Wishlist: Wishes for Opera..

Recently I blogged about my top 5 wishes for Opera as a part of a tag game that has been going around the net quiet heavily lately. Now I’d like to make a list of wishes that I have for Opera in a more general form. These wish items have no specific priority and are strictly based on my opinions and thoughts. Some wishes will be repeated from my previous top 5 wish list.

So, to ease your anxiety from waiting..here is my list:

  • [done] -> [link] Auto-Update system to make updating Opera to the latest and most secure version painless for new users as well as us fanatics. Similar to the auto-update feature that Mozilla currently has.
  • [done] -> [link] Developer Tools. It is true that Opera currently has a decent set of developer tools, however, these current tools (in version 3122) do not come close to competing with other available developer tools for competing browsers such as Firebug for Firefox. Many web developers (even Opera enthusiasts) turn to Firefox to developer their sites instead of Opera and this is where Opera is letting us down. With such high standards support one would assume that a cutting edge developer tool kit would be available for the browser, but it just isn’t there yet.These have now been released. You can find more information about the Opera Developer Tools, named Dragonfly, at http://dragonfly.opera.com! Dragonfly is now available in snapshot builds of Opera 9.5 and will be available in the final release as well!
  • [done] -> [link] In-line Spell Check is a common wish among Opera users. The current spell check method (using Aspell) is in my opinion out dated and not the best method. Many Opera users turn to user javascript to try to meet their needs. There is one such script that I have found to be very useful for spell check called In-line OSpell Checker, but a built-in In-line spell checker would be preferable to me.
  • [done] -> [link] UI upgrade. I think I speak for many when I say that I’d love to see the user interface revamped. ‘As is’ it is a great theme and interface, however, some of the layout designs seem to need a little work and the theme could use a little tweaking to appeal to more people. I know there are plenty of other skins that can be applied, but I personally like to keep default skins as they are most often optimized the most for a wide range of users.
  • [partially done] -> [link] Extended widget and user javascript capabilities. Originally I had mentioned extended capabilities for widgets in my top five list, but after reading another top 5 list I realized that user javascript could be very beneficial as well if they were to allow more interaction with the browser itself as well.Widgets now have File I/O privileges (still no userjs progress :( ):
    http://dev.opera.com/articles/view/file-i-o-api-for-widgets/
  • [done] Icon upgrade. Many people have mentioned the Opera logo icon. I too wish that a more appealing icon could be used in place of the outdated O. In the mean time, if you didn’t know already, you can change the standard icon that Opera uses in the config settings. Just click or type opera:config into your address bar and search for ‘Application Icon’. This setting may not be available across all platforms, but it is available on the Windows platform.
  • XUL. I would love to see support for XUL, which is a User Interface Language. I’ve seen some very cool web applications designed using XUL. However, to the best of my knowledge the Gecko engine is the only engine supporting XUL at the moment.
  • User Javascript manager user interface. There are plenty of add-ons that you can get for Opera (tool bars, menus, skins, buttons, panels, etc.) and for the most part these all have ways of managing them from with in Opera. User Javascripts do not have any means of management in Opera. All modifications are to be done out side of the browser and manually downloaded and stored.
  • Separate email accounts. I’d like to see an option in the future for separate email accounts. In the past I have had Opera checking two of my email accounts, but the messages that I received seemed to be mixed and mingled into one single account.
  • [done] -> [link] HTML email composing support. I’d like to see support for composing HTML style email messages from with in Opera. It is already possible to receive these messages since they can easily be rendered with the browser engine, but composing these messages is not yet possible in Opera as it is in most other major email clients.
  • Thumbnails in the windows panel. I made a suggestion several months ago to include thumbnails in the windows panel (side bar panel) in Opera, but I was told that they are not capable of adding these thumbnails to the windows panel at the moment. Apparently this is on their list of things to do for the future. So I suggested adding thumbnails to the tool tips that are displayed when hovering the items in the windows panel. You can thank me for the suggestion, hehe, but you should really thank Mitchman for the work. He spent long hours getting that to work flawlessly and he did a great job.
  • IRC upgrade. I’d love to see the IRC chat client upgraded and updated with many new features. It seems to be bare bones. I use it often when chatting with other Opera enthusiasts, but am disappointed with the simplicity of it. Sure simplicity is important, but when it is so simple that it lacks many important features there is a problem.
  • Domain name highlighting. Firefox 3.0 Alpha 7 Pre recently added an anti-fraud feature which dims all text in the address bar except for the domain name. Look here for more details. I’d love to see this implemented in Opera for added support!
