still the mail client is superb, so we can't complain too much.

vi. Mouse Gestures

Rounding out the features, there's a new visual interface to mouse gestures.  To intentionally or unintentionally access this new interface, just hold down your right mouse button.  Your list of gestures is instantly displayed.

To be honest, despite testing several versions of Opera over the last few years, we'd never taken the time to really use mouse gestures fully.  Now that it's been presented in a more intuitive way, we've finally started to use them.

Mouse Gestures, we would say, take a bit of readjusting by your brain.  But when you learn how to use them, you'll be quickly performing them, and you'll have to touch the address bar ("Back", "Reload", etc.) far less.  

vii. Safer Address Field

The final improvement worth noting is the addition of new icons next to the address you visit.  Regular web pages say "Web" (or "Turbo" when Turbo mode is active), while https sites show up as "Secure".  The bar also warns you about untrusted sites.  You can click the little icon to get more details about the page you're on.

viii. A note on compatibility

We've had issues with Opera in the past in using sites designed primarily to work with Internet Explorer/Firefox.  As we did not code these sites ourselves, we're not sure quite where the problems lay.  But revisiting these sites, in Opera 11 they all work spectacularly.  In fact, we did not encounter a single site that did not work properly in the browser, thus far.

Compatibility was a big thing in the past preventing us from using Opera as our daily browser.  But we now no longer have misgiving.

II.  The Benchmark

So Opera 11 has a ton of features and looks great.  It also sports a new JavaScript engine that's supposed to be significantly faster.  But how fast is it, exactly?

This time around we stuck with our test procedure from our last "Browser Wars 2" entry.  Our basic goal was to be as comprehensive as possible, including any accurate tests we could find.  

We compare Opera 11 to Firefox 4.0 beta 7, which you can get here, and Chrome 8, which you can get here.

For basic benchmarks, we have included an overall test (Peacekeeper by FutureMark), a CSS Test (How to Create's CSS loading test), two pure Javascript-only tests (Sunspider and Celtic Kane's JSBenchmark), and a composite test of various Javascript and DOM tests (Dojo Toolkit's "TaskSpeed").

We also continue to use Microsoft's rendering tests -- FishIE TankPsychedelic Browser, and Flying Images -- which show off the advantage of hardware acceleration (which still is not up to snuff in Chrome and Opera, as you'll see).  Note, Microsoft also makes all of these tests, so there may be some sort of favoritism there -- but we hope not.

Additionally, we've run Mozilla's Kraken, a lengthy Javascript benchmark that represents Mozilla's crack at making a test similar to Sunspider.  As with the Microsoft rendering tests, we hope there's no tweaks to give Firefox an edge here (but there might be).

The results are as follows:

(Note: IE 9 test results for these same tests are available in the linked previous Browser Wars 2 entry)

i. PeaceKeeper

1. Chrome (8.0.552.224) - 5328
2. Opera (v11.00) - 3627
3. Firefox 4.0b7 - 2594

ii. CSS Test

1. Opera (v11.00) - 9 ms, 4 ms, 5 ms
2. Chrome (8.0.552.224) - 10 ms, 6 ms, 6 ms
3. Firefox 4.0b7 - 30 ms, 8 ms, 8 ms

iii. Sunspider

1. Chrome (8.0.552.224) - 314.3ms ± 3.6%
2. Opera (v11.00) - 459.7ms ± 0.4%
3. Firefox 4.0b7 - 510.0ms ± 6.4%

iv. JSBenchmark (10 trials)

1.Chrome (8.0.552.224) - 434 ± 17
2. Opera (v11.00) - 280 ± 6
3. Firefox 4.0b7 - 260 ± 6

v. Dojo Tool Kit

1. Opera (v11.00) - 329, 710, 481, 458, 331, 164, 166, 170, 312
2. Chrome (8.0.552.224) - 207, 1110, 442, 457, 492, 181, 200, 202, 345 
3. Firefox 4.0b7 - 185, 1358, 599, 761, 551, 345, 337, 339, 553 

vi. FishIE Tank (1000 fish)

