So, right now browser preview/beta releases are the new black. IE7b2 is doing the rounds, so I won't bother getting back into that circus. Let's have a look at Opera 9 Technology Preview 2 (on PC, since that's what I use).

what's good

There's a lot of polish going into this version, but I won't bore you with every single little detail which I like. The bigger points:

  • I will mention that overall, a huge number of preference/options settings now have more flexibility.
  • Add any search to the search dropdown, just by right-clicking it. You can define a search keyword while you're at it. I've since discovered Firefox lets you define your own search keywords, but it's not as easy and you still can't add it to the dropdown without writing an extension.
  • opera:config ... the ability to deep link a preference setting is going to make life a lot easier when directing users to a particular setting.
  • Tab/window nomenclature now matches other browsers. I'm sure a certain standardista will feel vindicated.
  • BitTorrent. The cool kids tell me BitTorrent is a good thing. It wasn't included in previous versions since there were some bugs - gasp, I hear you say... a software company that didn't just slap the new feature in, bugs and all? That's right, they waited until it was good and ready for public consumption. That's a company that cares. Redmond this ain't.
  • The ability to change a stack of settings for specific sites. So now you can disable flash but have it automatically re-enabled for those three sites where you actually wanted the flash.
  • Content blocking - seems to be something similar to the popular "ad block" in Firefox, which is nice. I'm also thinking of blocking the boring photos posted by specific users in some photography groups...
  • Tab thumbnails, making it easier to find that particular tab.
  • "Insert personal"... it's form field autocomplete, but in a user-controlled manner. I really like this.

what's bad

Actually not a huge amount to complain about.

  • Still doesn't have a "home" button on the toolbar, out of the box. Seriously, what the hell? I really don't like the default toolbar and I always change it immediately. It is my opinion that this one single issue causes the most trouble for potential new users.
  • Tab selection order still bugs me, I'm sure a certain standardista would agree. It's that reading-through-the-blogroll thing.
  • Some settings still don't have quite enough flexibility for my liking, eg. I'd like to be able to allow the tab bar to extend to a second row but no more.

what's... not sure

  • Widgets. People who went nuts for Konfabulator (or whatever it was called) should get a kick out of widgets. Plus, they look the same as all the faux-plastic/glass widgets that I see plastered all over the Mac at work. People love those things. So anyway, I'll have to play with the widgets a bit more to see if they're useful for me.


I'm looking forward to the final release. Although, actually the beta has been rock solid on my machine so far anyway.

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