My Missing features: An honest discussion about what I would love to see in 25+
I know that with all the changes that have happened with Opera and the new directions the company is heading there have been a lot of emotions and complaints on both sides of the discussion.
Some people welcomed the change and some screaming in frustration that so much has changed. I personally was very upset and did not understand why everything had to be started from scratch and why not just the rendering engine could be swapped and changed.
After the shock of all the change I have defiantly stayed with Opera 12, not because I am stubborn but because there is so much I miss from my browser when I try to move.
I on a few occasions have run an exercise and installed several browsers and dug through their respective add-on sites looking for ways to recreate my favourite features and emulate my preferred browsing experience.
These exercises have yielded some success but in my opinion it’s not very slick and does not cover everything. My best effort came with Firefox, with several extensions I am able to create something that is sort of close to my ideal browsing experience.
So it’s been a while now that I find myself still using Opera 12 and at times my custom Firefox. I don’t like having to have two browsers so I am here to nicely tell you about the features I miss most in Opera 23 and hope the developers think carefully about maybe including some of these ideas on their road map.
I have been using Opera as my primary browser for almost 15years now and I can’t stand that I am not running the latest version of my favourite piece of software. I don’t think people understand how much time some people spend in there browsers and how important their browsing experience is to some.
Below is my list and why. These are in order of most important to least important, I put things in order regardless if I could emulate a feature through extensions, because it’s important to me to have them in an out the box slick integrated way. I have to admit it was not easy picking an order.
If anything I mention below is in the latest version, please feel free to point it out and scold me for complaining about something that was already available.
As a developer this is a deal breaker for me. Once you spend any amount of time using Dragonfly you find using anything else just feels wrong. I have tried the dev tools from Chrome, Firefox and even IE. Even Firebug does not come close to the ease of use of Dragonfly. I see it has not has any real development activity in years and maybe you guys feel the Chromium developer tools are good enough, I am here to tell in my opinion they not and if you give me this one feature I can overlook almost everything else and move, Dragonfly means that much to me. If you want to take back the web make your browser friendly for developers and better than the rest.
This is something that when it was introduced I immediately liked and started using, to the point now where I can’t work without it. It’s something that bookmarks and stash features just don’t work in the same way and are not equivalent. I must admit I really liked Firefox Groups feature, it made me able to have different browser session depending on purpose with the ability to switch easily, but it’s not the same as stacking. I actually want both groups and stacking, that would be ideal.
The way tabs worked in 12 for me makes a big difference to my frustration with other browser. There is currently an extension that mostly fixes this for me called Classic Tabs. For me this needs to be part of the main out of the box browsing experience. I can’t explain how frustrating it is when tabs don’t open, close or switch the way you expect.
Tab Trash, or Undo closed tabs
I can find replacement plugins for this in most browsers in some way or from but I it’s not the same. The short cut key being very important, some of these extensions don’t support a short-cut key and without it in my opinion the feature is incomplete and almost useless. Regardless, being able to resurrect a tab I used and closed several hours ago is very important, and having a history feature is not the same thing.
Separate Search box
The all in one search/address bar for me is very frustrating and I know some people really like it but I really feel it needs to be optional and that we should be able to choose if we want a separate search field or not. For me it’s a must, I have several custom search engines setup and I am able to using just the keyboard do a search in one of several search sites I have setup on Opera 12. I know I can use a prefix but that does not seem to work for me. I have too many to remember that many extensions. Lastly I can’t explain how often the ominbar does a search when I am trying to type or copy and paste an address, and lastly I have seen how many non-computer savvy people struggle to understand the all in one address bar.
Sidebar / Panels
I use the sidebar in Opere 12 every day. I like how quickly I can access some features and how I can then if I want open that feature as a tab. I was able to in a crude version of things recreate this in Firefox using something called the all in one sidebar, and it gets the job done but it not very slick compared to how the same thing are done in 12. With this I would also like to see things like the info panel and window list panel back. I can see the Firefox groups feature if every added being part of this in some way as well.
Memory, lag and processes
Now I know Opera 12 was not perfect when it came to resource management but I can sometimes have up to 50 tabs open and it will use over 1G and still be highly responsive. I personally don’t like the multi thread sandbox approach of Chrome and I know I can’t do much about that but can we look at killing old processes when tabs are closed and reducing the memory usage, and does every tab require CPU time when they not being viewed. Maybe an advanced feature can be added for power uses were I can pause a tab that I know I want to keep open but I know it’s going to be a while before I use it. I actually don’t care how this is done but I need to be able to use my web browser with anything from 1-50 tabs and not have it stutter or freeze for short periods of time I also don’t want it to take up so many resources that other applications suffer.
I have left out a few big ones that should be on the list but because you have said you working on it or it has arrived with the promise of improvements they not on the list. Things like Bookmarks and a Stable Linux release. I have say the fact that Opera treated all the platforms it supported equally is one of the reasons I raved about Opera to friends and family because I knew no matter what that their preferred OS was they would be looked after. I would rather see you support fewer platforms and rather see same day releases for all supported platforms.
I really hope people don’t see this as a bashing but rather a constructive look at what is holding me back from using the latest version of my favourite browser.