1. Firefox 4.0b7 - 35 fps
2. Chrome (8.0.552.224) - 3 fps
3. Opera (v11.00) - 20 fps (did not render properly)

vii. Psychedelic Browser (Hallucinogenic Mode)

1. Firefox 4.0b7 - 599 RPM
2. Chrome (8.0.552.224) - 38 RPM (standard mode only...)
3. Opera (v11.00) - 10 RPM (standard mode only...)

viii. Flying Images (256 images)

1. Firefox 4.0b7 - 50 fps
2. Chrome (8.0.552.224) - 15 fps
3. Opera (v11.00) - 9 fps (rendering issues)

ix. Kraken

1. Firefox 4.0b7 - 12119.4ms +/- 0.8%
2. Opera (v11.00) - 20804.8ms +/- 1.2%
3. Chrome (8.0.552.224) - 25400.9ms +/- 0.4%

x. Conclusions

Unlike some past rounds of browser wars, it's tough to call a clear winner here.  Opera 11 and Chrome 8 tend to split the Javascript/CSS tests.  But Firefox runs away with the rendering tests, thanks to its GPU acceleration.  Firefox 4.0b7 also earned the best score in Kraken, but Mozilla writes this benchmark, so we have a sneaking suspicions its written some sort of optimizations in its JS engine to enhance its results, given that its JS engine was far slower than Opera and Chrome's in third-party tests.

III. Final Thoughts

We would strongly recommend that readers test out Opera 11, as it's proven itself to be a great browser in our testing.  While many have embraced Firefox, it tends to lag a bit behind Opera and Chrome in terms of features and speed.  Firefox 4 certainly has some promising new features, it remains to be seen whether it is enough to hold off a surging Chrome.

Opera 11 could propel the Norwegian browser maker to similar success, we feel.  Assuming enough people actually try the new browser, we're guessing a number will enjoy it enough to make it their day-to-day browser.

Of course Opera, Google, and Mozilla all have their work cut out for them as there's always the dark horse candidate in this race -- Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.  After years of inferior releases, Microsoft finally looks ready to release a modern browser.

For now, Opera can celebrate the fact that it got this impressive release out the door ahead of Firefox 4 and IE 9's release versions.

All testing was done on a 64-bit Windows 7 Professional Edition. The hardware used was a MacBook Pro with an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T9600, a NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT GPU, and 4 GB of DDR RAM.



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IE9
By B3an on 12/18/2010 4:26:48 PM , Rating: 5
Wheres IE9? It's not like IE is the most widely used browser or anything...




RE: IE9
By Lugaidster on 12/18/2010 6:42:44 PM , Rating: 4
I have to ask the same thing. IE9 is shaping up to be quite a good browser. Critics aside, it renders many things better than Opera 10.63. I'm not in my workstation so I can't test Opera 11 but when I get to my work I'll test it.

I develop websites and I have decided that I'll use as little hacks as possible. Firfox 3.x, Chrome 7, Safari 5 and IE9 give me little trouble. IE8 doesn't render some effects but other than that I'm ok. The thing is I expected more from Opera and what I got is the same I saw with IE8.

I home it got more css3 support this time.


RE: IE9
By WTFzilla on 12/18/2010 10:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the only reason IE9 "renders correctly" is that it falls back to using the IE7 engine for thousands of sites. The IE9 engine does not handle all those sites.


RE: IE9
By inighthawki on 12/19/2010 12:00:36 AM , Rating: 2
Can you cite that? I honestly just don't believe that. Why would it fall back to a rendering engine that is worse than its normal one for no reason?


RE: IE9
By quiksilvr on 12/19/2010 1:49:26 AM , Rating: 1
RE: IE9
By smitty3268 on 12/19/2010 2:51:14 AM , Rating: 3
It's complicated.

Basically, a bunch of sites on the internet were built to run on IE6, which meant putting in a bunch of hacks and work-arounds to make it all work correctly. On the other hand, all the other browsers work much better and don't require the hacks - in fact they would break if the hacks were present because they specifically were written for IE6. So to solve that problem, the websites figure out which browser you're running, and serve up the hacky version to IE users and the correct one to everyone else.

