Comic Update: Opera’s Rough EdgesMonday, November 16th, 2009
When all else fails, I resort to poking a little at Opera in good jest. I take these sort of risks because Oslo is very far away and the last invasion of North America via the Scandinavian peoples was over a thousand years ago. If anything, it’s far safer than my cheap shots at Microsoft, when my town is less than two hours away from Redmond by car.
Today’s comic is one of those little jabs at everyone’s favorite European browser maker. I’ve got issues with Opera that this comic makes light of (while wishing squirrel snogger and Opera employee Bruce Lawson a belated happy birthday). Yes, Opera is a far smoother experience for modern web features than Internet Explorer. That’s not in question. But I’m getting a bit exhausted by the relatively slow adoption speed of CSS3 features by the browser in comparison to the increasingly popular Firefox and Webkit-based browsers.
Rounded corners are, admittedly, largely a non-issue. If visitors using Opera get square corners in a design, I’ve taken steps to ensure it’s at least a good looking square design. It’s an example, though, of a slew of features that Opera’s failing to keep pace with. Due to this lack of universal browser support (in the modern browsers, at least), It is hard for me to sell adoption of these designs to clients when roughly 1% of a customer’s visitors are getting a bad experience as a result.
Take for example, Jonathan Snook’s text-rotation tutorial. It provides a way (via filters) to get even IE to come to the ballgame with producing vertically-oriented text. Everyone, except Opera, can play with this toy. Even if IE couldn’t, thanks to conditional comments, I could provide a fallback solution for that browser. But as Opera lacks such (and I’m not recommending they adopt conditional comments), there’s no way with just CSS to provide an acceptable fallback that makes the browser not create something hideous with the text out of place. (I’ve concocted a JS-based solution, but I don’t want to have to rely on that to get CSS to work).
Opera’s not alone in the modern browser category in being the last to adopt a given feature (I’m looking at you, Firefox), but there’s definitely a lot of seemingly basic CSS3 techniques that the browser’s fallen behind on. Just because you can wait on adoption, gents, doesn’t mean you need to do so. The future isn’t coming any more slowly, and designers will have to jury rig solutions that would be solved much more cleanly with CSS if you’d keep pace.
Or, even worse, there could be more situations such as when I’ve suggested to some people who’s sites don’t have any notable Opera traffic that they just not sweat Opera support at all. With as small a market base as you have, it’d serve you better to keep pace (rather than not sweat the details, as Microsoft can afford due to its market share).
Curious about a browser’s support for various features? Check out When Can I Use.