The One with the Thoughts of Frans

Archive for Browsers

Damn, It Is Cold

Weather in fall always comes paired with temperature drops, fall storms, and lots of rain. But seldom did the temperature drop from 20°C to a mere 7°C from one day to the next.

The release of Ubuntu 10.10 coincided with this change for wintry weather; however, while I’m sure it’s swell, you won’t see me upgrading just yet. Perhaps I’ll have to look a little harder into acquiring a netbook so I can use it with the Ubuntu Netbook Edition.

Of more interest is the announcement that Opera 11 will have extensions. Or, more particularly, that I was the first to guess this in a contest.


How to Disable Opera Speed Dial

As far as I’m concerned there are two reasons for disabling speed dials: it’s faster, and your history doesn’t misbehave.

The speed is less relevant since Opera 10, although more relevant again since Opera 10.50. The history argument is far more important to me. It really throws me off that the first page I visited in a window still allows me to go back. I don’t know why someone would want to go back to the speed dial; isn’t it faster to just open a new one?

To disable the speed dial, you have you change the SpeedDialState setting in opera:config.

0: Folded
1: Shown
2: Read only, and always show speed dial
3: Disable speed dial

Set it to 3 to disable speed dial completely. If you think this will impair your ability to open pages quickly and easily, you need to take note of go to nickname (Shift + F2).


What Is A Tab?

Recently I’ve noticed some ignorance regarding what constitutes a tab, largely fueled by the announcement of the badly-named Tab Candy. Panorama is a much better name.

To clarify what a tab is, I looked for a random picture of a tab and added a circle around the tab.

If those tabs aren’t there in some kind of metaphorical pixel-form, there are no tabs. Or to put it another way, a tab-based user interface consists of multiple internal windows with a sort of task bar.


Opera and Link Targets

If you’re like me and you aren’t particularly fond of sites opening in new tabs without your explicit command, you might be interested in activating Opera’s Ignore Target setting. This setting “Unfortunately … also disables the method, breaking the functionality of many sites,” so you might prefer to utilize JKing’s UserJS which stops most links from opening in new windows.

On the other hand, you might prefer all links to external sites to open in a new tab. I recently wrote a script that does just that for someone on the MyOpera forum.


The Way Alternative Text Should Be Rendered

Vlad Alexander describes how browsers mess up horribly on alternative text. I noticed the deficiencies in Opera and Firefox before, but what Webkit does is simply ridiculous. I don’t entirely agree with him since I don’t think that the alternative content should display without any indication that it’s alternative text whatsoever. I consider Opera’s behavior best in this regard (as opposed to the obtrusive icons most other browsers throw in there), except for the part where it applies width and height meant for images to the text thus cutting them off.


Opera 10.50

For those of you who read my blog, use Opera and don’t follow the latest releases, Opera 10.50 for Windows was released yesterday. Download it now!


30 Days to Becoming an Opera Lover

The 30 Days to Becoming an Opera 6 Lover series may very well have been what pulled me over the edge. That which made me choose Opera instead of MyIE2 (now Maxthon). It should therefore be no surprise that I still harbor warm feelings toward it. While it may be old, and the original series is no longer hosted by TnT Luoma as far as I can tell, I think that the series could still teach current (aspiring) users of Opera a thing or two — even the 30 Days series for Opera 6. Due to the large part the Opera 6 series played in my personal discovery of Opera, however, my judgment may be somewhat impaired.

I dug into the Internet Archive and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the 30 Days series for Opera 6 is available through the archive in a nice ZIP file. The original Opera 6 lover pages do not seem to have been preserved, but the ZIP file is easier to use regardless.

The 30 Days series for Opera 8 was also preserved.

While I would not recommend a detailed read (it is quite outdated after all), I would certainly recommend skimming through most of it.

By the time Opera 8 came out — and consequently, the 30 Days to Becoming an Opera 8 Lover series — I was already a seasoned Opera user, so the series didn’t do much for me. I did discover one very important Opera feature thanks to it, however. In the default keyboard setup, Shift + F2 is bound to go to nickname. If you don’t know what nicknames are, you can give bookmarks so-called nicknames; if you type them out in the address bar and press enter it will take you to the bookmark, and it will offer autocomplete suggestions while you’re typing. Useful, but not a huge time saver.