Now IE9 (and even IE8 solved many issues) have a better rendering engine that works with the same standards other browsers use, but that means they also break when served up the hacky IE6/7 versions of websites. Now, the correct fix here is to get all the websites to fix their broken code to render correctly on newer version of IE (which they can mostly just use the same stuff they use for other browsers) but because there are so many of these websites out there Microsoft didn't want their browser to break on all the websites that didn't do so - so they decided to put in compatibility modes, to try and fall back to IE6 and IE7 rendering modes when necessary rather than trying to use the newer, better engine all the time.

So, there is a reason.


RE: IE9
By inighthawki on 12/19/2010 3:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
I already knew that, but what stops IE9 from just rendering the pages like FF/chrome/opera? Even if there's a little tag that says "IE use this code:" there's nothing stopping IE9 from ignoring that and using the better code that works in other browsers... I don't see why IE9 would have to attempt to render something in a legacy rendering engine when it's fully capable of doing it better in the first place.


RE: IE9
By smitty3268 on 12/19/2010 5:18:43 PM , Rating: 3
You don't understand. The webpages have code like this:

if (using IE) {
do hacky fixes
}
else {
do standard webpage
}

the fix is to change the if condition to check for the version of IE < 8, but many websites don't do that. Newer websites do, and in fact often have different paths for Webkit vs. Firefox as well.

There's no way IE can just ignore the hacks - they could well be doing something valid, there's no way the browser can tell if it should be doing something or not. There's not even a standard way of checking which browser is being used - sometimes it checks the name, but more often when this is a problem it just checks if a certain DOM API is present, and if it is then it assumes it must be either IE or Netscape based on which check they ran.


RE: IE9
By smitty3268 on 12/19/2010 5:21:35 PM , Rating: 2
For example, one of the hacks in the IE version might be to add extra padding to certain page elements. The browser has no way of knowing whether the extra padding is actually needed or if it's a work around to fix the fact that IE6 mistakenly didn't add padding in the first place.


RE: IE9
By kingius on 12/20/2010 7:18:41 AM , Rating: 2
Aye, but you're forgetting one crucial fact: the browser CAN tell and that's how it can switch to the IE6 rendering engine.


RE: IE9
By bug77 on 12/20/2010 9:13:12 AM , Rating: 2
No, it can't. If the site detects IE, it will serve IE content, there's nothing the browser can do about it. IE can switch to the legacy mode because Microsoft constantly feeds it lists of websites that need legacy mode.


RE: IE9
By kingius on 12/20/2010 10:09:19 AM , Rating: 2
It's a compatibility list? That's crazy. Why not just report the browser as being different and have done with it.


RE: IE9
By bug77 on 12/20/2010 11:22:29 AM , Rating: 2
Crazy? When was the last time Microsoft did things the sane way? From a user's point of view, that is.

Plus IE is loosing marketshare anyway. Why would they want to report IE as FF?


RE: IE9
By adiposity on 12/20/2010 11:39:54 AM , Rating: 2
What MS should is change the browser string to

MSFT 9.0

Then they can keep their compatibility list and identify as IE6/IE7 on sites that absolutely need it (personally I would like to see that disappear but they probably won't do that).

Then, only sites on the compatibility list would act differently. Nothing else would detect IE, so they would have to use a "standard" code path (usually targeted for DOM specs).


RE: IE9
By bug77 on 12/20/2010 5:06:22 PM , Rating: 2
That's what they do. IE identifies itself as IE 6, IE 7, IE 8 or IE 9. But some sites just look for IE and that's when they have to fallback to using a list.
Microsoft reaps what it sawed. 5 years ago they were pretty happy having their own vision about what a standard is for.


RE: IE9
By adiposity on 12/20/2010 11:46:19 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you read what I wrote, or didn't understand it. I was suggesting switching from "IE 8.0" to "MSFT 9.0".

Note that the new string does not contain "IE", thus avoiding the problem you mentioned.


RE: IE9
By bug77 on 12/21/2010 3:59:11 AM , Rating: 2
Then you could get a "Your browser is not supported" message instead.


RE: IE9
By gescom on 12/19/2010 8:25:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not like IE is the most widely used browser or anything...


