Opera 7.60 Preview 3 for Windows

Opera Software has released Opera 7.60 Preview 3 for Windows for download. I took a quick spin with it to see what new features they’ve added. Granted, I am a big Firefox fan, but I’m not so closed in my belief that Firefox rocks (which it does) that I can’t recognize the goodness in other browsers. Opera, particularly, is one other browser that I’m very fond of (and I’d imagine, Safari as well, but I don’t have a Mac). Here’s a quick look at what to expect in the upcoming Opera 7.60

RSS

It’s interesting to see how similar an approach both Opera and Firefox have taken towards RSS feeds. Both developers and the community greatly value and use RSS, as can be seen from Firefox’s RSS integration as well as Opera’s new RSS feed subscription interface. When you’re on a webpage that has RSS metadata, an RSS icon appears in the address bar:

After a noticeable pause when nothing happens (which is a tad confusing), the Add RSS feed dialog pops up:

Saying “Yes” gets you an Opera Mail panel showing the RSS entries for that feed in an email-like interface. Pretty much the same as that in Mozilla Thunderbird (which emulated Opera’s interface for RSS subscriptions, and not the other way around).

Window Trash Can

Another nice small UI improvement is the unobtrusive (to me) Window Trash Can. This is a small little trash can icon that allows you to retrieve windows that you’ve closed (accidentally or otherwise).

Pretty nifty. I wish Firefox had something like this built in for all the times when I close a tab only to want to get back to it again 5 minutes later. Firefox users: the undoclosetab extension allows you to re-open the last closed tab.

Start Bar

This is a new addition that you may or may not like: the Start Bar. This is a little toolbar-like UI that pops up when the address bar has focus, allowing you easy access to your Top 10 most visited pages, bookmarks, and just about anything – it’s customizable.

I, for one, like it because it really does put stuff within easy reach without compromising browser real estate. Opera has got this one right, IMHO.

Simplified MDI Mode

This Opera 7.60 preview also includes a new simplified MDI mode that is less clunky than the original (now called “Advanced MDI”). This is the new default window mode for Opera, and does away with the minimize/maximize/close buttons for the current tab. The addition of little X boxes on each tab also works to make Opera’s tab browsing interface very much similar to Firefox’s lightweight version. Personally, I’m a big fan of Opera’s MDI because of it’s intuitiveness and the ability to pull tabs out and turn them into full-blown windows (this helps when a window gets overloaded with tabs, and for organizational purposes).

Wrapping up

All in all, I’d say Opera is a good browser. Remember that this is coming from the mouth (or rather, keyboard) of a big Mozilla Firefox fan. Like I said, I appreciate good browser innovation when I see it, and Opera has done more right than wrong. Reducing the clunkiness of the Opera interface seems to be something the developers are taking seriously and they’ve done well, as far as I can see in this Preview release.

Grab Opera 7.60 Preview 3 to see these new features yourself. If you’re still using IE, I also strongly suggest you switch to Firefox or Opera for security and productivity reasons.

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