Go to nickname is better, because it starts going to the nickname as soon as it’s got a match. So if you have only one bookmark with a nickname that starts with a, you’ll only have to type a and you’ll be on your way. I had not realized this prior to reading the Opera 8 Lover series, and it wasn’t actually written in the series, but without it I might very well never have tried this feature again. After some consideration and major inspiration by Moose I rebound F2 to new page & go to nickname, which means that ever since, pressing F2 automatically opened a new page and this tremendously useful dialog. The introduction of speed dial didn’t do much for me thanks to this keyboard shortcut. It might take a few seconds more to configure, but it’s worth it. Additionally, new tabs will open even faster if you disable speed dial.

Comments (1)

Extend Opera was launched a few days ago. It’s a user initiative, aimed at bringing those aspects of Opera customization that Opera software has somewhat abandoned together.


Deceptive Safari 4 Marketing

Last month, Apple released the Safari 4 beta. A few Opera users, myself included, decided to take action after viewing Apple’s false marketing claims. The following is the result of a combined effort. It’s not entirely finished yet, but it’s good enough to cross-post it right now to draw some extra attention to it.

Everything that follows is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article “Deceptive Safari 4 Marketing.”

When the Safari 4 beta was released, on February 24, 2009[1], Apple Inc. published a feature list claiming a long list of innovations, inventions, and browser firsts[2]. While Safari 4 may contain numerous features that are new to current Safari users, many of these have been publicly available to users of other browsers for quite some time, invalidating many of Apple’s claims.


Falsely Claimed Innovations In Safari

Implemented Prior to Safari’s Initial Release

The first public beta of Safari was released on January 7, 2003[3]. This is a list of innovations claimed by Apple that were first added in other browsers prior to Safari’s release.

  • Built-in Google search: Apple claims that “Safari was the first popular browser to build a search field into its user interface” (emphasis added). The first public beta of Safari was released on January 7, 2003[3]. Opera 5, however, which was released on December 6, 2000[4][5], already featured a built-in search field[6][7]. The second version of Mozilla Firefox (Phoenix 0.2), which was released on October 1, 2002, contains a similar feature[8]. Consequently, Apple’s usage of “popular browser,” which has been suggested to validate this claim[9], is ambiguous at best[10].
  • CSS 3 Web fonts: Apple claims that “Safari is the first web browser to automatically recognize websites that use custom fonts, downloading them as they’re needed” (emphasis added). However, Internet Explorer 4, released in 1997[11], sports this feature as well[12].
  • Downloads window: Apple asserts that “Safari was the first popular browser with a download management window.” However, Opera 3.5, released on November 18, 1998, first introduced a transfer window to the Opera browser[13]. Similarly to the built-in Google search, if Opera is assumed not popular enough to falsify the claim, Firefox (Phoenix 0.1) had this feature nearly half a year prior to Safari on September 23, 2002[8].
  • Inline Progress Indicator: While Apple states that “Safari was the first browser to move the progress indicator into the address field,” Opera first added this feature in Opera 5.10, released in 2001[14].
  • Movable tabs: In Apple’s words, “Safari was the first browser to let you organize tabs by dragging and dropping. … Rearrange tabs by dragging their tab handle left or right. Drag a tab out of a window to create a new window. Or drag a tab from one window to another window to merge their tabs” (emphasis added). Opera 7 Beta 1, released on November 13, 2002[5], came with “Extended and vastly improved drag-and-drop support,” and this included the ability to “Move bookmarks, tabs, and MDI pages between SDI windows”[15]. Furthermore, the same feature was already available as an extension[16] in Firefox and was added as a feature to Firefox 1.5[17], released on November 29, 2005. Safari did not add movable tabs until Safari 3[18], which was released on June 11, 2007[3].
    • Releaseyears of tabbed browsers: NetCaptor in 1998[19], later by IBrowse in 1999, Opera in 2000, Mozilla in 2001, Konqueror and Safari in 2003, Internet Explorer 7 in 2006 and Google Chrome in 2008.
    • Releaseyears of movable tabs: NetCaptor 5.0 in 1998[19], IBrowse 2.3 at 29 Jan 2003[20], Opera 7 in 2003, Google Chrome 1 in 2008, Safari 4 in 2009.
  • Open multiple bookmarks in one click – According to Apple, “[Safari] was the first browser to offer Auto-Click bookmarks.” This feature offers the ability “to open multiple pages in individual tabs with a single click.” Opera 4, released in 2000[13], could open all of the bookmarks inside of a folder through the right-click menu. Opera 6 added the feature to open all bookmarks in a folder with a single middle click and added “Open all folder items” to the drop-down menu on the personal bar[21].
  • Third party cookie blocking: According to Apple, “Safari is the first browser that blocks … tracking cookies by default” (emphasis added). It is hard to verify or falsify this claim; nevertheless, it should be noted that this feature was already present in Opera 4[21].

