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This is a very opinionated question, but I was just wondering what everyone thinks about using Opera for website/online application development? What are its advantages/disadvantages?

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closed as not constructive by random Oct 2 '10 at 22:27

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Can you clarify what you mean by development? Website development? Widget development? Something else? –  Force Flow Sep 22 '10 at 1:19
    
I edited the post. I was talking mostly about website/app development. –  Metropolis Sep 22 '10 at 13:54
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4 Answers

I think the biggest disadvantage is the limited selection of add-ons, where Firefox flourishes. Firefox is big in the developer world for that reason, as well as the fact that it's open source.

An advantage, to keep things fair, is standards compliance. Opera places fairly well when it comes to web standards. They are hard at work on HTML5 right now as well, but I think Safari and Chrome are currently the top dogs in that field.

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I don't think the fact that Firefox is open source has anything to do with it, but +1 regardless. –  Sasha Chedygov Sep 21 '10 at 21:57
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Developers that don't appreciate open source is news to me. –  John T Sep 21 '10 at 21:57
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I appreciate open source but I'm not going to refuse to use a closed source program if it's clearly better than the competition. (Case in point: Visual Studio.) If Firefox didn't have all the add-ons that it does, being open source wouldn't have helped it. –  Sasha Chedygov Sep 21 '10 at 21:58
    
That's not the context I was referring to, what I mean is that developers can extend it to their liking. Your point is very valid I don't disagree with that as a VS user myself. –  John T Sep 21 '10 at 22:01
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@Met that's why I use Perl and a text editor :) –  John T Sep 21 '10 at 23:18
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If you do intend to use Opera for heavy development, I recommend turning off "Opera Turbo" under the Webpages tab in preferences. The caching, compression, and pre-fetching of this feature can really impede your debugging.

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Agreed....I think they really need to find a way to make opera turbo better. –  Metropolis Sep 22 '10 at 13:47
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Long version:
As someone who has been using Opera for many years as a primary browser, I'm happily using it for development on a daily basis. I however agree with some of the points raised here already (John T, JustinShoffstall). I'll try to give an unbiased opinion which supplements view of the others.

Opera has very good standards support nowadays, and I rarely find a case where I have to optimize something specifically for Opera. As was said, the largest disadvantage is the huge lack of add-ons - this is one of the areas where Firefox has the upper hand. Sure, Opera has Dragonfly, however I still don't find it as intuitive as Firebug (but that may be due to me just being used to Firebug). If you are developing or working with web services, you won't find anything similar to Modify headers, Poster or even HTML Validator for Opera.
Update: apparently, Opera allows you to easily submit your code for validation to the official W3C validation service or to your own local validation service (service URI can be set in opera:config). The thanks for pointing this out goes to to Metropolis.

Due to the above I was using Firefox as my primary development browser at work for about 3 years before switching to Opera 2 years ago. The main reason for the switch was that I had to restart Firefox frequently - complexity of one of our old web apps was making it extremely slow after a few hours, and I also had to switch versions of Firefox frequently as we were testing against several versions of it (I wasn't aware about the -no-remote flag at that time, which works like a charm with Portable Firefox).

Logging-in into multiple web apps after each restart made the whole process lengthy and a pain, so I switched to using Opera as a primary browser where I can keep all web apps open throughout the whole day without loosing context due to Firefox (IE/Chrome/etc) restarts. I then use Firefox as primary debugging tool (call it a Swiss army knife), on top of using it for the regular cross-browser compatibility checks.

So in short, my use case usually looks like:

  • Opera: for all web apps (Gmail, Bugzilla, etc) and for main development of the website
  • Firefox: for more detailed debugging (Firebug, etc) and standards compliancy testing
  • IE, FF, Opera, Safari, etc: for the regular cross-browser compatibility checks
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Actually, Opera has an HTML validator link built in. If you right click on the page, you can click on validate and it brings you to the W3C validator. And as far as I can tell, the built in dev tools have everything I ever needed from FF plugins. –  Metropolis Sep 22 '10 at 13:51
    
@Metropolis: thank you! I completely forgot about that, as I was working in sensitive data for a very long time. Technically, I still am, but now that I looked into it thanks to your nudge, I see that the link to the validator can be changed in opera:config#UserPrefs|ValidationURL ... so now just to setup a local validation service :) –  MicE Sep 22 '10 at 21:40
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I think the most important factor is the main browser your users will be using. Sure, jQuery and CSS can tweak out things to various browsers, but you never really know unless you're testing.

If possible, see if you can dictate the target browser. We mandate Fox on our site, and it saves us tons of time.

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Dictate the target browser? That's a terrible idea. Losing >70% of your audience because you're too lazy to make it work in other browsers is unacceptable. (Unless your website is specifically related to that browser, but even then...) –  Sasha Chedygov Sep 22 '10 at 1:54
    
I just test in all browsers....And for the longest time I was a FF fan. But now that I look at it, Opera has most of my favorite plugins from FF built into it. The dev tools for Opera remind me a LOT of firebug and I almost think they are better. –  Metropolis Sep 22 '10 at 13:49
    
When you're in a closed environment (a web app within your company's domain), dictating the target browser is a solid business choice. Further, when you're in a university, where I am, it's even more effective to require students - in my case, thousands of them - to use a single browser. –  Caveatrob Sep 22 '10 at 23:15
    
@Caveatrab No its not, thats a solid dictatorship..... –  Metropolis Sep 23 '10 at 14:16
    
No, it's a hedge against inconsistencies in browser experience (there are still many), maintenance and development costs. Consistency is so important when you're addressing 3,000 users who have very little computer knowledge. Any variables we can eliminate without disrupting the user experience are welcome. –  Caveatrob Sep 26 '10 at 19:34
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