Many of the developments in the 10 and 11 versions of Opera are important, but personally my key word for these upgrade would be “disappointment”. There is one feature/bug fix which would make a huge difference in my browser use, not when things works smoothly, but be a life saver when they don’t, fixing bug 155102. For such an important bug it has taken its time fixing. It was still there in Opera 9, when finally there was an interest in fixing it, it was still there in Opera 10, and it is still there in Opera 11.
(Speaking of long-standing bugs, if mostly an annoying one: Opera 11 made a big issue of showing simplified URLs with only the most significant bits and security information in the address bar. That is fine, but the fact is that what is actually in the address bar need not be the page you are at, but some old crud that happen to be in the address bar, like an earlier page, or maybe a typed search, or something else. It is a boring and possibly extensive bug to fix, but in principle it is a security issue. If anything it seems to be worse in Opera 11.)
But I didn’t write to gripe, but applaud that Opera finally has tab groups, or tab stacks. As soon as you have more than a dozen tabs active organising them is going to be an issue, and at around the double the number you lose overview completely. It is nice that you can move the tabs around, but a larger group of tabs is unwieldy. Enter the tab stack.
Neat as this may be, it risks a common syndrome of Opera development. New features are developed all the time, hopefully to completion but sometimes only to beta level, and then it is forgotten until subsumed by later features. A decade ago the duel between windows-based browsing and tab-based browsing was resolved into a combined style of browsing, which can be seen in the context menu of a link (where you can open it in a new window or tab). A couple years later Opera got sessions, a feature that left unchanged since it was partially implemented, making it much less attractive than it should have been. However sessions matter for a more important reason because this is what lets Opera restart with all your tabs intact, except of course what you have typed into them, viz bug 155102. Yet later we got some minor tab features like for instance private and pinned tabs.
What if Opera would combine the three separate features of mixed tabs and windows, sessions, and tab stacks into one unified feature? What is an Opera window but a tab stack with a duplicate chrome? What is a window could be turned into a tab stack and vice versa. Likewise a named tab stack and a session could be synonymous. You give a tab stack (or a window), and when it has a name it has an identity that can live on through sessions. The tab stack UI solves the maintenance problem of sessions, there are always some tabs that you don’t want in that session any longer and there will be new ones to add. That is exactly what you naturally do with tab stacks. If you don’t want a particular tab to pop up next time you activate a session, you just move it out of the tab stack (or into, as the case may be). When tab stacks are unified with sessions, the time would come to simplify the window UI, hopefully in a way that would make the desktop UI more in synch with the device UIs.
Next: Having united these three features, there is a fourth that is living a separate existence from the others, maybe it will be time for a Grand Unified Featureset of tabs and windows.
Neat as this may be, it risks a common syndrome of Opera development. New features are developed all the time, hopefully to completion but sometimes only to beta level, and then it is forgotten until subsumed by later features.Wow. I couldn’t have phrased that any better. :eyes:
A rather critical post, if I may say. Nonetheless, I do agree with the critical points – I believe you’re correct.The suggested unification of features is quite appealing, but it may need a few iterations. If it’s implemented according to the “common syndrome”, it wouldn’t end up as the great imagined feature.Still, my general sentiment of the Opera upgrades is not disappointment. There are important improvements that I like, that continue to keep me as a user of Opera.
It is more a reflection of what the Opera browser has done for me and my browsing lately. Most of the upgrades make good sense mind you but they don’t affect me that much as a user. By contrast every time Opera or the system crashes or I accidentally close tabs I shouldn’t have I am reminded of 155102. I may be more affected by it than most because I (1) use many tabs and (2) usually have at least one unfinished text in the background, I like to let texts simmer before posting. This also affects me on Mini. I type less there, but it takes longer to type each text so the time lost is similar. Opera, or any other browser, would have to be very much faster to make up for the time lost by even one such tab. Having a common model for related features is a good in itself. Without it good functionality gets orphaned, Opera sessions one case in point.
the fact is that what is actually in the address bar need not be the page you are at, but some old crud that happen to be in the address bar, like an earlier page, or maybe a typed search, or something else. I have seen couple times that URL is not changing after I click links and new page is loaded. Opera still shows URL of previous page. Then if I go back and then forward, URL shows fine afterwards.
Q: What if Opera would combine the three separate features of mixed tabs and windows, sessions, and tab stacks into one unified feature? A: That would be great, and I’ve had this idea myself (and so much wished to write about it). Anyone who has used Opera stacks long enough knows that you need to be able to stack tabs and then close them for recovery later. Sometimes you want to throw a stack into a new window. The named stacks would work as a session, and if like me, you use the window panel instead of tab bar at top – the named stack should form a tree node where the root would be the window and the leaves would be tabs that are part of the stack.
Or a reload if more convenient. In Opera 11 believe I came across a case where that didn’t help, speculatively because of the simplified URLs, but I was busy at that time. If I or anyone else see that, and can make a reproducible example, that certainly would warrant a bug report.
the fact is that what is actually in the address bar need not be the page you are at, but some old crud that happen to be in the address bar, like an earlier page, or maybe a typed search, or something else.Are you sure this isn’t happening simply because you were focusing or editing something in the address bar?If you focus the address bar during navigation, the URL won’t change because Opera thinks you’re editing it. Even if you go to another tab and back, even if you interact with the page it won’t update to show the actual URL.(Note though that if you click a link or button that causes navigation without the address bar being focused, it should be updated). In this case, focusing the address bar again and pressing Esc will show the actual address.To me this is a feature and not a bug. However, it’s also an unfortunate side effect of using the same widget for typed navigation/search and for the all-important “tell me where I really am on the Web” status. We’ve already started distinguishing those states with the protocol icon and the other changes. Should we take it one step further and say that if you focus the page, the address bar must show the page you’re at, but if you (re-)focus the address bar it should show the edited URL or search query you were last typing or editing? It might get very confusing, but for one specific narrow use case (‘user changed URL field contents without actually navigating, user focused page, user focused URL field again’) it might feel natural..
(and +1 to the proposed unification of features ;))
Well, in the olden days it was definitely one or more bugs, sometimes Opera simply didn’t update the address bar. These days I am not for sure, haven’t come across any reproducible instances (when in mood for reproduction).In my view it is a bug if the user or Opera (in case of a redirect) has changed URL and it is not displayed in the address bar. It is not a bug if the user has typed something in the address bar so that the original URL is no longer visible, the presumption is that the user has already seen the URL before typing.If Opera moves to a new page after the user starts typing, e.g. due to an HTML refresh, I would find it desirable that the typed expression would show in the address bar when/if the user presses the back button. User data should after all not be lost. Optimally, if the user completely delete what he had typed the original URL should shine through. That is not the case today, but I haven’t cared enough to file a bug for that.
Off-topic really, but Opera isn’t the only one who has let data-loss bugs linger. This Android bug is quite impressive for being unfixed for well over a year.