25 October 2009

Opera (and Eclipse)

A few weeks back, I found out that a beta of Opera Mini 5 was available for my Blackberry Storm (out ~a month prior). The move from 4 to 5 added tabbed browsing, near-desktop speed (using Opera's proxies), and just a generally more elegant layout. Their functional tabbed browsing solution on such a small form factor is reason enough for a trial.

I started using Opera I don't know how many years ago. I remember it was when they still had ads at the top, so it was probably version 5 sometime at the end of 2000. It wasn't the most elegant software to work with, but this was years before Firefox was even a dream, so non-IE choices on Windows were few and squirrely. I'm not sure how, but I've stuck with it ever since and only in the last few years has it become really brag-worthy. Stick with something long enough and every little advance makes it seem worth while.

Yesterday, I was helping my brother with some web sites he uses for real estate. They're a mish-mash of multiple installs of WordPress with shared style sheets and several branches of dead code that is undocumented. He inherited this, and we learn a little more of the madness contained each time something needs changed (update the logo? edit two images and three css files...). Opera's Dragonfly is invaluable for tracking down layout idiosyncrasies and resource file locations. The same thing can be done with Firefox's Firebug, but with Opera you have one, small download to get everything you need.

Oddly, whereas I appreciate Opera much for its single packaging of every tool, I use Eclipse for development which is more akin to Firefox with its plugin approach to features. Although I run pretty lean at home, at work we use the ClearCase and ClearQuest plugins--two large installs that would be completely unnecessary for 90% of the people using Eclipse and so sensibly pluginable. And I guess that's the difference between my choice of an all-in-one browser cf. a piecemeal IDE (barring the very real possibility that I chose them because they both happen to be FREE): browsers' features can be lightweight; IDE features will more likely be much heavier. E.g. I don't need a Fortran IDE when all I'm writing is Java and sometimes C++.

[ posted by sstrader on 25 October 2009 at 10:34:55 AM in Internet , Programming ]