Vivaldi - Ghost Of Opera's Past

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Roland Taylor
published Jan. 28, 2015, 10:55 a.m.

 Vivaldi, a new take on an old classic.

A new browser is among us, in the form of Vivaldi, and it's all about bring the old to the new.

This is a good thing. I didn't think I'd be saying this about a closed-source, yet-another-browser - browser, but a few minutes in, I'm already impressed.

If, like me, you've been:

  • On the interwebs for long enough
  • A power user for long enough
  • Adventurous

then, quite likely, you're familiar with Opera. No, not the modern, Blink-based Opera, and not the last dredges of Opera 12, which were tasty, but lacking in that modern "umph" all the other browsers have. I'm talking about the Opera of the 90s and early 2000s. The Opera that set the bar so high no one bothered to reach for it. Even Netscape paled in comparison.

Sure, Opera 12 had all those same bells, whistles, and more, but by then, the internet, technology wise, had moved on, and Opera's Presto struggled to keep up.* Opera Software's solution? Scrap Presto (WHY?!) and give in to the Chrome-clone madness. Sure, we got a lighter, faster, more modern Opera, but at the cost of everything that set Opera so far apart from the crowd back in the glory days.

This is why I'm happy to see the birth of Vivaldi. It's aiming to be everything Opera was, without forgetting everything Opera should be. It's not just about throwing in a bunch of great features. User experience is a blend of common sense features and beauty in design. This is where the other attempt to bring back the glory days has failed (Otter, I'm looking squarely at you). Vivaldi actually looks good, and feels good too, and this in a simple tech preview.**

I'll be giving a more in depth look at Vivaldi in a future post, which will be part of something bigger, coming to very soon.

*I'm not talking about standards. Standards are one thing, but user experience is another.

**Yes I know that rhymes, I'm a song writer so it's natural ;)