  • [done] -> [link] Bit Torrent enhancements would be great. I’d really like to see more options to control my torrent downloads in Opera. BitTorrent support in Opera has seen several improvements so far, from expected stability improvement to adding support for the BitTorrent peer exchange protocol, which is compatible with libtorrent and µTorrent.
  • Feed reader enhancements. Like the M2 mail client, the feed reader to me is just so out dated looking and boring. In my opinion it really needs to be revamped along with the mail client since they are basically tied together.
  • Line numbers for the source code viewer! This is long over due. Honestly, how hard can it be to add line numbers to an input field? Well, I can cut them some slack since they have been so busy working to reach various goals with Opera 9.x, but soon after the initial release of the source viewer it was abandoned and has been since! There could be many improvements to the source viewer. A wrap/nowrap button, line highlighting, search/find box (the pop-up box gets in the way), wysiwyg as you type option…so many more, please work on this! This is an important part of the developer tool kit to me! I use the source viewer daily and lots of times throughout the day!
  • Calendar. I think a calendar in Opera would be very useful. It would of course have to have the ability to sync with other calendars such as Google Calendar just so you could check it from anywhere, but I could really use one just to keep up with classes, medications, dates, tests, quizzes, work, dental appointments, surgeries, birthdays, etc. It could also easily be integrated with mail and feeds to show the number of messages/feeds received on a particular day or list your friends/contact’s birth days so you don’t miss their special day!
  • Jabber. Opera already has support for IRC which is a great method of chatting online, however, jabber offers so much more and could just as easily be integrated into Opera just as IRC already is!
  • Message alerts for IRC. IRC is great, but it lacks simple things such as notifications when you receive a new message. Currently the only notification that you receive is a highlighted tab (it appears the same as a page that has finished loading in the background so all that is different is the text color on the tab).
  • Hide Individual Windows. I find myself using ~20-30 tabs per Opera window and I usually organize my tabs among different windows depending on the type of environment I’m in. That can range from mail and social networks – web standards and web design – school related research and homework – news and blogs – videos and entertainment – random unfitting tabs or just a window from a friend to use so my other tabs aren’t lost or closed by accident (I know about the lock tab feature :P). With the ability to hide individual windows instead of just always hiding Opera all together with Ctrl+H I could manage my tabs and windows much more easily and have plenty of room on my task bar which easily gets cluttered with explorer folders, ftp clients, instant message chat windows, windows media player (even when docked to task bar), text editors, etc. So you can see how this feature would greatly improve workspace and productivity.
  • FTP Client. Opera has the ability to log-in to ftp servers and browser their directories, but there is literally no functionality to manage an ftp server via Opera. I must always use another third party application to upload content to my server and edit it. Built-in FTP support would greatly increase Opera’s popularity among web developers since they would have a great standards based browser with ftp already built-in and hopefully soon a stunning web developer tool kit.
  • [done] Search field for the Blocked Content box. This would make managing the Blocked Content so much easier. When the list grows it becomes hard to search through and pin point entries that you may want to edit or entries that are causing problems on a specific page. This wish may be implemented sooner than the others. I spoke with a developer in the Opera IRC chat a while back and he told me that they already had this feature internally, but there is no telling how long it will take for this to reach the public. ;) A quick find is now available in the Blocked Content box for Opera 9.5.
  • [done] Ability to disable Blocked Content on specific pages or just individual entries for all or specific pages. This could help eliminate problems when content gets blocked on pages that you really don’t want the content to be blocked on. Blocked Content can now be managed on a per site basis. Right click on the page -> Edit Site Preferences… -> Content -> Enable content blocking.
  • Firefox style download manager. I really like how the Firefox download manager pops up externally and is very small. Opera’s download manager is very handy sometimes, but I think that an added option to have it pop out like Firefox does would we very wise since it would make the transition for Firefox users to Opera that much easier while giving existing users more flexibility at the same time!
  • [done] Media Player. I know that doesn’t sound very feasible for a web browser, but I would love to have a small tool bar somewhere that allows me to either control existing media players on my PC or that just uses codecs that are already on the PC to stream media for me and have a playlist in a tab. ;) I think that could be a very good selling point for some web surfers. Most people I know chill and listen to music while browsing the web so why not merge them or at least create a link so we don’t have to pop up the media player all the time and cut out time from browsing to play the next track or skip through.

    Edit:
    You can actually control Foobar2000 through a panel which some what ties it in with Opera.
    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=62218
    Also, Opera Unite fixed this as well.