Not in Europe.


RE: IE9
By gescom on 12/19/2010 8:30:21 AM , Rating: 3
Of course, UK and The Netherlands should be ignored as they are 51st and 52nd state of the USA.


RE: IE9
By kingius on 12/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: IE9
By raabscuttle on 12/20/2010 12:37:42 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, he must have meant WORLDWIDE. The whole world doesn't revolve around Europe (much as Europe would like to think). 3.14% with the PC and mini combined looks like a blip.

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/browser-market-sha...


As an Opera User for 3+ years
By Belard on 12/18/2010 8:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
Many years ago, I really wanted to get OFF of IE - I tried FF 2.0 and it did and STILL doesn't work with my needs and even to this day, almost any time I open FF - there is something being updated, added, etc before I even actually USE the browser.

Now, if anything - FF is trying to LOOK more like Opera. Opera 11 looks almost like Opera 10. I'm about to do the upgrade, but looking at the screen shots- there are tweaks here and there.

Many of the features you talk about, have been part of Opera 10 for a long long time. And I was even active during the beta-test of Opera 10, in which the UI would change weekly as we'd give the design time our opinions. At one point, the HOME button looked TOO good and out of place with the other Navigation buttons and the Opera team fixed that really quick.

Things like the TAB recycle-bin (to re-open a closed tab) has been there since Opera 9... it works great.

A great feature of Opera is that it SIMPLY saves your tabs, doesn't bug you about what to close or save, it does it. And when you bring Opera back up (from a reboot / etc) - it saves your browsing history IE: you can STILL press the BACK button and get somewhere.

The DOWN side of Opera is that its a memory hog with how it caches and hold pages. :(

IE7~8 never came close to Opera (IE7 was the reason I tried FF and went to Opera). There are some sites that REFUSE to work with Opera, just because of the name.

The MENU-BAR... yes, when they hid it into Opera's "Start" button - it was a bit un-nerving. And the ALT-key like in IE doesn't work that way (it open the menu)... but after a while, you'll realize THE NEW style works. Most of the functions are there, but arrange better.

A good trick that *I* change in Opera... is that I TURN on the VIEW BAR (under appearances) - then I drag and copy the FIND IN PAGE search box and Find-Next-on-Page button over to the Status bar. I also copy the SHOW/HIDE images and move it to the ZOOM area tab on the bottom. Then turn off the View bar. This is the OLD-style Opera 8 and older.

Searching for text with OPERA is a beauty that NO OTHER browser does. Start typing in the word(s) in the box (as I said above) the screen goes DARK and highlights the words your looking for - ALL of them.

I'm off to give Opera 11 and try!

PS: Its amazing that Google's Chrome is version 1.0~8.0 in 2 years. You can't tell the difference, visually between them. While Opera goes through more major changes that you can tell. Tweaks, fixes, UI adjustments. I use Chrome when I have too. Right clicking on an image with OPERA tells you so much; size, file name, and location that is selectable for copy. Chrome is my 2nd choice browser... if there wasn't Opera, Chrome would be my first.

Overall... glad that IE continues and will continue to lose market share.




RE: As an Opera User for 3+ years
By WTFzilla on 12/18/2010 10:15:06 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The DOWN side of Opera is that its a memory hog with how it caches and hold pages.

Not at all. Opera dynamically adapts the memory usage, unlike the crude memory handling of other browsers.

If you have more memory available, it uses more to do things faster. If you have less, it uses less.


RE: As an Opera User for 3+ years
By fepcoder on 12/19/2010 11:50:44 AM , Rating: 2
Feels really fast. Chrome on my system is ungodly slow. I think that Chrome is highly file system I/O dependent. I'm often burning DVDs, so I don't have much excess file system bandwidth. So, Chrome is the slowest browser that I've every used. Opera feels really snappy.

This is on a Core2Duo E8400 box with 4GB RAM running Windows 7 64-bit while burning DVDs.


RE: As an Opera User for 3+ years
By B3an on 12/20/2010 7:52:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think that Chrome is highly file system I/O dependent.


