David Storey: A Look Back And Forward At Opera

By | September 7, 2011

David Storey: A Look Back And Forward At OperaWith the recent departure from Opera Software, David took some time to share his personal thoughts regarding the situation in the company and its products.

Some of the key aspects in the article are:

– Stop adding new features and polish Opera desktop instead.
– Make the bug tracker public.
– Build Opera Widgets into a real platform or drop it.
– Scrap Opera Unite in its present form.
– Invest more in the developer tools.
– Focus on consumer products instead of selling custom solutions to partners, which requires custom work for both Core and platform code. According to David, this is what Opera is doing right now.

Any thoughts? Click here for a full article.

[Thanks, KORraN]

About (Author Profile)

Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

Comments (28)

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  1. Rexxar_s says:

    I dont think opera need to innovates anymore since there are more unique/hidden features that can be configured in :opera:config” 

    opera needs to unhide these things and show it to the public easily and more configurable

    i agree though..they need to implement HWA or whatever there is to innovate in the browser

    the recent innovation opera did is the “tab Stacking or automatic tab stacking” in v.11

    they need to improved or bring back automatic tab stack in v.12 final

    • Александр Горбовец says:

      > they need to improved or bring back automatic tab stack in v.12 final
      This was told many times but it seems that they want to bury that excellent feature

    • Kyle says:

      I just hope they’ll listen to their users and bring the automatic stacking back! It was really handy and useful. But the thing I realize is that I’ll continue using Opera even without this feature… 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, am I reading the same article, as it seems you have cherry picked some negatives from a almost entirely positive blog post.

    • We probably read different articles then as his conclusion is pretty much identical to what I wrote.

      Either this or you have your fan boy filter on :)

      • apriorimeister says:

        Pradedu mastyti, kad jis yra kategoriskai beprotis. Jelly, you sir are beginning to scare me with your delusions. Which parts did he cherry pick exactly? Oh right… none of them.
        “6.0 IN CONCLUSION
        Looking back at everything that has happened at Opera since I started, these are the things I think Opera would benefit from.

        – Polish and refine the user experience of Opera desktop rather than adding more new features. There are enough good features already, they just need to be made useful and look good.- Open up the bug tracking system to developers as soon as possible. It will not be easy but it needs to be done.- Build Opera Widgets into a real platform with high quality tools and libraries or scrap it entirely. This will take a lot of investment to get it done right so it has to be worth it.- Scrap Opera Unite in its present form. Either keep it as an API for other technologies such as Extensions, standardise it or put it out of its misery- Invest more in the developer tools such as Opera Dragonfly. The team is very good and has grown over the last few years, but rivals are throwing a lot of resources into their dev tools teams. More developers and QA wouldn’t harm.- Figure out how to get users to upgrade from Opera Mini to Opera Mobile when the markets are ready. Opera Mobile is much more powerful of a development platform than Mini and thus is of more interest to developers.- Keep on focusing on the consumer products rather than selling custom solutions to partners that require custom work in Core and on the platform code. Opera is more or less doing this right now.”

  3. mr_den says:

    I agree. Opera has been my favorite browser since version 6, because had many things my Internet Exploder didn’t, and the things they implemented in each new versions confirmed it was the best of all. But for a new user, if your features are things like widgets, unite or opera extensions, that’s not something would make me decide for a browser. At least the way Opera manages them, are almost useless.

    I use one or two extensions, but I can survive without them. Not like Firefox extensions, that almost always are the things that give usability to the browser. If Opera doesn’t want people to compare their extensions with FF’s ’cause they are different things, the worse thing they could have done was using the same name.

    Opera is my favbrowser, but I admit it’s taking the wrong path.

    • Shane Bundy says:

      Agreed. I’ve only been on the Opera bandwagon since version 9, and the only reason I used Opera was because of its speed and efficiency. But with all the innovations Opera’s getting caught up in the act with bugs and site incompatabilities (although it’s getting better).

      There’s a few more things to add to Opera, like a HTML5 parser and HW-acceleration, but Opera has lived past that swiftly so far. But ever since Jon left Opera it hasn’t quite felt the same.

