10 years

February 2001. Opera 5.02 was the current Opera release, 5.10 was being worked on. The ECMAScript engine was called "linear A" (to be followed by linear B, Futhark and Carakan). And JΓ³na BjΓΆrk, head of Opera's customer service department hired a new employee with the hard-to-spell name Hallvord.

That makes ten years. A long time in tech, a milestone to mark – yet it doesn't seem that long ago really..

I thought I'd post some stats, for a dry and geeky anniversary celebration..

  • Support requests replied to: over 10 000 (the old support system is no longer used, so I can't say exactly)
  • Bugs reported: 1306. My first bug report was filed on 2001-08-10, the oldest bug still open is CORE-19, "Saving JavaScript-generated pages doesn't work", reported 2001-10-03. It's a bit of a corner case, so I'm not surprised it's not fixed yet. Apparently quite a few of my bugs are resolved though:
    (I should go have a look at the seven "inactive" ones shortly..)
  • Bugs I'm CCed on, watching or QA Contact for: 13640. Here's a chart of the ones I'm CCed on:
    New, examined and (if I have time) inactive are basically on the QA team's table for analysis. There is some work to do.. πŸ™‚
  • Sick days: none. According to the system tracking such things, I haven't been ill for ten years. Wow! 😎 It's not entirely true, but because I choose to work part-time, Opera gives me such flexible hours, and I work from home about 1/3 of my time anyway, I've always been able to catch up with the hours I should work.

What has changed in 10 years? The web has of course changed enormously. But, as they say, the more things change the more they stay the same. Opera retains its peculiar blend of stunning excellence and stunning shortcomings. It has more users than ever but in certain important markets still isn't counted as a serious contender.

Lowlights:

  • Every released bug, especially bad regressions in a new, shiny something.00 release.
  • Switching to Maconomy's ERP system. The older homegrown time reporting system may have had its limitations, but at least it was simple and fast. What was even worse than having to use the new system: shortly after we started using their ERP, the Maconomy corporation was advertising all over Oslo Airport that Opera was their customer. I hated every single ad :(.
  • Browser sniffing. Say no more.

Highlights:

  • User JavaScript. Advanced and semi-advanced users have a lot of power at their fingertips here. I argued long ago that we should develop User JS into something more powerful, but didn't really have time to push for it back then. Now it finally happened with the Extensions support, where User JS is one of the major components.
  • Implementation of browser.js. It was spec'ed and implemented pretty quickly, mainly to fix the dynamic menu on sony.com. They used at the time a menu script called Ultimate Dropdown Menu, and one of its features was to fall back to a plain UL/LI based HTML version if the script didn't work. Unfortunately, UDM 4.3 contained browser sniffing that only worked with Opera 7 and failed with Opera 8. The menu appeared as an unstyled list, pushing all the actual site content several screens down – not a pretty sight – and it was next to impossible to get through to anyone at Sony who could do the simple upgrade to UDM 4.4. This kicked the discussed browser.js to the top of the priority pile, and I guess neither web developer James Edwards aka brothercake nor Sony's web master knows what influence they had on Opera 8.01's feature set.
  • Taking web compatibility more and more seriously. With all the sniffing and broken code on the web it's both natural and tempting to point fingers when users have problems, but it's way more productive to realise that there is also a considerable pile of problems that are caused by bugs or choices we could change. Today we have a more systematic approach to bugs that break major sites than ever before. It still has a bit of a whack-a-mole feeling but we also know that the dead moles are piling up. Hey, if I wasn't an optimist by nature, I probably wouldn't still be doing this job after ten years.. πŸ˜‰

Finally: thanks for using Opera some or all of those years, thereby making all that hard work possible :D. And if any readers aren't using it yet, go get it.

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29 thoughts on “10 years

  1. Congratulations Hallvord!I thought I was CC'ed on a lot of bugs but I don't feel so bad now!Really interesting to read your highlights – I hope there are many more over the next 10 years.

  2. Your posts are always interesting, the work you do is great and I'm sure you're a nice guy. Let's hope for a second ten years, only more awesome πŸ™‚

  3. Originally posted by FataL:

    Resolved not always means fixed though.

    Certainly not, a number of them will be duplicate, worksforme and even invalid. Seeing high numbers of closed bugs makes me happy nevertheless πŸ˜‰

  4. By the way, I forgot one highlight:When a built-in "search" feature was added to our previous bug tracker!Before that I was "searching" with a custom form that used JavaScript to create an SQL query when filled in (our old Bugzilla instance accepted SQL WHERE statements in the query string). Apparently the server's support for such random SQL was considered a bit brittle, so the sysadmin wasn't entirely happy about my JS hacking. I may or may not have brought the bug tracker down a couple of times..

  5. Originally posted by hallvors:

    Before that I was "searching" with a custom form that used JavaScript to create an SQL query when filled in (our old Bugzilla instance accepted SQL WHERE statements in the query string). Apparently the server's support for such random SQL was considered a bit brittle, so the sysadmin wasn't entirely happy about my JS hacking. I may or may not have brought the bug tracker down a couple of times..

    I just love such stories πŸ˜€

  6. Congrats! here's to 10 more years!Those graphs look like you've updated to the latest version of Jira. What do you think? It's very ajaxy. I'm still making up my mind about it. It is web 2.0-y but I'm not sure I appreciate the speed hit.

  7. fearphage, we're not currently using the latest version of Jira, so I'm not sure if the one we're using is the ajaxy one you have in mind πŸ˜‰

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