  • Import and Export Mail and Feeds. There is already an option to import/export feed lists, but that is not the same to me. Feeds are stored on your local hard drive and can be retrieved while offline if needed, same goes for mail. However, exporting your feed list does not export your actual feed items which is exactly what I would want. The option to import/export mail is LONG OVER DUE. This should have been implemented years ago. I hear that they are looking into this though, so maybe we will see something better with Kestrel since they are improving the mail client.
  • Extensions. Yes, although I’m about 90% against extensions I still believe they can be very beneficial. They can provide us with features that the Opera developers don’t want to spend time on or just don’t have time for. They can give us Google tool bars (which I loath, but apparently most people like them). We could have page rank extensions, chat clients (so we could finally have built-in instant message support in Opera), media player extensions, developer tools, etc. The list could go on and on for the endless possibilities of extensions. The down fall to extensions is that they are not always written securely or optimized which boils down to problems. Honestly I can’t see extensions becoming a part of Opera (at least not for a while) since they just released widgets with Opera 9.x to supplement extensions. On top of that, I can’t see Opera compromising their security record, small memory foot print and speed with extensions. Only time will tell, but if everyone keeps begging they will eventually give in..just like they have apparently done with composing HTML email messages (they told us that Opera would never have support for composing HTML email messages, now just recently they have mentioned some experimental internal builds with this support, lol).

This wishlist may or may not be appended to over time. I will do my best to update the list to let you know when any of the wishes I’ve listed have been implemented in Opera. Stay tuned!

And to Opera…Give the people what they want, haha, or continue to do so. ;) Keep up the fantastic work!

Last updated 2008-12-04

ECMAScript and CSS: Quick Lesson

Hey all, I know most of you are not guru’s in ECMAScript (a.k.a. Javascript)..but then again I’m not either. I just wanted to share a little tip with you. I find that many times when people try to add javascript functions to their pages or web applications, they add the functions in an incorrect manor.

Here is the most common mistake made. Say you want to make an image button or a hyperlink on your page that is linked to a javascript function. You might attempt this..

<a href=”#” onclick=”Javascript:someFunction();”> Click Here to do some action </a>

One more correct way to do this would be the following..

<a onclick=”Javascript:someFunction();” style=”cursor: pointer;”> Click Here to do some action </a>

Or..if you are using an image as a button or link to a javascript function then instead of wrapping an anchor tag around it, you could do the following..

<img src=”./image.png” alt=”buton” onclick=”Javascript:someFunction();” style=”cursor: pointer;”>

So you can see that the main difference is the use of some simple css ( cursor: pointer; ) which gives you the effect of appearing to “link” to something. The whole linking design is a good way to just make your functions easier for users to find (verses the regular arrow cursor). However, the problem with the incorrect method that I mentioned is that search engines tend to find your site and scan links. When they scan links with addresses such as “#” they usually rank your pages lower. Using css can help you avoid causing poor search results for your site. Also, some browsers are not designed to follow links such as “#” and often just reload the current page. You don’t want your page reloading instead of performing the script that you thought you correctly called for..do you?

So it’s best to just follow safe methods and standards to ensure that your code lasts longer and is supported in most all browsers without having to do silly browser specific hacks. These hacks can often become out dated very fast and force you to do hacks to your hacks. If you’d like to check into other web standards take a look at W3C. If you have any comments or suggested articles please let me know!

Blog tag: 5 things I’d like to see in Opera

Recently, I read a post at OperaWatch.com where Daniel has started a new game similar to tag..with Opera. So the game is that you make a list of your top most 5 wishes for the Opera browser. The features or suggestions are to improve Opera in your own opinion. After listing your 5 wishes you should leave at least 5 other friends names that are linked to their blog page. Once linked, they are entered into the game and have to make their own list and tag new friends. So I guess I’ll just jump right in…

