Many developers recommend Firefox for web development for a variety of reasons. But, after looking at Opera, it seems to me that Opera has all of the same web development functionality that Firefox has built into it. So what is wrong with Opera for web development?

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    This question reads like a sales pitch from Opera, and as such, it's not constructive. Consider rewording it to be impartial so as to allow others to provide answers that aren't immediately defensive. – user8 Oct 5 '10 at 1:46
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    @Mark I agree about this. So I removed the line that was making the rest of it look bad. I feel that the rest of what I wrote is not selling Opera as much as It is trying to make a statement about the FF mentality. If we get stuck using one browser blindly without question, we will never know what may be better for development. – Metropolis Oct 5 '10 at 15:38
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    @Mark somehow I think its you that is getting defensive. Since you just completely rewrote my post. I just said that I edited it, I am not sure why that was not good enough. I may as well delete the question now since its not mine. This is supposed to be an open discussion forum is it not? If I had a definite question I would ask it on SO. – Metropolis Oct 5 '10 at 15:44
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    @Mark Im not sure how my original question was not benefiting the community. Nobody who has answered this yet has thrown a fit about the question except for you. And as long as people are openly discussing the question, I think thats helping the community. – Metropolis Oct 5 '10 at 15:53
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    @Metropolis: please read the FAQ. There are concrete criteria for determining if a question is constructive. The question you have asked has been preserved; your rationale for your answer to the question has been removed. Add it as answer. – user8 Oct 5 '10 at 15:57

I think any browser you like to work in is the right browser to work in. I like Chrome--I think its developer interface is very nice indeed.

Problem is, a very compliant browser is going to fool you when you switch to a less-compliant one (lookin at you, Internet Explorer). Things will be building nicely, and then your boss will look at it on IE6 and it'll be a calamity. So you've got to at least be looking very frequently at your work the browser that's simultaneously most popular and most breakage-prone.

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    Agreed Dan. Its always been funny to me that the most standards compliant browsers happen to be the ones with the most display problems because programmers do not check them, even though they happen to be the most "correct". So in this case you get penalized for trying to be "correct", heh. – Metropolis Sep 29 '10 at 20:42

That's a good point about Opera, and it has been highly-rated whenever I have heard about it.

However, it may be best to test your sites in the browser(s) that your customers will be using most often. Internet Explorer seems to have the hardest time handling websites, and developing in IE means that you'd see more bugs before your customers do. Hitting F12 in Internet Explorer brings up the IE developer tools, which is very similar to Firebug and has nice Javascript debugging.

  • Right, you always need to check in the other major browsers besides the fact. I do not like IE's dev tools at all. One thing that pisses me off more than anything is when you reload the page and it does not bring you back into the DOM in the location you were looking at before reloading it. It also sucks with ajax, and does not show CSS changes in the DOM. – Metropolis Sep 29 '10 at 20:45

I'm an "opera lover" and it's my browser of choice. I think the main problem with using it for web development is the rather perverse fact that it has probably the best standards compliance and hence when you view a site created primarily for Opera in IE it often looks different due to IE's poor compliance. The fact that most people (clients particularly, it seems) use IE as their primary (often only) browser compounds this.

  • I agree Dan. That is why I am wondering why so few people use it. I have used FF for a very long time without question, and it is great for development. But now after using Opera I am trying to figure out if programmers have just never tried it. – Metropolis Oct 5 '10 at 16:21
  • @Metropolis - I think you are right - many people have just never tried it and don't know what they are missing. – Dan Diplo Oct 5 '10 at 18:44

The main reason I stick with Firefox rather than Opera is that this is what the Firefox bug tracking system looks like, and this is what the Opera one looks like - when something's not working and I'm sure it's not my fault I like to be able to read (and contribute to) a discussion about it.

Incidentally, one reason why I prefer Firefox to Chrome is that I spend a significant amount of time trying to do web development on trains with no network connection, and Chrome has this issue.

