Thoughts on branding, design, writing and life by Kevin Potts. Established 2003.

Opera 8 Is the Best Browser Ever

Grab the latest incarnation of Opera, make the CEO swim the Atlantic and cheer as they beat Safari in the Acid2 test.

With the untold number of blogs and forums that talk about web development, arguments about browsers are inevitable. People—even the ones that stand by IE, god bless them—take their Intarweb browsing very seriously. It reminds me of the scene in Billy Madison where Adam Sandler is arguing with a fourth-grader about video games.

Kid: “Mortal Kombat for Sega Genesis is the best game ever.”

Sandler: “I disagree. While Mortal Kombat is a good game, Donkey Kong is the best game ever.”

Kid: “Donkey Kong sucks!”

Sandler: “You know what, YOU SUCK!”

Arguing about browsers is like arguing about religion; most have made their choice and are not going to “switch,” no matter how beligerent the Firefox crowd gets. The Mozilla group does, admittedly, have a large (and growing) marketshare compared to Opera. But you know what?

Opera 8 is the best browser ever.

A commentor on Slashdot kind of nailed down the difference between the two. Opera provides the user with everything, which they can then add, subtract, customize and scale any way imaginable. Firefox provides the user with a bare bones browser, which must then be upgraded through extensions to achieve the same functionality that comes stock with Opera.

Its ridiculously fast. Its secure. Its standards support is as good or better than Mozilla or Safari. Its updated constantly. It is so customizable that I have never seen any two installations look the same, including my two computers. And my money is on Opera as being the first to pass Acid2, despite people nodding toward Safari as being the first across the line.

I’m not going to give a formal review, because I lack the proper superlatives. Just download and make the CEO swim across the Atlantic.

commentary + criticism

Jonathan Fenocchi

wrote the following on Friday April 22, 2005

I disagree. While Opera is a good browser, Firefox is the best browser ever.

Have you ever noticed the extra 8 pixel margin that Opera gives you? It’s irritating when you have a header in a design that is supposed to start at the very top of the page, but Opera doesn’t understand “margin: 0” on the body. It only understands “margin: -8px.” How is that a good thing? I also have had trouble with Opera when browsing forum sites, because it caches way too much. It’s fast because once you view a page, the page can never change or be updated. It’s almost like permanently downloading every page you visit. I found that very irritating. Additionally, I can’t program any functionality into it like I can with Firefox. That’s how I see it, at least.


wrote the following on Friday April 29, 2005

OK, I meant to respond to this earlier, but here goes. To remove the 8px margin at the top in Opera, set the body tag to have zero padding:

body { padding: 0 }

For whatever reason Opera needs this but other browsers do nothing with it.

When I personally start a new CSS file, this is always my first line:

* { padding: 0; margin: 0 }

Hope that helps.


wrote the following on Wednesday May 4, 2005

To Jonathan: If you read the original CSS 2 recommended stylesheet — you’ll find that it was suggested that browsers use:

BODY { padding: 8px; line-height: 1.33 }

Opera was the only browser manufacturer who followed these recommendations, Gecko and IE decided to use the less logical margin on body. Now CSS 2 has recently been updated to 2.1 – the recommendation has been switched to margin. The fix is trivially simple to set margin and padding as the previous comment shows you.

Opera caches more aggressively only in the situation when a server fails to provide any cache directives – thus the browser can choose how to handle data retrieval. If server owners configured their servers properly such distinctions between browsers would evaporate. Your statement about “cannot change the page” is absolutely untrue. Opera caches the DOM in memory for lightning history traversal (which brilliantly keeps form data preserved for robustness), but reloading a document always rebuilds the DOM again using a conditional GET as expected in HTTP/1.1.

Dawn Pedersen

wrote the following on Thursday May 5, 2005

But how could you find something as fabulous as Pimpzilla for Opera?


wrote the following on Thursday May 5, 2005

Thanks, Ian for more technical explanation. And Dawn, while that is indeed a lovely theme, I have unforunately grown out of my pimp phase. :)`


wrote the following on Tuesday May 10, 2005

Safari beat Opera. Nice site, though.


wrote the following on Friday September 15, 2006

hmm and how accredited is this site? This is the first site I have seen that Opera is better than firefox. Please I am not going to pay for a browser that should be free. Beside give me 5 minutes and I can all the bells a whistle that Opera has. Opera’s interface is always cluttered, but I must say Opera is way better than IE.


wrote the following on Friday September 15, 2006

Actually, Opera has been free for some time.


wrote the following on Tuesday January 13, 2009

iv been using opera for some time now and its been nothing but bliss. i have never used a web browser that is this lightning fast, i mean just opening IE by accident makes want to kick my screen off the table!! my favorite thing is the ability to search straight from the address bar! (and the customizable search… OMG where has this browser been all my life???) i add youtube as a custom search then all i do is type in yt and what ever i wanna find, it takes me there with the results… and the skins, dnt even get me started. i LOVE the detailed download or ‘transfers’ manager, it gives you so much detail, not that sad excuse for a download window that IE has got going… and it gives you the option to restart download… thats heaven for me delteding so many things by accident and some of my files getting corrupted somehow… i just hit retransfer and i have a brand new copy! opera definately gets my 4.9/5 star aproval. that 0.1 star is lost because it displays some of my pages wrong… although VERY few.