Any fan of the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap certainly knows, the tongue-in-cheek bit about how the band’s amplifiers are better than anyone else’s is because when they need that last bit of oomph, theirs go to 11. You know, 1 number past 10.
Well, Opera is getting things together nicely and proving that it is up to the task of outperforming anyone else in the browser field. Always a leader, Opera is leading again, almost effortlessly.
The things brought to the table with the revision level 11 betas are extensions, the things that, for so long, differentiated Firefox from the crowd. Allowing people to snap together exactly the kind of browser they wanted, like so many Legos, extensions are something that has proven popular with everyone. Now Opera 11 has them, almost 200 thus far, and gaining more each day. Quite a ways from the number available for Firefox, but Rome was not built in a day, and thus far, there really isn’t a stinker in the bunch. The same cannot be said for Firefox extensions.
Opera is also doing much to embrace the look and feel of Windows 7 for those users, including all the possible things that can be a part of the task bar. Chrome is not nearly so adept at going from one version of Windows to another in terms of its looks.
Another thing that many don’t think about is the extra abilities of Opera versus the competition, such as the built in bit torrent client, so that the user is ready to download them with no additional software or setup needed. Opera also includes a very efficient mailer, which, though not competing with Outlook, is a far sight better than many other mailers, and very easily set up and used. No other mainstream browser has this feature, except for the cousin of Firefox, Sea Monkey, which while built like Firefox, does not share the latest innovations going into the prime Mozilla browser. The Opera mailer is an excellent choice for those not needing the hard core capabilities of Outlook or Evolution.
The current beta is revision 11, build 1140, and has been working almost continuously on my machine for two days. I have identified one problem, and it is only an annoyance, and only if you’re using 64 bit Windows. (A desktop.ini icon is drawn on the screen with each invocation of the browser. It has already been reported, and no doubt will be gone with the next beta).
Otherwise I have had no problems whatsoever, and I usually put a new version through a battery of testing that shows any difficulties I am likely to encounter.
Give it a try, and check out the extensions, but if you don’t find something in the extensions area, be aware that Opera also has Widgets, which are standalone apps that can be used with the browser as well. There is also the Unite application, which is now a separate download, but worth more than a casual look if you like to extend the use of your browser, and your machine.
Or you can go with a known quantity and get Opera 10, while waiting for 11 to go Gold.