Why Opera switching to Blink (WebKit) was the blunder of a century

Despite the fact that the switch to the Blink rendering engine was supposed to be an “under the hood” change, it’s clear that this switch is in fact a total rewrite. None of the Opera exclusive features have made it into Opera Next. It doesn’t matter how good you remake the browser, the current users want their old work flow. It will probably take several years to partially re-implement the features that the old version had. In the end, those features will not be delivered hundred percent even years down the line. Current 12.x users will keep using 12.x for as long as they can, which means that eventually it’s going to become a legacy browser that will no longer be supported by major JS frameworks. The newest Opera versions will still be largely a UI for Chromium.

I believe this fits under what Joel Spolsky wrote in Things You Should Never Do, Part I. Opera is throwing away the entire Presto engine. That means they won’t be able to differentiate themselves from Chrome for several years, which means that Opera users will have the option between a soon-to-be-legacy browser and basically Chromium with a different UI.

What is the benefit of using Opera 15 over just plain Chromium? Because they removed some features like bookmarks people are supposed to change how they work to accommodate the opinion of some guy who thought this was a good idea? I don’t even care if the new feature is a hundred times better than bookmarks, people know how to use bookmarks so they want their bookmarks. The reason why people tend not to switch to a new browser is because they are so used to the UI and features their browser has that it makes it difficult. Opera Link keeps your bookmarks synced, but there is no way to transfer them to Opera 15. This means that there is no continuity to the new browser, so Opera effectively killed Opera 12.x and started from scratch. They will have to fight with EVERY other browser maker for their desktop market share because it’s just as hard to switch to Opera 15 as it is to switch to Firefox. You have none of your search engines, bookmarks, customized UI/menus, shortcuts, custom mouse gestures, etc.

The correct thing for Opera Software to do was to open source Presto so that the development could keep up with Blink and Gecko. What Opera Software has done instead is to become irrelevant.

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