Innovations by Opera

A list of the most significant innovative features in the Opera browser. Features must have been unique for Opera (amongst web browsers) at some point to be listed.

Listed features should preferably include which year the feature was introduced in Opera, in which version and a short description. Things like "paste and go" are obviously no innovations.

MultiTorg Opera — 1994

MDI Interface

Browsing many pages in one single window. This was one of the core features of the first version of Opera.

Multi-page, or tabbed browsing has become all the rage; with everyone and their pet Chihuahua getting in on the act.

RAM Cache

Caching of pages and certain media in RAM instead of caching everything on disk.

Copied by NoTrax?.

Opera 2 — 1996

Zoom

Proportional full page scaling from 20% to 1000%.

Copied by an IE shell, Maxthon.
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Sessions

Allows the user to save, open and insert sessions. A session includes the adress to all pages, the position of all windows, and how much the user have scrolled on the pages. Opera can autosave sessions and automatically restore them when starting Opera next time (even from a crash).

Copied by a Firefox extension and an IE shell(?).
Now built in to Firefox's core.

Opera 3 — 1998

Nicknames

Aliases for search pages or bookmarks. E.g. "g icecream" to search on Google for Icecream.

UserCSS

UserCSS allows the user to manipulate the style of web pages by applying their own style sheets on top of the pages style. This is very useful for improving accessability, filtering content (ads), fixing broken web pages and for web developers.

Unknown if/when this feature was copied.

Opera 4 — 2000

Clear private data

Handy tool used to easy delete private data of certain types (history, cookies, cache, ... ).

Duplicated in at least Firefox and a bunch of Internet Explorer shells.

Opera 5 — 2000

Mouse gestures

Control your browser through mouse movements.

Nowadays available as extensions in Firefox and in Internet Explorer shells like Avant Browser.

Integrated search

Easily search Google or other search engines via a field in the browser interface.

Copied by most browsers including lots of browser extensions like Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer.

Pop-up Blocking

Block annoying Pop-up windows.

Improvements were made in Opera 6 and 7.

Opera 6 - 2001

Small Screen Rendering (2002)

Displaying WWW sites on small screens in handheld devices.

In desktop version of Opera available since Opera 7.0.

Opera 7 — 2003

Fast Forward

Fast Forward will detect the most likely "next page" link and greatly simplify navigation in multi-page documents.

Now available as an Firefox extension.

Spatial Navigation

Allows SHIFT+arrow keys to move the focus of links depending on their spatial position not the page structure. A great feature for navigating a page.

Firefox developers and evangelists have finally got round to realising its value, and seem rather excited over it.

Opera 8 — 2005

Fit to window width

Ability to fit a web page to browser window width and remove horizontal scrollbars.

Voice navigation

Talk to your browser to navigate pages. A great feature for people with disabilities. Opera can also speak back the content of pages.

User Javascript

UserJS is a powerful feature allowing infinite possibilities to change the content of webpages. Though the creation of javascripts must be done by power users, installation of UserJS scripts is painless for normal users.

Actually, the GreaseMonkey plug-in existed for Firefox before UserJS was "publically" implemented in Opera (though the mechanism was there), but Opera's implementation was thought of independently. It is also more powerful and tightly integrated to Opera's core engine.

Browser Javascript (8.01)

Browser JavaScript is a feature that allows Opera to automatically fix incompatible Web pages, out of date scripts, and pages that inadvertently block Opera. The script file is automatically distributed by Opera Software ASA, and can be used to apply fixes to specific Web sites, and specific scripts.

Browser JavaScript respects your JavaScript preferences, and will not be loaded if JavaScript is disabled.

Opera 9 — 2006

BitTorrent support

Operas became the first web browser to handle a peer-to-peer protocol when Opera 9 was released with built-in support for BitTorrent files. This is a logical addition to a browser which already supports HTTP and FTP downloads.

Widgets

A platform for running widgets - small, chromeless programs - is included in Opera. This builds on its support for AJAX technologies.

Opera 9.20 — 2007

Speeddial

A blank start page with a preview of preconfigured websites often visited

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