The Opera web browser has always focused on speed as a selling point, but sometimes I think they’ve got Flash fans in their marketing department. I mean, not only are they promoting today’s release of Opera 10.50 as “The Fastest Browser On Earth,” but the announcement at Choose Opera starts off with “Catching lightning in a bottle.”
Then there was the red and yellow blur they used to promote a beta a couple of years ago…
You’ve probably noticed the new header on this site. And depending on what web browser you use, you might have noticed some other changes.
With the release of Firefox 3.5, I decided to look into using embedded fonts. In the past, web designers have mostly been limited to the fonts pre-installed on most people’s computers, or creating an image. That’s fine for something where the text never changes, like a banner…but not so great for body text or headlines. There have been methods to work around it, but I always thought that using Flash animations for headlines was kind of overkill.
So I tried out some fonts, and along the way made some other adjustments to the site. Comment boxes should no longer push into the sidebar on multi-level replies, for instance. I added drop-shadows to headings on browsers that support it, and adjusted the main font size a bit for readability.
Embedded fonts are currently supported in Safari, Firefox 3.5 and Opera 10 beta. There is a way to embed fonts on Internet Explorer, but it uses another type of font file and the converter tools are a pain to use. It took me at least an hour and a half to figure out what I had to do. Then the result looked terrible, so I pulled it out.
I’m beginning to wonder if there are some closet Flash fans in Opera Software’s PR department. Today’s release of Opera 9.60 features the slogan, Making You Faster. And while speed has always been a highlight of the web browser, it was just six months ago that they used a red-and-yellow blur to promote the then-current beta release.
I’ve been a fan of Opera since I was in college, when a friend introduced me to this browser that wasn’t Netscape and wasn’t Internet Explorer, but was really fast and fit (at the time) on a floppy. (Remember those?) Since then I’ve gone back and forth between Mozilla/Firefox and Opera a lot, and these days I use both regularly. Opera’s still very fast, and still unusually small — somehow they manage to fit a web browser, an email client, a news & feed reader, and even a chat program in the same space that Firefox fits just a browser.
Their strong suit has long been innovation: a lot of features that have become standard in web browsers got their start in Opera. One of the nice capabilities that’s been added recently is Opera Link, which will synchronize bookmarks, search history, notes and other data not just between different computers running Opera, but also with mobile phones running Opera Mini and Opera Mobile.
On a related note, Opera has released the following short video, “Sketch of my life,” all about choices. (I haven’t watched it with sound yet, since I don’t have speakers on my computer at work.)