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Opera, The Browser That Is Smokin' Fast (But Has Issues)


Yesterday I dusted the cobwebs off my copy of Opera, an alternate web browser which I don't use very often. I mainly go between Internet Explorer and Firefox. So I opened Opera, checked for and loaded the updates, and I was ready to roll. After surfing for a little while I began to notice something. All of the pages were loading quite quickly. It was as if I had already been to each one, and had a cached version stored. But that couldn't be. Opera hadn't had a chance to cache any pages, since I haven't used it in a while. And pages I’d never visited before were coming up fast too!

I was thrilled. I thought, "Yes! The ultimate browser! Finally I can surf almost as fast as I can think!"

I played around with Opera, seeing how quickly pages I knew took a few moments to load on other browsers would come up. It seems to me that Opera is faster in a relative sense. If a page is fast in IE, it will be really fast in Opera. If a page is very slow in IE, it will be slow for Opera, too, but still much faster overall. "Opera Slow" is indeed pretty quick.

This all piqued my interest, so I did a short search for why Opera is so fast. I didn't search very long, but one of the results i found mentioned how Opera loads things in a different order than most browsers. Sounds fine. Great even!

Or so I thought, until later when I found out that Opera apparently has had a history of flaws, especially when dealing with CSS. I found and read an article by Andy Budd called "Why I Don't Care About Opera." He basically explains how Opera started out as a possible end to the reign of Internet Explorer, but then got left behind by all its competitors collectively, and ended up a browser that usually "breaks" when confronted with CSS.

What does this mean? Well, I guess it means that there's a browser out there that can run circles around the others speed-wise, but won’t necessarily display things the way webmasters had intended. So the question is, am I willing to wait just a little longer for a website to load correctly?

I think I am. Sorry, Opera.

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