Implemented Prior to Inclusion in Safari

  • RSS Aggregator: While Apple claims that Safari is the first browser that integrated an RSS reader into the browser, Opera integrated an RSS reader into its browser in 2003[22], well before Apple in 2005[3][23].

Not Implemented Exclusively in Safari

  • Acid 3 Compliance: Apple asserts, “Safari is the first — and only — web browser to pass Acid 3″ (emphasis added). It is arguable that WebKit was the first rendering engine to get 100/100 (it was close between Opera and WebKit). However, Safari is not the only WebKit browser. Lunascape is also capable of using the Webkit rendering engine, and thus also passes the Acid 3 test[24].



  1. ^ Apple Inc. (2009-02-24). Apple Announces Safari 4—The World’s Fastest & Most Innovative Browser. Press release. Retrieved on 2009-02-24. 
  2. ^ “150 Features: Leading the way with innovation”. Apple Inc.. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  3. ^ a b c d Safari
  4. ^ Opera Software ASA (2001-10-04). Opera 5 for Windows Reaches New All-Time High. Press release. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  5. ^ a b “Opera Changelogs for Windows”. Opera Software ASA. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  6. ^ Schenk, Mark. “Opera browser version history”. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  7. ^ “Changelog for Opera 5.x for Windows”. Opera Software Asa. 2000-12-??. Retrieved on 2009-03-06. 
  8. ^ a b Gsurface (2005-03-30). “The History of Mozilla Firefox: From Phoenix, to Firebird, to Firefox”. Flexbeta. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  9. ^ bennetttt (25. February 2009). “Call to action: Deceptive marketing of Safari 4”. My Opera Community. Retrieved on 2009-03-27. 
  10. ^ drlaunch (25. February 2009). “Call to action: Deceptive marketing of Safari 4”. My Opera Community. Retrieved on 2009-03-27. 
  11. ^ Reid, Stephen (1997-10-??). “Product Reviews Internet Explorer 4”. PC Pro. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  12. ^ “@font-face support in Internet Explorer”. http://www.webfonts.info Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  13. ^ a b “Opera version history” (in English). Opera Software ASA. 2009-03-13. Retrieved on 2009-03-13. 
  14. ^ Tabke, Brett (2001-04-10). “Opera 5.10 for windows Released!”. WebMasterWorld. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  15. ^ “New in Opera 7.0 Beta 1” (in English). Opera ASA. 2002-11-13. Retrieved on 2009-03-07. 
  16. ^ Ruderman, Jesse (2006-03-12). “Bug 179656 – (MoveTabs) Allow drag-and-drop reordering of tabs” (in English). Bugzilla@Mozilla. Retrieved on 2009-03-07. 
  17. ^ Ruderman, Jesse (2005-11-30). “What’s new in Firefox 1.5 (comprehensive)” (in English). Retrieved on 2009-03-07. 
  18. ^ Almaer, Dion (2006-09-03). “Safari 3: Improved Tab Handling” (in English). Retrieved on 2009-03-07. 
  19. ^ a b “New in NetCaptor 5.0”. NetCaptor. Retrieved on 2009-03-28. 
  20. ^ “IBrowse – News”. IBrowse. Retrieved on 2009-03-28. 
  21. ^ a b de Jonge, Frans (2009-03-07). “Opera 4 Had Transfer Window” (in English). Retrieved on 2009-03-07. 
  22. ^ Altman, Tim (2003-12-19). “Opera 7.50 Preview 1 for Windows available”. Opera Software Asa. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  23. ^ Pogue, David (2005-04-28). “Safari and RSS”. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-03-05. 
  24. ^ Toto, Serkan. “Lunascape Browser: Firefox, Internet Explorer And Chrome All-In-One”. Retrieved on 2009-03-27. 
  25. ^ Machell, Matt (2009-03-03). “Safari 4 – Quickfire ARIA Testing”. Eclectic Dreams. Retrieved on 2009-03-06. 

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SVG Favicons Are Not Supported Yet

I really want to do the following, but I’m still stuck with Microsoft’s icon format and PNG.

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="some-vector-image.svg" type="type="image/svg+xml">

I’m especially surprised that Google Chrome doesn’t support this. They do the whole web application thing; which utilizes the favicons of sites as application icons. SVG would be perfect to also offer a nice larger size icon. Another thing I didn’t know is that IE7 still doesn’t support PNGs as favicons.

Last, but not least, here is the favicon I created in the end: A favicon that depicts the face of a monkey..

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