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Opera The Internet

Opera Neon Turns Your Web Browser Into a Mini Desktop (engadget.com) 78

Opera today announced it's launching a new browser called Opera Neon. From a report on Engadget:It's a separate "concept" browser that shows where software could go. It's much more visual, with an uncluttered look, tabs and shortcuts as bubbles and a side control bar that largely gets out of your way. However, the real fun starts when you want to juggle multiple sites -- this is more of an intelligent desktop than your usual web client. If you want to have two pages running side by side, it's relatively easy: you drag one of your open tabs to the top of the window, creating a split view much like what you see in Windows or the multi-window modes on mobile devices. Also, Neon acknowledges that your browser can frequently double as a media player. You can listen to tunes in the background, or pop out a video in order to switch websites while you watch. These aren't completely novel concepts all by themselves, but it's rare to see all of them in a browser at the same time.
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Opera Neon Turns Your Web Browser Into a Mini Desktop

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  • kde (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    konqueror [konqueror.org] Has been doing this for how many years?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Will Servo [servo.org], Mozilla's new web engine written in the Rust programming language, be getting support for this, too?

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      I believe it started with SGI's IRIX desktop back in the 90s.
      You could type a URL into any file manager window, and the web page would be rendered in the window, and any elements on it optionally accessible as files in a second pane for easy drag/drop/open. You could play music from a web page in one window, watch an mp2 video in another, working with your files in a third, and read slashdot in a fourth.

      This is the same principle, just calling it a browser instead of file manager.

      • by grub ( 11606 )

        I believe it started with SGI's IRIX desktop back in the 90s.

        I used it on an Octane 2(?) for a few years. It was certainly ahead of its time.
  • Opera = China (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Do not want.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why was the parent modded down?

      I did some research, and according to Opera Software's article at Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] it was recently acquired by Chinese interests.

      Now maybe the Wikipedia article is inaccurate, but I doubt it.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Because Cisco has deliberately compromised customers, on government orders, no Chinese company has. China stuff is more secure than American. So the anti-China racism should be down-modded.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Being anti-China for technology has nothing to do with racism, just like Canadians not wanting HFCS and GMO crap from the USA doesn't mean we hate Americans.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2017 @11:30AM (#53653725)

    The article starts with a screenshot, followed by:

    As much as modern desktop web browsers can do, their basic concept is stuck in a rut.

    Well the screenshot shows that this browser appears to be stuck in the same rut that has plagued browsers, and UI design in general, for a few years now: these goddamn flat, unintuitive UIs forced on the world by Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Android and Windows 8/10.

    With these awful flat UIs, it becomes much more difficult to determine how to interact with them. It's unclear what's a button, and what's a label, and what's an icon, and what happens if you click/press in a given area of the screen. That was the whole point of using borders and effects to try to give a three-dimensional appearance to UI elements: it makes it more obvious what they do and how they should be used.

    I have no interest in these browsers that keep screwing around with inefficient UI paradigms thought up by web designers, rather than real UI experts. We should really return to UI design techniques that made for usable UIs, instead of the shitty techniques used today that only lead to painful UI experiences.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      THANK YOU. Unfortunately, I bet the UIs ARE thought up by experts. This seems to me like a classic disconnect between pie in the sky designers and everyday users. They do look good. I totally admit that. They are also completely unfunctional. It reminds me of house that are pretty, but you can't touch anything. It's nice to look good, but now we have to live somewhere.

      • Unfortunately, I bet the UIs ARE thought up by experts. This seems to me like a classic disconnect between pie in the sky designers and everyday users.

        Experts UI designers are those who test the interface with everyday users.

        Therefore, when an interface has been designed by an expert in UI design (NOT visual design, but real interaction design), there is no such disconnect.

      • THANK YOU. Unfortunately, I bet the UIs ARE thought up by experts.

        You mean, like the ones who came with the Gnome 3.*, Unity and KDE 4.* monstrosities? Experts at what? At making life miserable for users?

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      With these awful flat UIs, it becomes much more difficult to determine how to interact with them. It's unclear what's a button, and what's a label, and what's an icon, and what happens if you click/press in a given area of the screen. That was the whole point of using borders and effects to try to give a three-dimensional appearance to UI elements: it makes it more obvious what they do and how they should be used.

      If only UI designers could be bothered to read the books that have covered this topic for years:

      You're welcome

      • UI designers have already read those. (I also like Rocket Surgery Made Easy, [amazon.com] the sequel to Don't Make Me Think).

        The problem is that user interfaces and web applications are largely being designed by developers who are not UI designers.

        • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

          UI designers have already read those

          If so, UI designers must have very poor reading comprehension because Alan Cooper would never advocate the type of UI in question. In that case, book recommendations probably don't matter if UI designers just all think they know better and probably don't even know what HCI stands for.

          • Alan Cooper would never advocate the type of UI in question.

