Opera is a versatile browser – it has lots of features, nicely collected in one package, and many of us don’t know how we can get by without it. Now, from time to time I read some opinions, that the Opera browser are for technical people only, not for “common people”. This is of course pure hogwash.
First of all, why should Opera be a browser for technical people only? This isn’t always easy to know, as reasons for the claim are mostly absent. However, the following seems to mostly sum up the various views: Opera has a lot of features, so obviously it must be advanced, and thus difficult, which means a browser for technical people. Besides, most people have no need for all those features anyway. Some may also think “normal people” can’t configure the browser like they want it.
It does look a bit silly seeing the reasons written like that, but still – it is how I see the reasons, when they’re mentioned. Personally, I think the real reasons are far simpler than that. It may not be nice of me to say it, but it often sounds like the real reasons are something along “It doesn’t look like I’m used to” or “I don’t want to change browser, so I’m making up excuses not to consider the alternative.”
I know, I’m probably nasty for saying it, but honestly – I’m not able to find a well argued reason behind any claims that Opera is for technical people, or that Opera is complicated. I only see unwillingness to try, or to admit that Opera is a sensible choice – because it’s a different browser from what they themselves are using.
That some are unable to give any reasons for their positions doesn’t mean they’re wrong – so when I claim they are, I’d better be able to provide some arguments myself. So here goes. Opera is not a browser for technical people only, nor a technical browser itself as such, because – well, it’s a browser, that does what a browser should do, without any nonsense. You just start to use it like you would use any other normal browser: Type in URLs in the address field, visit web pages as you usually do, follow links, go back and forth in history, fill in forms as usual, play flash games…
Opera doesn’t look exactly like <insert your favourite other browser here> but – different browser do look different to each other. Some also have more extra features than others, which makes it only natural to look different, too. Besides, if you don’t like Opera, it’s easy to change how you want it to look. Just right click on a toolbar, and off you go customising. In an easy to use dialog box, you choose which toolbars and panels you want to show and where, add buttons on the toolbars you want, drag them around with the mouse – soon you’ll have a browser customised to your liking, without any complicated, technical stuff to do. You can also save different configurations if you want it for different tasks (studying, web developing, playing, …) and quickly change between them.
But extra features, other than pure browsing. What may they be? If you want, you can activate the email client, by just setting up an email account. Some love the client, some don’t. Some prefer a separate client, some want it in the browser, and some didn’t think an email client had anything to do until they tried the one in Opera. It works differently from most other email clients, by using filters instead of folders, so that one email can be in several filters instead of just one. Much like what GMail adopted.
Opera also have built in rss-feeds/web feeds or what you like to call them. Initially it’s hidden, so if you’re not interested, it won’t get in your way. If you like it, it’s available as soon as you start subscribing on a feed, by clicking on a feed link, or the blue rss-icon/orange feed icon in the address bar. A feature I recommend very much, by the way.
Like to chat? Opera includes an irc-client, too – if you want it. And a news client. As usual, they stay out of your way until you set up the accounts for using them. Notebook? It’s there when you need to copy interesting stuff from a web page. I could go on, especially if I include the coming Opera 9, but the best ting is this: You don’t need any technical know how to use any of these features. Anyone can get started with Opera, and set it up just like they want.