  1. [done] -> [link] Developer Tools. I wish for developer tools as my top wish simply because Opera lacks in this area. Other browsers such as Firefox and Safari already have great developer tools. Most people that I know turn to Firebug in Firefox to debug their web sites. Opera really needs to step up and release something amazing asap!
  2. [done] -> [link] Auto-Update. My second wish is for an auto-update system similar to the one that is already present in Firefox. Most people won’t understand that currently the only way to update Opera is to go to the download page and download the entire program over again. This could be handled so much better with an auto-update feature that downloads only small patch files instead of downloading the entire ~6mb file each time. This feature would also include auto-updating of plug-ins to make the stress on the user as little as possible.
  3. [done] -> [link-1 link-2] Extended Widget Capabilities. This wish may not seem like a popular wish, however, many people are begging for extensions and other exact copies from Firefox. I believe in the widgets. The only thing that I feel desperately needs to be improved to them is to allow them to interact with the browser it self and even interact with the OS on a low and safe level. If widgets could interact with the browser itself a lot more then we would have infinite possibilities for new widgets. Widgets really could start to have some of the same capabilities that make extensions such a popular choice today.
  4. [done] -> [link] In-line Spell Check. I know that many people have been begging for this feature for ages. It goes with out saying that this feature would become a success from the start. Also, this is just a suggestion, but a wiki could be started to allow members to contribute dictionaries for various languages etc. so they could be included with the installer program and just compressed.
  5. [done] -> [link] Improved Interface. This last wish is more of an improvement wish rather than a feature request. It took me a while to decide on this wish, but I’d really like to see the interface improved on tons. I know that lots of work is going into the mail client at the moment with Kestrel in mind. The freezing bugs are rumored to be squashed and the interface of the mail client is supposed to be slightly redesigned to make managing your mail much easier. I’d really like to see the rest of Opera improved upon though, including the notes, contacts, info panel (which has been improved already internally), transfers (including Bit Torrent downloads), widgets (some kind of bring all to front or something), windows panel (thumbnail view instead of just list view), a thumbnail view of history pages, thumbnail view for bookmarks, upgraded chat client, possibly even jabber support, better support for reporting fraudulent sites (the login causes many people to avoid reporting), and keep the incredible speed you’re so famous for!
    The five friends that I tag are: haavard, zomg, Remco Lanting, FataL and Nicomen.

Tag, you’re it.

Last updated 2008-12-07

Opera 9.22 Final (Build 8801)

Opera 9.22 Build 8801 is on the verge of being released! The due date is scheduled for Thursday, July 19, 2007 in Oslo.

9.22 hasn’t been released until it’s on http://www.opera.com/ . The release is planned for Thursday morning in Oslo. Note that plans can change and the release may not occur.

-Source

If you want to go a head and install this build, here are the links:

Go a head and enjoy the new release before it’s even released at Opera.com

“100% CLEAN” Softpedia award!

For those of you who have not yet used my Google Translator widget for Opera, you’re missing out! Little did I know that when I updated this widget on Monday, July 16, 2007 that it would go under a complete inspection by Softpedia.com. I just received an email notifying my that my widget had be awarded for being 100% CLEAN.

Hello,

Your product “Google Translator Opera Widget 1.4″ has been tested by the Softpedia labs and found to be completely clean of adware/spyware components.

We are impressed with the quality of your product and encourage you to keep this high standards in the future.

To assure our visitors that “Google Translator Opera Widget 1.4″ is clean, we have granted it with the “100% CLEAN” Softpedia award. Moreover, to let your users know about this certification, you may display this award on your website, on software boxes or inside your product.

More information about your product’s certification and the award is available on this page: http://www.softpedia.com/progClean/Google-Translator-Opera-Widget-Clean-78959.html

Your product review page is located at: http://www.softpedia.com/get/Tweak/Browser-Tweak/Google-Translator-Opera-Widget.shtml

Please feel free to link to us using the URL above. If you choose to link to the award page for your product, you may use the award graphic or a text link such as: “100% CLEAN award granted by Softpedia”

Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Sincerely,
The Softpedia Team

So now I’m awarded with this little badge..

clean

If you’d like to get this widget installed to use with Opera, just go here and click the download button. Please go and vote for my web app today!

New wheels for my ride..

So I bought some new wheels for my 1995 BMW 325is. I found them on eBay for a really good price. They’ll be changing my ride from 15″ wheels to 17″ wheel and should look much better!

I went with the M-split wheels, which cost ~$1,999.99 from BavAuto.com. Here are some pictures of the wheels that I bought..

bmw m-split wheels
bmw m-split wheels
bmw m-split wheels
bmw m-split wheels

They should be here in another week or so. Can’t wait!

I’m 21!!!!!!

So I’m now officially 21 years old. Yay. I’ve gotten several emails from forums that I’ve a member of wishing me a happy birthday and several facebook and myspace comments..so thanks everyone who has wished me a happy birthday! Soon to be at the beach to top of the celebration! Happy Birthday to anyone else who was born on July 5th. I also hope everyone (in the USA) had a great Independence Day!

Cheers!