Update (July 17, 2006 3:00PM): Right, so the day after I wrote about widget auto-discovery, we go and release a new service to make any newsfeed into a widget. Details below. I knew I used version numbers instead of simple integers for a reason.
Back in March, Opera Software launched a monthly newsletter called Opera Bits. Some times I run across bits of information that don't quite make a full blog post, but certainly deserve a mention. So, I'll be running my own semi-monthly Opera Bits. And it's time for the first issue:
First, if you haven't already heard about Greased Lightbox, you should check it out. It's a user script "designed to enhance browsing on websites that link to images such as Google Image Search, Flickr, Wikipedia, Facebook, MySpace, and deviantART." After it's installed, you just click on an image and the full-sized version loads on screen. Press ESC or click the page and you'll get back to the original page.
Here's how to get it working:
Note: You'll need Opera 8.0 or later.
- Create a folder on your hard drive where you'll save the script. I usually have lots of Opera installs, so I have an "Opera" folder ("C:\Program Files\Opera\" on Windows and "/Applications/Opera/" on Mac) and I place a "User JS" folder inside that folder. This is simple way to collect all your Opera-related stuff in a single place.
- Download/save the script to that folder.
- Now, go back to the Greased Lightbox page (it may be necessary to reload the page) and click on one of the example images at the bottom.
- Web-based e-mail accounts are all the rage these days; everyone seems to be using Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, SquirrelMail, etc. Unfortunately, it's not clear how get to your webmail account when you click on a "mailto" link on the Web in Opera. Rijk has put together a guide you can use to get your favorite webmail account working with Opera. Further instructions are on Rijk's page.
Since Opera 9.0 passed the Acid2 test back in March, there's been a sprinkling of reports from users that their version of Opera didn't pass. This has been widely publicized recently by The WaSP, as well as various blogs.
After analyzing the problem reports, we've found no reason to believe that our claim was incorrect. Mark Wilton-Jones (a Technical Writer at Opera Software) has put together a comprehensive guide to the Acid2 test, which includes detailed information refutting the problem reports. In all reported cases we've analyzed, the observed failures were related to non-default preferences—which invalidate the test—or misconceptions about the way the test works.
While not (currently) specifically stated in the Acid2 guide, the Acid2 test is meant to be tested using a browser's default settings. The following preferences are the most common causes of apparent failure:
- View > Fit to width. This is an advanced rendering mode that purposefully breaks standards to allow Web pages to remain usable at various screen widths. This includes ignoring or changing some styles defined for a page, which invalidates the test.
- View > Small screen. As with "Fit to width", this is an advanced rendering mode that purposefully breaks standards to make Web pages work better on small screens. This includes ignoring or changing some styles defined for a page, which invalidates the test.
- View > Full screen. Opera's full screen mode uses styles written for "projection" media types (such as slide shows) by default, though it does fall back to styles written for "screen" media types (such as Desktop computers) if no "projection" media types are found. While this does not seem to adversely affect the Acid2 test, the test is meant for user agents that support the "screen" media type.
- View > Images > Cached images or View > Images > No images. The Acid2 test uses images to represent the eyes, thus if they are disabled, the test is invalid. Opera has a bug that is visible in the test when re-enabling images or showing only cached images, but that in no way means Opera does not pass the test. Remember, the test is only valid when used with a browser's default preferences.
- View > Zoom. Zooming a Web page changes the way that text and images interact. When the Acid2 test is zoomed in Opera, some red artifacts may appear around the eyes. This is a bug in the way that Opera handles rounding of values while zooming, but it in no way means that Opera does not pass the test. Again, changing the zoom preference to anything other than 100% invalidates the test as it changes the browser's default parameters.
- Preferences > Advanced > Fonts > Minimum font size. The Acid2 test specifies certain elements using pixel units. If the minimum font size is raised from its default, the pixel-unit elements are too large compared to other elements, making the test distorted and invalid. Default preferences....
- View > Style. Using any setting other than "Author mode" or applying your fonts, colors, styles, etc. in "Author mode" changes the style cascade used in the test, thus invalidating the test.
Other reported problems with the Acid2 test in Opera have to do with misconceptions about how the test works:
- Some people believe that the Acid2 test shouldn't scroll when you use a mouse scroll wheel, keyboard arrows, or other scrolling mechanisms because the test doesn't have a scroll bar. If the test is scrolled, parts of the face fall apart. Mark Wilton-Jones has already done all the necessary research about this and published it in his comprehensive Acid2 guide. The gist is that the test should not show a scroll bar, but whether the test should scroll when using one of the above methods is not defined in the W3C CSS specification and is not part of the test.
- Some people believe that changing the browser screen width should not change the test. When you make your screen smaller after the test is rendered, two pieces of the face detach (the same pieces that detach when scrolling). This behavior is not defined in any W3C specification. Changing the screen width changes the width of certain elements, which can cause the page to scroll, leading to the same problem mentioned above.
The last two Opera 9.01 weekly builds have included a bunch of nice IMAP fixes that weren't fully described in the changelogs. First, we did some major optimizations when changing the flags (Read, Deleted, etc.) of multiple messages. Previously, we would send two commands to the server for every message we wanted to mark as read, unread, deleted, or undeleted. Now, we send one command for all messages. So, if you were changing 200 messages before, we'd send 400 commands to the server. Now, we send just 1.
Additionally, we fixed some bugs related to randomly redownloading groups of messages, made it possible to permanently delete single messages from the Trash view (previously they'd reappear) rather than forcing users to permanently delete all messages, and fixed some problems with messages not being removed from a view when they were moved or deleted. Overall, the IMAP experience with the current 9.01 weekly build is much better than with Opera 9.0 final.
Arve recently wrote about using widget auto-discovery, which makes Opera 9.0+ show a widget icon in the address bar when viewing your site. This feature should only be used for widgets that display an RSS/Atom feed of your site. Hot on the heels of Arve's article, the Opera Community now allows blog authors to automatically create a widget of their blog and advertise it via auto-discovery. Spiffy.
Update: And hot on the heels of the Opera Community announcement, we've released Widgetize!, a service to generate widgets for just about any newsfeed. Simply go through the wizard and it'll give you a URL to your very own widget. Spiffy × 2.
I've Widgetized! Have you?
I hope you've enjoyed this (updated) issue of Tim's Opera Bits. See you next time.