Hello again, Opera

Earlier this week, I was working as normal, checking emails, looking at tasks, reading tweets, as you do. One thing that did catch me out though, was that apparently, Opera Next got a decent update, so I was intrigued. After giving the update a try, it's safe to say Opera has got me to use it again.

Opera wasn't exactly one of my favourite browsers, in fact it was a browser I wanted to start ignoring because during A Student Guide to Web Design's development it was becoming a bit difficult to tackle as it didn't handle things like certain transitions well. It's also it didn't update enough, and all in all, I found it heavy to use. I admired Dragonfly (its Developer Tools) but other than that, I'd only make sure the website worked to the best of Opera's abilities and get out of there as quick as possible. If anything, with its meager market share I was considering dropping it.

Opera, all is forgiven

When Opera Next had released their latest update earlier this week, I was interested to give it a try. Imagine how glad I was to see this as its new User Agent.

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_8_2) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/28.0.1500.20 Safari/537.36  OPR/15.0.1147.18 (Edition Next)

It's been a long time coming, but Opera has finally moved on from Presto to Webkit, particularly the Chromium Build. I've been working with Opera Next for a bit now and it's fantastic; it has a nice UI, it has Chrome Developer Tools, and is better to handle. I'm pretty happy with this new development and I think it's better for Opera to strive at this point in time.

It's also proof that an application so old can still strive even if it has to change to survive, and I can see Opera still being a part of the browser market for a long time.

Not the greatest reason for change

However, while there are a few reasons for this change, there's one I'm unsure to be proud of as a Front End Developer. One of the reasons for such a change is to benefit its users by using another Engine (therefore retiring Presto), but one of the bigger reasons is lack of support for Opera by web developers, especially since they once intended to implement webkit prefixes since developers weren't supporting other browsers needing prefixes. This has pretty much led Opera to go with something else, and it seems wrong but also gives Webkit more market share, which is something developers get sckeptical about.

However, the good news is Opera is using the Chromium build, which will eventually become the Blink engine. This is good as it gives browser diversity, as developers dread a one-browser land, but Opera will also contribute to the project, so they will be adding new features to the engine and fine-tuning it along with Google and other contributors to the project.

Hoping for the better

Because Opera is a contributor to Chromium, it's safe to say its future is very hopeful and will hopefully gain a larger user base. It's certainly a Browser to keep an eye out for, or get back into. I will admit, it needs cleaning up and tinkering but it's definitely going to be a browser I'll pop back into. I used to ignore Opera but I will say I'm willing to give it another chance, and it's already winning me over. You should give it a try too.

Written by Iain MacDonald

Iain MacDonald is a Web Designer and Developer from Glasgow, Scotland. He likes clean code, functionality, and vibrant design. You can find Iain on Twitter, Dribbble or at his Website.

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