      The other problem with Opera is the size. At one time it fit onto a floppy but now it’s almost as big as a Firefox installation! Opera was known to cut the bloat and being small while providing as many useful features as possible but has completely gone out the window thus far.

      Opera has always been my ‘one to watch’ simply because it has potential. It just hasn’t been realised yet.

      • Rafael says:

        Opera has the smallest installer. Do you want all the New web technologies and features implemented to fit in a floppy drive?

      • Anonymous says:

        Jon left almost 2 years ago. When did it stop feeling the same?

        If size is a problem for Opera, why is it not a problem for Chrome which is much bigger?

    • Anonymous says:

      Things like widgets aren’t supposed to attract new users. They are for developers. Extensions do attract new users (or the lack of them would have alienated users).

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Yes, YES!

  5. Sirnh1 says:

    “- Stop adding new features and polish Opera desktop instead.”
    Disagree. New features are great, they just have to remember to update their existing features every now and then (like improving the torrent client, make ‘notes’ support some markup like placing things in bold, etc…)

    “- Make the bug tracker public.”
    Don’t care for it, but I doubt it’s going to happen (as it might contain bug data about source code stuff from both websites as opera source code)

     “- Build Opera Widgets into a real platform or drop it.”
    Opera widgets are well… cross platform widgets (written in html, css and js) and work are designed to run on any platform (desktop, mobile, tv,…)

    ” – Scrap Opera Unite in its present form.”
    Why? It doesn’t clutter the interface, doesn’t take space, doesn’t get in your way when not using it, doesn’t slow opera down… And some people are using it, so why bother removing?

    ” – Invest more in the developer tools.”
    For me, the opera developer tools are already better then the ones that come with chrome and safari, it’s javascript console works ‘easier and more logical’ (for me) then the one provided with firebug. I’m only missing the ‘trace styles’ option that the IE develop tools have…

     “- Focus on consumer products instead of selling custom solutions to partners, which requires custom work for both Core and platform code. According to David, this is what Opera is doing right now.”
    Who cares as long as opera is making money. Opera creates (and makes) money through their browser, why would I care how they do that?

    • apriorimeister says:

      1. What he’s saying is that before adding new features Opera should polish the ones that it already has, because in their current shape many of them are frankly not all that usable.

      2. People who submit bug reports care, because they would know whether they submitted a duplicate report or not. 

      3. I think that he knows what widgets are, don’t you think? And I absolutely agree with him, because they are pretty much useless in their current form and I also don’t see how they could improve them as much as to make them actually useful.

      4. Again, it’s fairly useless and it has close to no purpose, so why waste developers on it?

      5. Perhaps they are better, however if you follow browser news, you would have seen that Google and Mozilla are on the offensive and are now hiring quite a few people for the development of their developer tools. The author also provides the same argument “rivals are throwing a lot of resources into their dev tools teams.” And lastly, do you not think that perhaps, just perhaps he knows better than you what the team that he had managed for several years needs?

      6. Because they deviate valuable developers to write custom code that they will in all likeliness will never be used in their consumer products and in turn those products suffer because the time spent writing that custom code could have been used for improving them.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree.

        I always thought that widgets and unite were half baked (not to mention other features)

        Opera I guess, just like to introduce new features and forget that building it up really matters.

        If they are true innovators, they would improve features before introducing new ones.

        • Mikah says:

          I  totally agree in regard to the Desktop browser Unite should be dropped along with Widgets I’ve always felt that Widgets are only for  TV’s

          Opera have been spending more time polishing features than introducing new ones the last  new feature was extensions in Opera 11 December 2010 tab stacking, Speed dial  & Mouse Gesture  improvements &  I regard more as polishing  existing feature’s.

  6. Nobody says:

    it is as if i wrote that article’ summary

    drop the flops! unite, widgets ARE flops. unite was one of THE biggest flops in the industry, widgets ARE NOT cool, they are still in a limbo

    and yes, invest more in dev tools – opera did a LOUSY job of allocating money to it, and people ignored it. dragonfly IS STILL A PIECE OF SHIT for kids.

    and lastly – admit to mistakes, opera is one of the companies that ‘is always right’

    yeah right, dropping market share is a clear sign of doing everything right