David Moreau Simard

3 minute read

I’ve been using Google Chrome for a couple years, before that I was using Firefox 3.
My main reason for switching over at the time was the huge difference in browsing speed.

The resource usage of the browsers never really bothered me all that much because I upgraded my hardware frequently.

So, anyway, when I heard that Opera was faster than Chrome - I had to take a look.

I went a bit on the bleeding edge and tried Opera Next (version 19.0.1326.21 at time of writing) which is essentially Opera beta, one version ahead of Opera.
It’s fast, that’s for sure. Faster than Chrome from what I can tell. Which is weird when you are told they use the same engine in the background.

Unfortunately I was put off by the way Opera wants to dictate the user experience.


As far as I can tell, there are no way to import bookmarks from another browser. You can add bookmarks one by one by re-creating them but not import them.

Not one to give up easily, and knowing that Opera shares the same engine as Chrome, I started digging.

Looking at respective application directories, I found that both browsers used the same JSON format for the bookmarks file.

On my macbook, these were located at:

I replaced Opera’s Bookmarks file by Chrome’s, restarted Opera and it worked.
I was then able to convert the bookmarks on my bookmark bar to the “speed dial” format by right clicking on folders and clicking “Save as speed dial folder”. Nifty.

Why can’t I import bookmarks easily from another browser ?
I had to go through this to effectively switch from Chrome to Opera. I’m convinced most users would had already given up.

How would you go from switching from Firefox to Opera ? No clue.

You don’t see the full address in the URL bar

It’s easier to explain with images - you do not see the full URL in the address bar unless you click on it.

Let’s search for “full address in opera” on google.ca.
2014-01-07 06.11.32 pm

2014-01-07 06.11.44 pm

See what I mean ? It hides GET parameters in the URL unless you click and focus the address bar.

It’s kind of annoying because I like to know exactly where I am and what is passed in the URL.

I found this (very) long thread about this design choice: http://my.opera.com/community/forums/topic.dml?id=1769342. Opera justifies themselves on their blog as this feature being a security decision. How am I supposed to take this seriously ? Especially considering there are more emoticons than text in the article.

I eventually stumbled on something called “DNA-8944” in a comment thread which is supposed to implement a setting to enable the Full URL. It’s a JIRA ticket and we do not have access to their interface to check on the status. I tweeted @opera about an update and haven’t heard back.

I’m a strong believer that you can’t please all users. You add features, you remove features, your decisions will never please everyone.

But if you’re going to add and remove features, please add a setting toggle to them on or off.

Back to Chrome for the time being.