Choosing a Web Browser – Using Opera
A second alternative to IE that has improved significantly and now stands out as a safe, robust and fast web browser application is Opera. Now much improved thanks to its removal of ads it is visually slick and again, with the introduction of what I now feel is a critical part of web browsing (tabbed browsing) the online experience is much more user friendly.
Where Mozilla is slow to open and IE slow to return web pages that are rich in code, Opera is positively the fastest web browser around, at all stages. Again, like Firefox it is rich in functionality, I particularly like the email and bit torrent facilities that are built into Opera, and the content blocker functionality performs excellently. Opera also offers an abundance of customization add-ons called ‘widgets’. This library of widgets is not as extensive as the Firefox plug-in catalog but this does not detract from Opera’s functionality as many relevant features are built into the browser as standard.
Installation of Opera is quick and easy, but some of the menu driven configurations take some getting used to, as does the user interface. However, this is not something that should deter even the novice user. Opera is very simple to use once you get through this five minute learning curve.
What separates Opera from IE is its security. Built on the same principles as Firefox, i.e. using its own code throughout, Opera is quick to close security loopholes and disable breach threats, working, as Firefox does to a continuous development cycle, rather than timetabled version control as is the case with IE.
Opera also has an excellent support communications setup, based on a solid library of documentation and tutorials. For those who want to delve further there is also an abundance of online support facilities such as IRC Chat and technical newsgroups.
Whilst it doesn’t have the customization options of Firefox or the strategic marketing powers of Microsoft that promotes IE, Opera has one crucial advantage over its two main rivals, it is consistently the fastest web browser to launch and run.
Opera does have a considerable amount of widgets that are frankly OTT or pointless, and navigation for the PC illiterate could prove difficult (whereas Firefox and IE are completely dummy proof) but if you want speed, 100% security and a crisp user interface without whistles and bells, then Opera is definitely worth a closer look.