Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Opera 10

Opera 10 installation

Even though Opera counts for a tiny percentage of the traffic on my main sites its still a level 1 supported browser along with IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari and therefore when new versions come out some time is spent investigating the browser and checking how our sites look and hunting down any bugs caused by new features being added or old ones being removed from the script engine.

Today it was Opera 10's turn and I must say the whole experience of just installing the browser was very disheartening. It took a long time just for the download opera button to actually do anything and then you have to pick a mirror to download from which took ages in itself and it was a good half hour before the 3 of us all had installed the browser.

One of the new features is its Turbo option which apparently helps speed up delivery of sites on slow networks through compression techniques. There are 3 options on, off and automatic which detects the speed of the connection and enables or disables the feature. I found that I couldn't actually get the option to enable for the first few attempts as it kept coming back with "could not connect to server" errors, which server I do not know as the actual site I was viewing loaded okay.

Once enabled however I found that on sites where flash is used you will be met with some hilariously over sized play buttons depending on the size of the flash movie. We have a peel over advert on some sites and the play button that appeared was almost a third of the page! It seems with Turbo enabled Opera will only download the bare minimum required to get the page to load and then if you want flash to play you have to hit the over sized buttons. Javascript as well takes a very long time to load with this feature enabled which I suppose it because it is also one of the last things to be loaded so that the page loads quickly, or appears to.

I also didn't realise that the EOLAS patenting issue hadn't been resolved in Opera like it had in Internet Explorer as unless you output flash with Javascript or use a script to reinsert the flash objects you will have to click the object before it will play. I was under the impression this had been resolved but apparently only IE has sorted this so if you are serving flash server side you will need some JS code to re-insert the OBJECT / EMBED tags into the DOM.

Opera seems like a nice browser however there are much better ones in my opinion and they shot themselves in the foot for so long by charging for it and I doubt there market share will ever rise above Firefox, Safari, Chrome or IEs. However it just has enough of a share that warrants me having to spend time getting my sites to work in it so until it drops off the chart I will be having to do these checks quite regularly.

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