Saturday, 2 May 2015

Things you should know about the Opera browser (Presto) and its features

For me, the ultimate browser is the Opera Web Browser. I have been using Opera as my default browser under Windows since 2001 (Mozilla under Linux) where I had the luxury of having multiple tabs open while I was enjoying the amazing speed of the fastest browser at the time. Due to the fact most viruses were being written at the time to affect Internet Explorer, Opera was unaffected by malicious scripts and viruses hosted on web servers/portals. Also, one of the most life saving features of Opera was that whatever happened to the OS (the OS used to hang and crash a lot back then) you would never loose your work! All my tabs, with all the things I was reading/researching were kept as they were, no matter what e.g. power failure. 

Many "experts" at the time were claiming that a multi-tab browser is a pointless feature because you are always going to be using one tab in front of you at any time anyway. Today the answer to these people seems obvious, but back then it was a nightmare to convince these "opinionated experts"  that multi-tab browsing is the future. 

I still use the Opera browser but I always have a copy of the other browsers as well. For me, having the different browsers installed on my system, is mostly a set of tools. I also have a copy of the last version of the Opera browser with the Presto rendering engine (version 12.17). After that, Opera switched to the open source WebKit rendering engine and became a similar browser to Chrome. 

The Opera Browser with the Presto rendering engine is a hacker's must have web tool. 
  • First of all, change the User Agent string to the latest IE or to any other browser you like. That way, the websites you are visiting won't "complain" about the browser you are using. 
  • You will discover that the Presto engine was/is fast, it is really responsive and fast. 
  • Also, devious and malicious scripts that try to pop-up windows in the background (which target mostly the Chrome browser nowadays) won't work with Opera 12.17 and previous versions. Opera 12.17 will simply notify you that it did block all attempts made by a webpage to pop-up a window. On the other hand, if you go to the same website using the recent version of Opera or Chrome, the same pop-up will rarely be blocked. 
  • Now, the important parts of the browser. Opera 12.17 and all the previous versions had something called Opera Dragonfly. Yes, it is the browser that had all the "Inspect Element" features that no other browser used to have back then. Opera Dragonfly is powerful. I find the Inspect Element feature on the modern browsers primitive compared to the power of the Opera Dragonfly. 
  • Another reason why I still have a copy of Opera 12.17 is the default features that come with the browser. For example the feature "links" which will dig all the links (URLs) on a webpage and allow you to select which files (filetypes) you would like to download with just a click. 
  • The download manager is simply amazing and actually useful. Opera had one of the best and fastest download managers (if I remember correctly, it used to be able to do up to 6 different simultaneous connections) without installing any third party applications or extensions or widgets from unknown individuals. Also, Opera was the only browser allowing you to pause and resume downloads as a default feature of the download manager. 
  • The GUI of Opera was fully customisable to your needs, and you could write your own scripts in order to interact with browser. 
  • Along with a number of other features, Opera 12.17 and the earlier versions came with a default torrent client in the download manager and a mail client. It had an advanced form for selecting and deleting all private data. It kept a history of closed tabs, while Ctrl+Z would act as an Undo button and reopen any (accidentaly) closed tabs in the precise order they were closed (avoiding the time consuming task of digging them up from History). It also had a "Notes" feature, for storing notes while you were browsing (like an advanced clipboard). 
  • One of the amazing features was the "save session" where you could save your current open tabs as is in order to come back to the work you were doing at some point in the future. 
  • Last but not least, private and non-private tabs in one window. In the new version you need to open a new Browser window in order to have private tabs. In Opera 12.17 and earlier you could have a mix of private and non-private tabs in a singly window allowing you to work faster. 

These are only a few of the capabilities and advanced features of the Opera Browser 12.17. If you have the time, I recommend downloading and keeping a copy of this amazing browser. Give it a go and try the Dragonfly. Keep in mind that all the features you see in that "old" version of Opera were available many years ago, way before the rest of the browsers considered having any features at all! 

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