Current version: Opera 6.05 for Windows.


Browsers. This item has become the staple of many in these, the days of the Internet and the World Wide Web, with importance ranking right up there with comfortable toilet paper, (although you do not generally "use up your last roll" of browser, a little something to be thankful for)... A good many of us don't much care what we use, as long as it gets the job done. For the most part, that is my philosophy: if it works, use it. If it craps on you, kick the $#!t out of it, scream and curse, wad it into a ball, and punt it into the recycle bin. That said, you may well understand why I view IE with a leery eye, having run it in conjunction with Win95B. After the umpteenth crash which required a reboot, I used Netscape and was happy. Two years later, the upgrade itch starts burning again. Granted, Netscape was far from perfect. I wouldn't consider using anything but Navigator; Communicator likely spawned from the same bug-demon infested pit that spewed out the filth that is IE, what with its nasty email, news, and whatchamacallit readers.

So, that said, when Navigator bit it yet again on the third attempt to load a page, I said, "screw it", and bought a copy of the only other alternative (aside from the not-ready-yet Mozilla) I could think of, Opera.


The table below is a running tally of things both good and bad I've seen when using Opera.

Pros:
  • Seems to render pages at least as fast as Navigator.
  • Does not need scroll bars to scroll windows that do not all fit on the screen.
  • Has some spiffy download speed gauges.
  • A myriad of options to play with that, while not quite as nicely laid out as Navigator's, are a world and a half easier to access and change than the immortal IE.
  • It has some interesting cookie filters, more than just the regular yes/no/ask options, as well as an option that appears to delete all "new" cookies upon exit.
  • It opens new browser windows within its own window! I love this! Within Opera, they stay safetly contained within the main Opera window.)
  • If indeed Opera *does* crash (which happened a handful of times over the past few months), when it is restarted, it asks if you want to return to the state it was in before the "interruption". Quite nice, going right back to all your web sites even after a rare crash.
  • There is an option to disallow a window from spawning a new one! Kick ass! (Due to my own site design, I keep that option off... for now.)
  • When viewed with Opera, my site looks as it should.
Cons:
  • Costs $39USD.
  • Some tables seem to load differently than with Netscape/IE... (I'll look more into this later, but as it is now, it's a con. Or a bug in the page code.)
  • It doesn't seem to autocomplete URLs that you type into the "Go" box, (although I spazzed out and smacked the F2 key, which appears to function as a normal Navigator "Go" box would.. just type part of it and smack the down arrow key. It's an extra keystroke tho, so it's a con.)
  • Its learning curve is steeper than average. It's a con moreso than a pro, but RTFM. (Replaced above item with this one.)


Uh, that's about it.. for now. If I come across anything new, I'll outline it here.

Score:
Netscape beats IE (if NN crashes, my OS doesn't.)
Opera beats Netscape (Stable Javascript and workable email client)




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