Last minor update: 15 July 2003
I see Opera 5 and 6 as one intermediary browser sharply differing from both the atrocious Opera 4 and the excellent Opera 7.
Instead of releasing Opera 4.03, Opera has given its new release a new version number. Opera 5 was the first version that was completely free, as long as you put up with the ads. Since you can select your ads preferences yourself, this just may be a good idea and people may actually like the browser. Of course, you can still pay to get rid of the ads.
A year later Opera upgraded to 6. Although I'm not entirely sure if a new major version was called for, Opera 6 is better than 5. The user interface has been upgraded, it is now also possible to use multiple windows, as most other browsers do. You can also stick to the old way and keep all Opera windows in one. In my opinion the design is much more 'Maccy' (not a bad thing).
The minor security bug that I found in Opera 4 has been solved in Opera 5.02 . Now it is as safe as Netscape 6: you cannot read out or change anything in frames or windows that contain pages from another server.
Opera 5 once again recognizes
NAME's of form fields, so form validating scripts work once again. Sensible
decision! It can handle my example Window manipulation script.
Also Opera 5 supports a lot more
inline event handlers than before.
It even focuses on a popup, something Opera until now steadfastily refused to do. However, versions before 5.12 had an obscure error that made them crash on the View Location link in my direct writing example. I filed a report on this bug, it has disappeared.
In addition, Opera has added a very handy property that allows you to detect Opera 5 with 100% certainty:
if (window.opera) // browser is Opera, do something
Does not work in lower Opera versions, but it's very useful in separating Opera from other W3C DOM compatible browsers.
Although Opera 5 supports the W3C DOM and neither of the proprietary ones, it should be clear that it doesn't support the entire W3C DOM, but only enough to offer DHTML access to web developers. Its DHTML functionality is now somewhere in between Netscape 4 and Explorer 4. For Opera, this is a major step forward. Better still, everything seems to actually work without fuss.
visibilitystyle Opera gives it in upper case, which confused my display and visibility test script. I solved it by setting the value
page.html#myanchor') in links. Very annoying.
printing a page is now possible, and the support of all
offset properties .
Further testing proved that general event handlers (like
document.onmousedown = functionname;)
are present in Opera 6 and have been integrated earlier (I haven't been paying enough attention
to say exactly in which version). Strangely the
Image protection does not work correctly: the script fires only
on a normal single left click, which is the only kind of click that should be allowed. I'm not yet sure
if this is an Opera bug or my mistake.
Opera 6 does recognize hashes in links, but only when you use
[link element].hash. It
doesn't turn up in
[link element].href. Still buggy.
Opera has clearly taken much trouble to make its browser more Microsoft compatible. Support for the
document.all DOM has been added and also in event handling Opera 6 supports many Microsoft
property names (though also the W3C ones).
Style sheet support is excellent, as usual, although Opera 5 and 6 still don't support
is high on my personal wish list because it's the only important style declaration from the Version 4 browsers
that's still missing.
See the Opera Omnibus for some nice Opera-only CSS bugs.
As said before, Opera is busy extending itself to other operating systems than Windows. Beta 5 of the Mac version has been released.
Opera on Mac was the first release to support general event handlers so that my image protection script worked fine. Unfortunately this has changed in beta 5: the script now only works on a left-click, while that should be the only case in which it should not work. I'm not yet sure if this is my fault or a browser bug.
The focus problems with form fields have been fixed and the Date and time bug that made Opera run one hour in advance of system time is gone, too (though daylight saving time may also be involved, and my previous test was in summer).
On the other hand the eternal problem of Dynamic options have not been solved yet: now the script works but you have to hide the select box before the changes take effect.
CSS: All text is being displayed smaller than the CSS definition calls for.
I have the feeling that this problem is being addressed, the text seems to be larger than in the previous beta.
Unfortunately the release of Safari caused Opera to cut back on its Mac activities. It seems Opera 6 will be the last Mac release.
In general the Linux beta still has the minor bugs the Windows version used to have (like not allowing a focus on a popup).
Opera 6 Linux has one strange bug: my
Banner rotation script works much too fast: banners are being
switched several times per second. Obviously this should be a
setTimeout() problem, but it isn't
(at least, not a simple one), since my
Sticky menu script, which also heavily relies on timeouts,
works fine. Strange case...