Thats true. On my SSD's it flies and is the fastest browser, but on my old laptop with a 5400RPM HDD it's one of the slowest browsers.


RE: As an Opera User for 3+ years
By jonmcc33 on 12/19/2010 9:31:25 AM , Rating: 4
As stated, the memory use is for the memory that you have available. If you have less system RAM then Opera uses less memory. The good thing is that when using up a lot of memory, Opera doesn't slow to a crawl. It will also drop memory use as you close out tabs. I remember once I had Firefox open for a few days and after some heavy use it was up to 1.3GB memory for the firefox.exe process. It was slower than a snail and even after I closed all tabs (just left one open) it was still using 1.3GB memory. How's that for a memory leak that apparently doesn't exist?

Good job of pointing out the Find feature in Opera. I too like how the entire page dims and all the words that match your search are highlighted so you have no problem seeing it.

Also, way to point out Chrome's rampant version jumps but no change at all in it's UI. Google apparently doesn't pay attention to standards for software versions. A few minor internal tweaks and it's suddenly whole versions higher.


RE: As an Opera User for 3+ years
By Pirks on 12/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: As an Opera User for 3+ years
By Belard on 12/21/2010 1:23:12 AM , Rating: 2
Uh.... Opera's TEXT search function has been around LONG before Safari came about. The dimming of the screen is "new" for Opera 10... that was the only change. The "Speed Dial" feature has been around for about 4-5 years, which replaces my "home" page.

Tabbing : Opera standard long time ago. Its simplified UI is still the cleanest and most customizable and more understandable designs. Safari uses a broken flow layout.
R1: Nav & Address Bar
R2: View & Quick Links Bar
R3: Tabs
R4: Browser Space

Even Chrome has a default Links bar thats between the Tab/Address & Browser space.

I have these browsers for web development. I use Opera as my primary personal browser.

A: Some sites block Opera, Safari and Chrome on purpose. :(

B: With the tools I have to use, Opera isn't 100% compatible (But I'll try again with ver. 11) in some functions, but it is in looks (colors / font codes / etc). Chrome is most compatible. FF get some things wrong (Get blue when it should be red) and some odd shifting. Safari... A few oddities, nothing major. IE8, the most screw up compared to the others and its the BEST MS has... I don't even try to fix anything for IE.

C: All these browsers are a good thing. I do wish Opera had more market share... they don't have Apple or Google to help and lost years trying to sell their browser when IE and Netscape were free.

D: Almost every part of Opera is customizable, you can move buttons anywhere. Their skins are vast (Which includes button) - but since 10.x, the default Opera skin has been the best IMHO.


Actually....
By jonmcc33 on 12/18/2010 4:36:58 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The browser looks remarkably similar to Mozilla's Firefox 4.0 beta 7....


You mean that Firefox 4.0 beta 7 looks remarkably similar to Opera, right? Opera has had the menu button that way since version 10.50 which came out Mar 2, 2010. Firefox? They are just copying Opera - per the usual.




RE: Actually....
By RyanVM on 12/19/2010 5:07:12 PM , Rating: 2
FWIW, Mozilla was prototyping the Firefox button in mockups on their wiki long before Opera 10.50 came out. Firefox just paid the price for their insanely long release cycles compared to the competition.


RE: Actually....
By justjc on 12/20/2010 9:32:45 AM , Rating: 2
I will admit that Firefox was the first to make the idea of a single app menu approach public, but I find it hard to believe Opera hadn't already come up with the idea at the time.

The first mention I can find of the single app menu approach for Windows is at https://wiki.mozilla.org/UX/2009-11-16 accompanied by a sketch posted at http://blog.stephenhorlander.com/2009/11/20/sketch... days later. The date for the first mention is the 16th of November 2009. The presentation of Operas new UI, with a working pre-alpha, was made on the 22nd of December at http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2009/12/22/fr...

What you seem to imply is that Opera in just over a month was able to not only copy and implement the idea, but also to improve on it significantly by making it their own. Looking at the sketch I see that Opera reorganized the content of the button and, in opposition to the Firefox team (read: http://blog.stephenhorlander.com/2009/12/21/window... ), knew exactly how and where to place it.

