Browser Wars v.2004: Part 2 | 2 | WebReference

Browser Wars v.2004: Part 2 | 2

Browser Wars v.2004: Part 2


Another browser that appears to be making headway with users is Opera. While most browser stats indicate a 1% market share, this can be misleading. Opera shows up as MS Internet Explorer in many Web site stats, making it seem as if IE is much more popular than it really is, and, consequently, Opera less popular than it actually is. (Opera has a built-in ability to disguise itself as another browser type. While there are methods to detect this, most Web sites do not deploy any of them.)

Opera is made by Opera Software ASA, headquartered in Oslo, Norway. The company was established in 1995.

According to its press release, Opera v7.x's "new rendering engine supports W3C's DOM (Document Object Model) level 2, non-standard dynamic HTML (DHTML), CSS1 and CSS2, ECMAScript, and has improved HTML 4.01 support, as well as complete support for WML 1.3 and 2.0. It is faster, smaller and can dynamically change documents through DOM." Unlike Microsoft's efforts to create its own Web standards, Opera Software states that it "... will never seek to hinder the Net's continuous evolutionary process by imposing proprietary standards". A casual Google search for Opera Web page design problems seems to support this claim, for the most part. The Quirksmode Web site, lists a few bugs but the company appears to listen to those complaints and works on correcting them. In fact, the company itself lists some of the problems the software has with Web specifications. (Many of these have been fixed in v.7.50.) Remember, there is no perfect Web browser ... yet.

From a developmental viewpoint, Opera has several Web design features built-in. Pressing [Shift+F11] displays pages as they will be shown on mobile phones and other small-screen devices running Opera while pressing [Ctrl-Alt-V] validates the current Web page. Opera also offers a "show structural elements" feature, which displays the tags, classes, and ID's of the elements on the page.

Opera Development Help:


There are other Web browsers available but their market share is so small that attempting to design for them would not be cost-efficient (unless you know that a large portion of your audience will be using one of them). There are also viewers that allow you to see your Web pages in other browsers without having to download them or subscribe to their services:

The browser wars, it seems, have heated up again. This time, the Web developers are gaining support from those who actually view the sites. The Internet users of today are a different breed than those of yesteryear. Today's users have a better understanding of what they're doing, i.e. using a computer, browser, and e-mail. While not experts, they do know what they want. The situation is similar to what happened when automobiles first became available. This was a new technology and there weren't many options. But that changed down the road (no pun intended) as consumers became more informed. Eventually, the consumer started to have a say in the choices available to them. And it's beginning to happen, I believe, with Web browsers.

Further Reading:

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: June 21, 2004