Tagged: Top 5 things I want in Opera

While I’ve been vacating in Port de Pollença with my girlfriend and the kids, relaxing, getting a sunburn, eating lots of ice cream, and generally enjoying not being around for the rather dreadful weather that Oslo has seen this summer, Daniel started tagging people with “top 5 things they wanted to see in Opera”:http://operawatch.com/news/2007/07/blog-tag-5-things-id-like-to-see-in-opera.html, and “Tommy tagged me”:http://my.opera.com/toman/blog/top-5-things-i-want-in-op.
I normally “don’t respond well to memes”:http://virtuelvis.com/archives/2005/02/anal-mac#cid1769, but I’ll give this a go. Note that this list does not neccesarily represent a top 5 as such, but rather a random picking of stuff I’d like to see in Opera.
h3. Better UI integration
It’s said that Mac users are the ones longing for UI consitency, and I do agree with them, but not just in OS X. I’d like to see Opera look like a native application on any platform Opera runs on. On Windows it should act and behave like a Windows application. Myself, I am a diehard Gnome user, and I would love for Opera to act and feel like a native application. For those wondering, this goes beyond skinning. With the “Dapper skin”:http://my.opera.com/community/customize/skins/info/?id=4236 and some tweaking of QT, I can get halfway there, but there are bits and pieces that are still wrong, such as placement of dialog buttons, button sizes, dialog behavior (For instance, in Gnome’s preferences, you have instant apply, something I’ve grown to love).
h3. Get rid of UI funkiness
Some parts of Opera’s UI behavior is rather funky from a switcher’s perspective. For instance, when you double-click text in Opera’s default setup, Opera instantly displays the context menu. This is a feature I dislike deeply, as Opera is the only application on the planet that exhibits this particular behavior, and it breaks user expectations, confusing the user. While the feature is a fine accessibility or usability enhancement, it is just that, an _enhancement_ — it should not be the default behavior.
Other examples of UI funkiness includes Opera’s default cursor when hovering text, as noted by “Sverre”:http://my.opera.com/sverre/blog/show.dml/1183028 — this is what Firefox does, and it seems more intuitive to me.
While I’m a heavy user of one-key keyboard shortcuts, I’d like to see them go: They cause accidental interaction with the browser, break user expectations, and makes it difficult to author web applications that make real use of the keyboard.
h3. Make M2 a first-class application
I love M2. Those of my co-workers who have been exposed to me may not think so (Playing with internal versions barely out of the crib system is fun, if frustrating). I would however like to see M2 as a separate application, it would allow for more freedom in UI design, and it would also allow me a freedom I can’t easily get now: To separate my mail workflow from my web workflow. Often, when I am working on something, I don’t want to have to keep the mail client open, since mail notifications often distract me from what I am actually doing, even if the behavior is as innocous as just changing the icon in the notification area (That’s “The Systray” for you windowsistas).
h3. Improved standards support
As noted by our web opener, “David Storey”:http://my.opera.com/dstorey/blog/my-opera-wishlist – I’d like to see improved support for forward-looking web standards. His list is fairly complete, so I won’t elaborate here, but just note that he’s covered much of what I want.
h3. Developer tools
Well, duh. The world loves “Firebug”:http://www.getfirebug.com/. Heck, *I* love Firebug. I still want a tool that blows Firebug to “smithereens”:http://www.google.com/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=define:smithereens&sourceid=opera&num=100&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8. And, we’re listening, so feel free to tell us what you want in terms of developer tools by leaving a comment here.
Note that this is not all I want, my wishlist is much longer, and people have expressed some of these wishes already have already been covered by other people. Remco made a “tag tree”:http://download.remcol.ath.cx/tagging.html that I suggest you have a look at if you want to see what other people wrote.
And no, I won’t tag anyone. Partially since I don’t like memes, and partially since it’s already a week old. If you do write your own list, feel free to drop a link in the comments here, though.

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  1. algkalv

     /  2007-07-29

    Dreadful? This is the best summer I’ve experienced in the last decade, if not more. I’m going to treasure the memory.

  2. About the user interface bullet points above; I couldn’t agree more. And why Opera decided to build the mail application so tightly into the browser as they’ve done, is beyond me. And why a BitTorrent downloader?
    Of course, not everyones wants to interface the web as I do, but most of the points you have above are very valid, and I hope when Opera shapes up to be more native-feeling even I might try to use it again, after stopping to use it regularly somewhere between v6 and v7.
    Opera Mini, otoh, rocks for those without a decent web client built-in, like the iPhone. Look out, Opera :-D.

  3. Ironically, I think one of the main positive features of M2 are the single-key shortcuts. Nonetheless, these are a detraction when in the browser.

  4. Just give me a clone of the Web Developer extension for Firefox and I’ll be happy. One with EditCSS, EditHTML and everything. And don’t talk to me about user.css, coz that’s just miles away from being as good and easy and efficient to use as EditCSS and/or the Stylish extension if you want to apply your own CSS to a site permanently.

  5. And if you remove M2 you might as well use any other email client, such as Thunderbird. I agree on your reasons – the same for me – I don’t want emails every time I surf.

  6. Chris: Well, not really, as I think M2 is so superior in many respects to Thunderbird with respect to mail organization, tagging and searching, that switching to it is extremely difficult for me. The only client that comes remotely close is GMail, but again, that’s web based and has a bunch of other limitations.