Personally I believe that Opera came first and Mozilla knows it. It is to me the only explanation that fits the decision to place the App menu on top of the tabs, adding a fat horizontal line for that menu alone, since they had a better design, looking like Opera does on most systems in their mock ups.
Sadly the images posted in this article seem to imply they are alike, but in most cases Operas actually look better. Just have a look at http://files.myopera.com/huibk/files/Windows7_new_... from the soon to be year old presentation.


RE: Actually....
By bug77 on 12/20/2010 9:55:57 AM , Rating: 2
That's rich.

First you post links showing Mozilla listed the idea first and then you say "Personally I believe that Opera came first and Mozilla knows it".

I guess you can believe anything, once you put the logic to rest.

PS: Changing a menu is not a particularly challenging task.


RE: Actually....
By justjc on 12/22/2010 12:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
I guess you didn't get my argument for Opera being first.

My argument is that I see no good reason why a design team would choose the design the Mozilla team ended up with, when http://blog.stephenhorlander.com/2009/12/21/window... shows a design closer to Operas UI was under consideration. With the current design they might as well have kept the menu bar.

If you look at the comments the Opera design is the one most commentators ask for.

Only real reason I see not to choose the better looking design, as Opera did, is that it would reveal that it was in fact the Mozilla team that was stealing. They did after all steal the way Opera puts the address bar below the tab.


Fanboys
By Bonesdad on 12/19/2010 10:55:59 AM , Rating: 2
use whatever browser you like...it really doesn't matter.




RE: Fanboys
By justjc on 12/20/2010 10:03:57 AM , Rating: 2
You couldn't be more wrong!

For a fanboy it would matter a great deal what browser they're presented with ;-P

For the rest of the users of the Internet the results of browser benchmarks, like the one in the article, doesn't really matter. What browser they use however does. I believe that UI features like Mouse Gestures, the recycling bin, browser history, synchronized history and prediction of the next site in Opera saves me near an hour every day.


RE: Fanboys
By Luticus on 12/20/2010 3:39:08 PM , Rating: 2
I just want a browser that shows me as much information as possible in an organized manner while showing me as little of itself as it can. IE9 does a great job of this by getting rid of the status bar and putting the tab bar and the address bar on the same line.

features i like from opera:
1 tab stacking/grouping (thought i wish they'd add colorization)
2 skinning. Transparent opera skins look dead sexy.
3 completely custom interface. you can move anything just about anywhere in opera.

Things i hate:
1 the new extensions are great but the buttons they make are all locked in the order they are installed and in the same location. they should be free floating.
2 tab colors please!
3 let me customize the speed dial page more. I want to be able to edit the names of the speed dial items.
4 any button should be insert-able into any bar... as of now it's not.
5 make building custom buttons easier.

just my $0.02


Gotta have my Xmarks :(
By phylop on 12/19/2010 8:47:33 PM , Rating: 2
I really like Opera, but since Xmarks doesn't support it I can't make it my primary browser. :-(




RE: Gotta have my Xmarks :(
By meatfestival on 12/20/2010 9:32:53 AM , Rating: 2
Xmarks is being discontinued, is it not?

Most browsers are including their own syncing features anyway, or there are other extensions available.


RE: Gotta have my Xmarks :(
By justjc on 12/20/2010 9:43:05 AM , Rating: 2
Try having a look at Opera Link, it does exactly the same as XMarks just for Opera browsers. Also I can't imagine it would be an impossible dream to think Opera could get an application making the use of XMarks possible, the new owners of XMark(LastPass) have after all made one for their own service.


Hope this is useful...
By Aloonatic on 12/19/2010 8:00:14 AM , Rating: 2
...in answering some of the questions asked in comments elsewhere:

Acer Aspire 1410 - Celeron 743 (1,300MHz), X4500M (tho Peacekeeper thought it was an X4500MHD???) 3GB DDR2 PC2-5300, Win 7 Home Prem.

I figured that this kind of notebook is the sort of device where this sort of thing matters.

