Building browsers! #Web30

  • Vivaldi Team

    As the World Wide Web turns 30, we ask one of its pioneers – Vivaldi founder Jon von Tetzchner – to take us back to his early days of building web browsers.

    Click here to see the full blog post

  • Moderator

    Thanks for sharing this story! If more companies cared about putting users absolutely first I imagine the web would be a completely different place right now.

  • I remember reading the Opera history article on MyOpera.

    "In memory of Geir Ivarsøy. Copyright © 1995-2019 Opera Software AS. All rights reserved.
    Made possible by the Chromium open source project and other open source software."

  • Lots of memories. I was also "there" at the beginning of the Web (and had experienced bits of mainframe networking through my dad's work and a fascination with home computers since the ZX81) so it's all very familiar.

    I also remember evangelising the benefits that this new world would bring to all my unsuspecting relatives - for a while it was incredibly exciting... Chatting to people all over the world which had never been possible before, finding answers to questions without asking people or consulting a library, booking airline tickets, planning driving routes and even seeing aerial photography of my own house for the very first time! It was all so utopian and genuinely amazing.

    (Plus all the gaming and porn, of course... 😂)

    Then in the mid 2000s the disillusionment started to creep in - coincidentally (or not) when Facebook came along and you started to see more and more that you had to sign up to things and give away personal details to see other people's stuff. Why would people do that? It had always been free before! I just didn't understand it...

    Yet more and more, the average person was getting online and being convinced they had to join the latest "Web 2.0" trend (even writing that horrible phrase sickens me).

    So now I'm an old fart who is still very much online but only in a utilitarian way. No social media or endless messaging and Instagramming for me. It all just seems such a pointless waste of time - and humanity genuinely doesn't seem to be better for it as far as I can see.

  • It's been a long ride. I applaud you and am forever grateful to you and Geir for making the browser closest to my heart and those of many.

    /// start rant

    I've used opera since version 4 and then up to 12 until most sites refused to load in it anymore - and then some more. As a developer I'm forced to use all browsers these days but I've been changing my main one all the time over the years. The only one I couldn't stand was chrome. Sad to say I'm using Firefox these days as all the chromium derivatives have one major fault in common: its multi-process architecture uses exorbitant amounts of system RAM - we're talking 16+ GB for some 80 tabs. In comparison good old presto did > 200 tabs with 4 GB. Fox still eats a lot but at least compensates with the overhead for each process by limiting the worker count and reusing them.

    I realize web technologies have changed a lot and websites are an order of magnitude more complex than they were back in the days - some of them becoming whole applications tens of megabytes in size. But we also have immensely more powerful hardware to offset that. In spite of all the hardware advances however - our ability to handle more pages concurrently has been reduced exponentially. Having to close the browser to play a game or risk running out of memory on a system with 32GB RAM is not how it should be. PCs are multitasking machines and not consoles. Suspending tabs and sessions is not an option when you need to cycle fast through many - it's just a principal - but I refuse to break it.

    To top it off the recent Microsoft decision to join the chrome boys, as well as Vivaldi and Opera having already switched to it, leaves just Mozilla as the only diversifying agent and this does not bode well for web standards or end-users alike.

    /// end

  • Ambassador

    "Text TV"
    Is that teletext ?

  • Vivaldi Team

  • Jon, thank you so much for all that you have done for the Web and for browsers. And thank you for all you will do for the Web and browsers in the future.

    Opera was my first web browser (after Internet Explorer) and I loved it so much, because of it's different layers of customization. And as many others, I was sad when you left Opera and saw the new direction they were heading.

    But then came Vivaldi and I'm using it since the first public version. And I couldn't think of another browser I'd rather use than Vivaldi. Thank you!

  • @jon Handsome Jon! You rock! 😎

  • Ask Terry Reed (TempleOS) what he thinks of these MIT ni&&as 🙂

  • Very good, Jon. I appreciate your efforts to help us view the Web as we would like and that adapts to our preferences. Your work (along with your cohorts) and creativity is very much appreciated! 🙂

    I love the turbo shortcuts (bookmark nicknaming) from the Opera days, and the mouse gestures, keyboard shortcuts, tab-stacking, and flexibility you have been giving us for nearly three decades now! Wow!

  • Ambassador

    In addition to the browser, what most delights users, is the philosophy of Vivaldi browser!!! Very cool.

  • Great story... I really want you to also tell us a story on why you quit Opera, and what happened there? We were all hopeful we'd get a newer more powerful Opera but instead we got another useless Chrome clone...

  • Moderator

    @MoonDawg That's Geir Ivarsøy, the co-founder of Opera browser, who unfortunately passed quite young, of cancer.

  • Ambassador

    Well done Jon! You've come a long way since those early days and have always stuck to your beliefs (a reason I jumped onto the Vivaldi Alpha test as soon as I found out about it).
    It is developers/entrepreneurs like you that keep folks like me here and make the internet easier to use and a better place to be.

  • Thanks for building Opera, Jon, and thanks for sharing this story.
    I remember my first encounter with Opera, it was the fastest and lightest browser in my old computer and I fell in love ever since.

  • I was always an Opera user, and bemoaned the decisions they made to drop so many of the treasured tools I loved so much. I am so glad you have brought these back to us, something as simple as a browser that can take notes in the sidebar makes all the difference in the world! Thank you.

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