There are three ways to make a tasty dish. You can take everything you consider to be tasty, mix it and throw into boiling oil. It would be fried and even can be tasty. My friend, who came from London to have a pint of beer with me in Kiev, told me about Fried Mars — you have to fry Mars in boiling oil. Someone can even find it tasty, but let’s get back from Mars to Earth. The second way to make a dish is used by chefs in restaurants: you’ll have to know how to cook masterly. But this is the hardest way and not everyone can do it while the first is within everyone’s power. There is one more way where you don’t have to be virtuoso of cooking but still will be able to make a tasty… erm… result ;) Just cook like it’s written in the cookbook!

I’ve just realised that the metaphor would only win if I use cocktails instead of dishes but the I’ll have to get rid of Fried Mars, so let’s leave the things they are.

So, the choice of the way to cook for a person, who just wants to make tasty dinner but isn’t in any way chief cook, is obvious. He or she takes the cookbook and cooks instead of throwing pickles, Skittles, two sausages, vanilla and unagi in boiling oil, expecting for acceptable result.

Impatient readers expecting plusses and minuses of new opera can already start asking: “But what about Opera? Why do you write about cooking?!” As it may not seem so obvious we were talking about the way Opera was made: everything tasty mixed and thrown to fry.

I was never fanatic about Opera. When I used Windows, Opera annoyed me with it’s hyper-care about user (the IE was way better — it just crashed after opening the page). Now, when I am on Mac OS X, I use Safari and I really like it. Even liked Safari 4 beta more then stable release. So if we met with Opera it was not for long and not to make love.

With a little tremor in my chest like before exams or client meeting when you have a strong concept to present, I started Opera!

Impression

They made something to the interface — at least they didn’t draw all (just some) controls themselves. But it still looks weird. Like the main Opera GUI designer said: “What? Mac OS X version? Oh! I’ve heard about it’s interface. Actually, saw that on photo on iPhone of my nephews friend. Pic was kinda blurry but I got the plot. We’ll make it smoooooth. It’s like Windows GUI but buttons on window caption are aligned to left!”

Black panel with trite inset bevel. Looks like designer attended to "Become a professional designer in five days" classes

We’ll discuss the strange black panel later but now let’s try to click the non-obvious icon number one, though nor its’ look neither its’ placement don’t tell us that it can be clicked. When we click on the icon something like another toolbar appears on the left. It is coloured strange and not so obvious too. Clicking on any of the icons there we find out that this is sidebar. Didn’t even expect that ;)

Opera and any other Mac OS X application. Pay attention to the button that shows/hides sidebar in application and icon in Opera

I couldn’t find out how does non-obvious icon number 2 act. It looks like I’ll have to use browser for ages until it becomes enabled (not so greyed, a little bit lighter but not a little bit obvious).

Tabs and something completely different

It is hard for me to remember company name or person’s name. When I am told about a company I try to think of it’s logo to understand what we are talking about. So, the next novelty was made for me: when you roll over your cursor over the tabs, it shows you little previews of pages tabs represent.

It works so slow you can’t just move cursor over tabs. Instead of it you have to place it on the tab and wait. C’mon! I could click it there and back already. By the way the maximum number of sites opened in tab for me was 20. I am clever enough to remember twenty pages I’ve just opened — I switch them using keyboard anyway (⌥→ or ⌥← in Opera). Oh, and Flash sites don’t show in preview.

Another unusable novelty we have is possibility to make that black panel wider with just drag and drop revealing page previews. While all browsers move forward to minimize interface areas like with buttons and tabs Opera goes it’s own way. Now you can fill a big part of your working space with tabs with simple drag of a mouse. Who would need one? It doesn’t scroll if there are many pages what makes previews unreadable.

Other GUI elements

I have a good news for Opera developers — to make a tasty Mac OS X dish use Apple Human Interface Guidelines. The bad news is they didn’t.

Speed Dial is ready to be with you when you open new window or tab. Two indiscernible labels on bottom were supposed to help you understand what is Speed Dial and configure it if you could read them
It is not common for Mac OS X to mark obvious places of resize but if they are marked then dots are used or the things like on the right side of the picture, not Windows-like something
They call it Status Bar because it's for status not for another toolbar. We have one on top side of the window already
As in almost any Mac OS X application you can customize toolbar in Opera you can do the same. Well almost the same. Pay attention to strange window that Opera offers to customize toolbar — not clear for a new user and redundant
Toolbar customization in Safari is just about gragging to buttons you need and dragging out ones you don't.
You can drag buttons in Opera too, but the panel with buttons is not open by default and all buttons sorted by categories (because there are tons of them and I am not sure they are not redundant too) and you have to make a research to find the one you need

Hey, guys in Norway, it might be quite insulting news for you: drop down lists look only one way in Mac OS X and it doesn’t match any of three ways you used in your browser.

Not just drop downs but other elements look different too.

So we won’t visit Opera tonight. Even the visual aspect of new version presentation tells us the browser is still waiting for improvements.

It can’t be coincidence that it almost borrowed form Mac OS X Developers Tools style. What was Hicks role in GUI design any way?

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And here is the answer to my question:

John Hicks discusses new Opera skin (via akella)

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