            What kind of UI? The kind where designers watch users having problems with some parts of the design, and fix those parts based on empiric evidence? I think Cooper would advocate that.

            • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

              What kind of UI? The kind where designers watch users having problems with some parts of the design, and fix those parts based on empiric evidence?

              Like I said, UI designers wouldn't even know what HCI stands for. Here's some reading for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]. The principles of HCI not only apply to software UI's but hardware UI's as well. In fact, it started with hardware UI's. Why do you suppose it occurred to software UI developers to create "buttons" that look depressed when you click or have a click event at all? Take a look at your remote control to your TV and see if you can figure it out. By the way, I went to a major sch

    • by reanjr ( 588767 )

      If you can't figure out the icons on the left of the screenshot are clickable, you don't have any business commenting on UI design.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      If you look carefully, all they appear to have done is reinvent the Netscape sidebar. They have a browser window on the right, sidebar with chat client on the left, and some random toolbars around the edge.

      I suppose maybe it's like the old Windows 3.11 MDI interfaces.

  • I prefer the Packard Bell Navigator
  • ... in my browser which is on my desktop?

    Yo dawg!

  • The Opera web browser is multiplatform, however as I have stated in the subject heading Opera Neon is currently available for MS Widows and since I only run Linux I can't really evaluate it and I am not going to fire up a Windows 10 virtual machine just to evaluate it. I am intrigued enough to download it when it becomes available for Linux.

    The split screen feature may be useful like what I find in KDE's Dolphin which is extremely customizable, but then again I can easily fire up Chrome, Konqueror, Firefo

  • ... it looks and feels certainly different. Even its logo is weird. It has quite a few animations and the default layout isn't the typical one.

    I am not in a position to recommend/disadvise it. No idea about its reliability and other actually-relevant-to-me aspects. I am not even sure whether I will use it at all. But it seems that might attract some interest (among young people?) because of being somehow innovative.
    • I downloaded it and evaluated it thoroughly for the entire length of my attention span (about 4.3 minutes).

      I don't see and safety extensions like ad blockers or noscripts.

      I kinda like the side bar and stuff, but I'll stick with armoured Firefox for now.

      • Just to see how it behaves under tough conditions, I went to re-watch a video I saw this morning with another browser + ad-blocker (lots of popups in that site). I was able to play the video without seeing a single popup. But then I started hearing something and realised that the popups were opened in different windows on the background; not perfect, but at least they didn't bother me. Also I looked at its settings and the popups should be blocked (perhaps it stopped some of them, but certainly not all). In
        • Apparently, Opera isn't planning to continue the development of this browser (what they said in their Twitter account), but they might include some of its features in their main product. I think that this isn't a so good idea, because the Neon approach does seem promising to me. I will definitively continue using it as one of my main browsers.

          I know already the kind of tasks which it will be taking care of: web-searches and punctual visits to major pages (e.g., reading a newspaper or watching a Youtube vid
  • 10 years ago, they treated Linux as an equal platform. Not lately.

  • It reminds me of the 90's, when every computer manufacturer put their own "user friendly" interface in front of MS Windows, in an attempt to make the computer simpler for non-technical people to use. I never saw one of these add-ons that was actually better than Generic Windows. The first step after buying a new computer was always, uninstall the manufacturer's crapware.

    This looks like the same kind of nonsense to me.

  • I even threw up a little in my mouth.
    OPs please give a warning about modern UI posts, think of your readers who just ate!
  • But why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hackel ( 10452 ) on Thursday January 12, 2017 @05:59PM (#53656747) Journal

    What advantage is there to having a browser manage its own windows instead of the desktop window manager? It's not like this is new—almost every Windows program used to have a multiple-document interface that let you arrange multiple document windows inside of a primary application window. We moved away from this UI for a reason. It makes no sense. It's duplicating the functionality of the primary GUI and window manager. You can easily achieve the same result using existing tiling window managers and other tools. Is there some actual advantage here that I'm missing?

    • Because windows uses a one size fits all approach, where this program knows that it is specifically dealing only with websites and media modules, and acts accordingly.

      A personal note: I switched to Opera about 8 months ago. Doing my dissertation I would have many, many tabs open concurrently, and really started to notice the memory issues that Chrome has. Since switching I have been really happy with Opera and it is now my main browser. It supports all my usual extensions OOTB and is responsive. I still

  • I just did some tests.
    It's:
    - appears to be a Chromium based fork. Settings menu is almost the same
    - lighter on RAM and CPU than chrome with an adblocker. Tends to be a bit quicker on an ageing setup
    - Chinese owned so probably has to comply with Chinese state requests so if you're trying to keep your data footprint to Google that could be a fail but it's hard to really know huh?
    - crashes a lot. Crashed once just posting this. Crashed on a scripting benchmark
    - not particularly efficient on screen real estate

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