My father E-mailed me two days ago about a site that wasn't shown well in Opera. My sister complained yesterday that she couldn't file an Icelandic tax return with Opera 8.
It's quite fun to see the whole family join in the hunt for sites that fail in Opera 🙂 . But the problem itself isn't remotely funny, broken sites are a serious annoyance.
We have worked for years on making Opera better at rendering bad code. Why are so many sites still failing in Opera while working in Internet Explorer?
Many sites fail because they see the name "Opera" and disable their features. The tax man was taking a more elaborate approach – must be an occupational hazard – they disabled their site because they were expecting to see the word Opera and the number 7. Opera 8 is of course an even better browser than 7, and I'd expect some arithmetic skills from a tax man, but no joy.. Perhaps we should have launched Opera 7+14.28% to be compliant with the Icelandic tax office's website?
There is no such single change that could fix the sites that fail today.. except perhaps not reporting the name "Opera". And to make matters even more complicated, many sites detect the name "Opera" and send us better code. If we stopped sending the name "Opera" to sites, it would fix most of the currently broken ones – and break many of the currently working ones..
For example: atomfilms.com never worked with Opera. We have repeatedly contacted them about the simple change that would make it work. Since they never solved the problem..I've just done so. And if the tax man wants to see Opera 7+14.28% – well, that's not a problem anymore either!
Some questions and answers about the new functionality:
Q: How do I turn it on?
A: It is off by default because it is an experimental feature, but we appreciate feedback from technically minded users. To enable it, open your Opera6.ini – file in your profile folder and add
below [User Prefs]. Then choose "Help > Check for new release" to get the latest version of the script.
Q: Does this compromise my privacy?
A: No, Opera does not tell us what sites you visit. The same list of fixes is sent to everyone running a specific version of Opera.
Q: Must I keep upgrading Opera to get the latest fixes?
A: Version 8.01 and above will install new fixes automatically without you having to do anything.
In the future, some fixes may only be issued for the very latest version. Opera will always tell you when a new version is available.
Q: Does Opera really change a site before showing it to the user? Aren't there any copyright- or legal problems with that?
A: Every browser tries to work with the bad code on the net. This is just one more way we try to show the site as the webmaster intends it.
Q: I'm a webmaster. Can I prevent Opera from patching my site?
A: Yes, if it is Opera-compatible in the first place there is no need to patch it 🙂 .
If you want to discuss a patch that is being applied you can contact us, through the browser.js documentation page.
Q: I know a broken site. How can I ask you to fix it?
A: Do the following
1) Go to the page in Opera
2) Choose "Help > Report site problem"
That's it. We review these reports for problems that can be fixed. I can't promise an instant fix but we'll do our best.