Opera: Request for Feature

Published 2 Comments on Opera: Request for Feature

I think Opera has a chance to do something really awesome.  Assuming that the technology was possible.

They should release a browser with Opera, IE6, IE7, FF and Webkit rendering engines built in.  They should enable a <META> tag to indicate on the page WHICH rendering engine to use.  Default would be Opera, of course.  Additionally, add profiling (like firebug) to allow you to compare different engines on the same page.

Benefit #1: I could use this as my development testing.  It’s much easier than trying to open 5 different browsers in Virtual PC.

Benefit #2: Publishers could start to put that META tag on pages and say, “this is the preferred browser.  Render the page in it please”.   This would VASTLY reduce the QA testing done on sites.  It would also allow some browsers to innovate and add new and unusal features.  Standards wouldn’t matter as much.  You could focus on the browser that works best for the kind of site or application you want to deliver.

Benefit #3: Opera would make a splash and a bold statement.  They need to get their profile up.  Webkit is making alot of noise and FF/IE are the leaders.  Opera needs to stay relevant.

The Opera folks had been kind enough to pay attention to the indexOf issue.  I hope they think about this possibility.


  1. Very interesting idea. Though I have an issue with #2 – although web developers don’t like this the choice of rendering engine must rest with the user. For example if I don’t see well I want to use the browser that works better with my screen reader, no matter what you as a web developer think I should use. If I’m visiting you from my iPhone or iMode mobile I may want to use the browser that is better at adapting your content and layout to my screen size, no matter if it “breaks” your carefully designed layout.

    Even more important: implementing this via a META tag would immediately make us vulnerable to ANY security issue in all other browser. A bad guy could just send us an IE exploit with a META saying “please show this with the IE engine”. That’s obviously a no-go.

    I’m not in Marketing so I won’t comment on #3. I’ve used Opera as my main browser for its technical merits for just about 10 years now so I’m totally useless at advicing on how to make “normal” people use Opera 🙂

    The testing and QA benefits would be enormous, particularly if
    a) the embeddable version of the browser engine did in fact work like the standalone one and
    b) profiling could be built-in
    c) debugging could be built-in

    Whether it is technically possible I think is up to the browser that one would try to “host”. IE has the bells and whistles that makes it easy to embed into other applications (and there already are plugins like Neptune and XStandard that in fact do this). I have no idea if it is possible with Firefox and WebKit.

  2. I have no idea why you got caught in the spam net. I switched to HashCash for spam filtering, but left Akismet on. The number of spam messages that are caught in Akismet have dropped to exactly zero, EXCEPT YOU. 🙂 I have no idea why.

    Maybe I should turn off Akismet since HashCash works so well?

    All of your points are well taken. I just get frustrated having to test the exact same thing in so many different clients. The same problem exists for email templates. Every email client rendered differently. Very frustrating. And there is NO standard for html email template rendering.

Whatya think?