I feel my conversion to Opera got more steam today, with the news of their ads gone for good now. Still, converring from a familiar environment to a non-familiar one is always a hassle. More, the less your destination environment does to mimic the feel of your source environment. So, I downloaded Opera 8.50, and played around a little. There are lots of goodies to be found, scattered in-between the lack of basics that you would have expected to find -- still a very mixed impression, in other words. I think I'd need to work a bit side by side with an already converted Opera fan, or better still, an Opera developer or (geeky) early adopter.
Ctrl+j brings forth a very nice view of all links on the page, where you quickly filter out everything but the links whose link text or target address matches (any substring) what you type. Just to start typing what you want, and when the list is short enough, tap tab to focus the link and enter to go there. (The Links view remains in a background tab rather than go away now, to my very slight irritation, but perhaps it's configurable, and either way it's a very minor nuisance.) Another very neat use case is when browsing an image gallery or directory listing, type "jpg" , tap tab, shift-End (to mark all occurrences) and Enter, and they're all loaded into a set of tabs in one fell swoop. Very neat. My brain expects tab switching to go on Ctrl+Page Up/Down, but by default it's on 1/2 (numeric pad or main keyboard).
You can switch key bindings more or less easily in the preferences views, but I think I'll try to learn living with the Opera default of using Ctrl+Page Up/Down as Page Left/Right and try to like it. (Ctrl+Home/End does not analogously move to the far left/right, though. Boring.)
Come so far I get Emacs itches, wanting to set up custom keyboard shortcuts to my own bookmarklet navigational aids with cushy key bindings, something I admittedly haven't done in Firefox yet (how do you do that?), but don't manage to find out how that would be done in Opera, either (how do you do that?). Why hasn't this been a basic additional field "keyboard shortcut" in the bookmark edit page of all browsers since the dawn of the web? Hm. An old bugzilla feature request ticket on the subject has been rotting away since the dawn of the millennium. At least now it has my vote on it, too.
It seems Opera allows for a more or less easy way of adding custom interface buttons, though not with keyboard shortcuts, from what I can see. (Why does every BlogThis! link work with pop up windows?! Mine, custom crafted now on the spot for this occasion, does not. Opera users should be able to click-and-install it, just like on the page linked above.)
Enough ranting and exploration for now. Back at home in Firefox land with my 'old fart user interface behaving as I expect it to. Which admittedly is often "rather badly", but at least I'm accustomed to how. :-)