  • I have yet to come up to a bug in Opera or FF that has required me to go to their bug tracking systems. – Metropolis Sep 30 '10 at 15:22
  • @Metropolis Just one example: superuser.com/questions/20084/… – robertc Sep 30 '10 at 16:52
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    I am just not sure that I would pick a browser based on its bug tracking functionality. – Metropolis Oct 5 '10 at 16:37
  • @Metropolis I'm not suggesting you do, the question is about browsers for web development, not browsers for general use – robertc Oct 5 '10 at 22:59

If you’re working on the front-line of web development you’d realise you don’t have the luxury of choosing the best browser. Corporates don't pay you build websites and intranets to browsers you like. The facts are simple, Windows: IE, Firefox MAC: Safari, Firefox. You can't support every browser unless specified by the client. Time costs money thus you need to select the most popular browsers on the most popular platforms. If any web developer had a choice, would they seriously support IE? It’s a simple fact of economics; it’s got nothing do with which browser is better.

Also Metropolis W3 School statistics are not a true representation of browser usage. W3 Schools visitors aren’t the general public, its techies. I’ve never seen a statistic before where Firefox is the number one browser? Obviously the general public have suddenly converted on mass to Firefox, interesting.

  • +1 about the w3c statistics. You are correct, but I was really just trying to get the point across that if you are going to test in Safari, theres no reason you should not test in Opera also. – Metropolis Oct 5 '10 at 16:47

Opera, Chrome and IE 8+ all have good development tools built in to them; I think that the days of saying that Firefox is the best because of Firebug are mainly over.

Firefox still does have the most mature eco system of extensions. I do most of my development in Google Chrome nowadays, but there are still a few tasks, like managing Amazon servers via ElasticFox, that I find myself doing in Firefox. (Chrome's catching up on the extension front; Opera and IE still lag behind.)

Also, a comment on some of the other answers: there's a big difference between the browsers you test in and the browser you spend time in when you're developing. You should absolutely be doing testing and QA in every browser that you possibly can (I have a virtual machine or two running with various versions of various browsers installed). But there's no reason to be masochistic and spend your time developing in a browser that you don't like; if you find yourself running into too many surprises when testing, you probably need to improve your code, rather than switch the browser you're developing with.


Besides ordinary surfing (Opera is my default browser) I also use the options to very quickly enable/disable CSS/JavaScript/Plugins (via F12 or menu buttons) to see if my sites degrade properly. Opera also has a good print preview (to check print-styles).

But if I need to debug something DOM related (CSS, JS) I switch to Firefox, using Firebug. Opera's developer tool "Dragonfly" isn't only much to slow, but it also connects to an Opera server each time I open it, this is a pain.


I'm using constantly Opera, Safari, Firefox and Chrome for web development (switching each two-three days). It helps me to find early browser specific issues.

As of Opera, things are getting better. For example even a year ago I won't advice anybody use Opera ad main development browser. Nowadays now Dragonfly looks pretty mature.

But I still belive that firefox is most comfortable tool.


Chances are, you have a list of browsers that the site needs to work "correctly" in.

And chances are, Opera is not on that list (I've never had a client ask for it - I'm not sure I've ever had a client that would even have heard of it).

So, using Firefox for development generally means "develop in Firefox, then test in IE and Safari". Using Opera would mean "develop in Opera, then test in IE, Safari and Firefox." Just means more work for you to do.

  • Have you ever looked at the market share on w3cschools? Safari owns 1% more than Opera. That is a false statement. If you are going to be testing in Safari, you should also be testing in Opera, and visa versa. Not to mention, it does not really matter what a client asks for. What if they start using Opera next year? – Metropolis Oct 1 '10 at 13:31
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    Sorry, what's a false statement? I don't recall ever making any statements regarding the relative market share of Safari and Opera. My only statement of fact was that I have never had a client ask for Opera as one of the "must work" browsers for a site they were commissioning. True statement. As for it "not really mattering" what a client asks for, I can only assume you've never worked in an agency environment. If the client starts using Opera next year, and it turns out that a site that works in Firefox and IE8 fails in Opera (unlikely), then the client can pay to have it fixed. – Carson63000 Oct 4 '10 at 23:24
  • Awesome, make the client spend more money. Very ethical, and efficient. – Metropolis Oct 5 '10 at 15:49
  • You think it's ethical to bill the client for the time you spend tweaking a site to make it look just right on your own personal favourite browser, when they have explicitly given you a list of browsers they want you to support - and it doesn't include ones with ~1% market share? – Carson63000 Oct 5 '10 at 22:48
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    I think your programs should look the same in all major browsers, and validate, to ensure that you/your company does not end up wasting more money in the long run. Do it right the first time should be the motto. – Metropolis Oct 6 '10 at 13:17

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