Peacekeeper score:

Chrome 9.0.597.19.......................3539
Opera 11.00...............................3380
Firefox 4.0b7...............1600
IE 9.0.7930.16406....1318
Firefox 3.6.13...........1268

I was running MSN messenger in the background for all tests. I realised after doing a couple of tests and couldn't be bothered to start again, so left it running for all of them, but didn't do anything with it, or receive any message or mail throughout.

I also had adblock running in Chrome and both versions of FireFox.




RE: Hope this is useful...
By Aloonatic on 12/19/2010 9:13:44 AM , Rating: 2
Just tried the flying images test on the same hardware...

Basically, Chorme 9 and IE 9 were the only browsers that made a good fist of it.

Chrome 9: 44-48 FPS

IE9: 32-36 FPS (but the mouse pointer was very unresponsive)

Opera 11 managed about 10-12 FPS (but was at least responsive)

Then both FireFoxes managed 4 or 5 FPS.


IE9
By Spivonious on 12/20/2010 10:21:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
After years of inferior releases, Microsoft finally looks ready to release a modern browser.


I thought IE7 was pretty modern when it came out. IE8 is also good.

I'm curious what you mean when you say "modern".




RE: IE9
By adiposity on 12/20/2010 11:59:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I thought IE7 was pretty modern when it came out. IE8 is also good.


Personally, I didn't think much of IE7. Besides the fact that it was slow and had a poorly designed GUI, it didn't do enough to improve over the IE6 rendering engine.

It was "modern" in the sense that it was released more recently than IE6, which was a dinosaur at the time, and that it finally added a tabbed interface, which all other major browsers had at the time.

I would say, it was the first step in a tortured process to make IE modern. First, they added the major features they were missing (tabs, addons). IE8 was the second step and vastly improved the rendering engine. And IE9 will hopefully perfect both the GUI and the rendering engine.


Two questions
By justjc on 12/18/2010 4:29:31 PM , Rating: 3
Reading your test I am left with two clear questions.
1) What kind of system were you testing on?
This question is relevant because Firefox and IE both have hardware acceleration making the results change considerably depending on the graphics in the system. The many people stuck on Intel graphics will not see those two perform as well and those with more powerful than the tested could gain some.

2) What did you miss in the "O" menu since you needed the menu bar?
I have yet to find anything that can be done in the menu bar that isn't available in the "O" menu, in which case it's hardly something you could complain about missing a shortcut to.




UI
By CColtManM on 12/18/2010 5:21:50 PM , Rating: 2
I used to think it was a nice refresh to see all the new UI's for internet browsers, not i think it's becoming a bit out of control.

Simplify, speed up, and make it look like it should. Done.




I got slightly different results
By maveric7911 on 12/18/2010 5:52:49 PM , Rating: 2
I had 4 fps in chrome and 60 fps in firefox 4. I think I may re-try firefox now that I can see from my testing and some surfing it is much improved. I suggest others who gave firefox a back seat to chrome and others to give it a try as well.




Ground-loops for me...
By Basilisk on 12/18/2010 7:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
Crashes every time it starts while trying to display a (previously viewed) page from MonoPrice. Oh joy... another opportunity to debug an installation or product. Maybe I can await the next release....

Win7 pro, 8GB, 1055t, r5750.




note to editor
By bjacobson on 12/18/2010 10:46:59 PM , Rating: 2
makes more sense to have the colors be locked to the browser, not to 1st/2nd/3rd place.




re: Kraken
By smitty3268 on 12/18/2010 11:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
The benchmark Mozilla wrote. There's nothing in there that explicitly favors Firefox, but the nature of the code (lots of straight-forward loops) is exactly the kind of code that Firefox's tracing compiler excels at, which is why even the score from FF3.5 is so much higher than the competition which all use method JIT compilers. FF4 is adding a method JIT compiler into FF as well, to try to make up for the situations where their tracing compiler doesn't work so well.

It's worth noting that Chrome 10 has a new compiler, and it beats out Firefox in the benchmark.




Finally Works With Comcast's Mail Site
By smegz on 12/21/2010 1:38:43 PM , Rating: 2
Been trying to give Opera a serious look since version 8, but they always failed to open Comcast's mail site. Finally, 11 let's me view my email in the browser.




"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis














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