Hello opera community!
I felt the urge to express my opinion on the new functionality of the "stash" and it's changes, since for me, it was one of the most outstanding and useful features opera had to offer in comparison to other browsers. And i think the stash has, unfortunately, lost some of it's qualities with the newest update.
To describe which role and function the stash had for me, and possibly the majority of users, i want to quickly and very vaguely reconstruct the historical development of functions for reaccessing previously visited websites.
At first, there were the plain bookmarks, a structured list of links - there was no other option but storing everything you wanted to revisit in there. There was no separation between important links (frequently visited) and links which are just stored for reading/visiting later (once). Of couse you could create such a distinction on your own by creating folders.
If i remember correctly, the speed dial was introduced some time later. It offered to have the most important links be represented on the browser's starting page, thus having them more easily accessible. But since, at first, it couldn't be very well customized and structured, it was no competitior to the original bookmarks - the basic list of links. The bookmarks kept it's importance and still were the main feature for storing links. The speed dial was merely just a side feature, and felt overall badly integrated within the whole system of storing links, since it had no correlation to the original bookmarks - it had to be set up separately entirely.
With the update that implemented stash, the bookmarks and speed dial were more or less merged together. The original bookmarks design (as a list of links) was dropped and optained the visual appearance of the speed dial. For the first time, the speed dial design came to use, since it was no longer a competitor to original bookmarks but contained the bookmarks itself. This made stored links very very well accessible and well represented.
Now the stash brought the distinction between imporatant links (frequently visited - i call them "frequented" here) and links which to be visited "later" (used once or twice - i will call these "single-use"). The stashed links were also very well accessible, since they were stored in a tab of the speed dial. You could esily switch between the stash and the other tabs (speed dial (=former bookmarks) and "discover"). So the starting page was a proper navigational hub. You could flexibly access anything you needed.
Overall, the functional layout with storing links as it was until the current version worked wonderfully for me, and i wouldn't want to miss it.
The distincting between single-use and frequented links was on point, in my opionion. It exactly fit my browsing behavior. Everything was super accessible. Both saving bookmarks and storing pages in the stash. And restoring links was always just two clicks away, all happened within the very same navigational hub, the start page.
Now, you might argue: This is still how it works today with opera version 25, isn't it? - Well not quite, i would say. Here are my points of critique:
So firstly, frequented and single-use links are all mixed up right now. These are no longer separate categories, but having a link represented at the speed dial page is now like a bonus feature to that (stashed) link. This is also represented in the way you save links to the speed dial with the current version 25: The option so save a link to speed dial is now located in the dropdown menu of the already stashed page (to the rightside of the address bar).
So the way i see it, this is basically a transition back to the former bookmarks-speed_dial-system. All the saved links are now again stored in one structured list, the differentiation in importance between links is now solely reflected by having one folder for unstructured links. The only difference to the former bookmarks-speeddial-system i see is the fact that the speed dial is now controlled through the bookmark-manager, thus being more easily controllable.
Overall, i see the stash (as being an entirely separated list of links for later use) being gone with this change. And again, i found that feature to be outstandingly useful!
I would also find the possibility of structuring stashed links useful, since your stash can eventually grow very big. But still, i wouldn't have it merged with the common bookmarks, even though both features would offer the same ways of structuring.
As a second point of critique, is see the accessibilty of saving and revisiting links being decreased with version 25. Thus making the experience less comfortable.
For once, as mentioned before, the option of saving to speed dial can now only be achieved through another menu - the stash(ed) dropdown menu (personally, and as a side note, if found the soluting of having both stash- aswell as speed-dial-icon present at the same time within the address bar, and with no dropdown-menu, to be the most comfortable).
But more importantly, the integration of the stash page within the starting-page-layout has suffered. You can now no longer switch back and forth between tabs (speed dial <-> stash <-> discover). But rather, clicking on stash opens a sort of bookmarks manager, which is another page entirely. And you can only go back through using the browsers main navigation
functions, namely clicking the "back"/"previous page"-arrow.
So not only is this less comfortable, it also feels very unintegrated. And the starting page as a whole ensemble feels much less like a navigational hub.
Concerning the new visual appearance: I find it a bit less practical to have the buttons of the starting page on the left edge of the screen, since you mainly use the top edge of the screen for navigation (address bar, icons, main menu, tabs etc.). So you normally have the curser located at this area.
But overall and aside from that, i don't mind any new visual appearance at all and always get used to it.
I hope you could follow my points and could catch what importance, in my opinion, the original stash-category of stored weblinks had for opera's character and functionality, and in which way these qualities might have been damaged with the latest update version 25.