I’ve been using Opera as my primary browser off and on for several years, now. I just keep coming back to it, primarily because of its speed. I’ve been using the Opera 10 Alpha for a number of weeks, and the biggest problem I have with it is some quirky things in the Gmail email composer. Other than that, it has been rock solid.
For some reason, Opera 10 (and 9…and 8…) and Gmail’s editor have not gotten along nicely, since, like, ever. Hit return inside the “compose” box, and you go two lines down, hit return again, and you’re now down into the reply text. Frustrating when I want to fire off a quick email, but not insurmountable.
I have gone back to Firefox a number of times, including trying out the 3.1 Beta, because I love Firefox’s many features—particularly the huge and active addons community, which has produced some items that have made web development much easier and more productive. Recently, Opera has released an alpha of their Dragonfly development tool, which gives me many of the tools that I have grown accustomed to having under Firefox.
There are some other browsers out there, too. I’ve tried out Google’s Chrome, and it’s pretty good; also, Safari (for Windows), but its feel is different enough to make me slightly uncomfortable. One fairly small thing that gets to me about Safari is that the “back” and “forward” buttons on my mouse don’t work. Also, it tends to crash on my Windows XP machine. There’s one other browser whose popularity can only be explained by people’s unwillingness or inability to try other offerings.
I preview sites that I develop in every major browser to be sure that it at least has basic functionality, with pixel-perfect-pretty on whichever one or two I am targeting for a specific site. It just so happens that Opera is the browser that runs fastest and best keeps out of my way so that I can get my own personal browsing done.
To sum up, Opera is just blazing fast. As sites get better about supporting it, the experience just gets better and better for me. It’s kind of painful to go back to Firefox after running Opera for a while, because Opera is just so much faster.