[thelist] How many people use Opera?

Peter-Paul Koch gassinaumasis at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 27 13:11:04 CDT 2003

>is it possible to tell how many people use Opera, given that by default, 
>Opera identifies itself as IE (in order to get past bad browser detection 
>javascripts used instead of object detection javascripts).

My current guesstimate is 0.5% market share. This is a number vaguely 
collated from many sources, with a fat margin of error either way that will 
give any statistician (is that a word?) cold sweat.

Even with a browser detect you can identify Opera with 100% certainty by 
looking for 'Opera', which always appears in the string. Of course object 
detection is far better than any browser detect, even one that properly 
detects Opera.

>The website stats saying that Opera represents only a tiny fraction of 
>surfers are clearly completely untrustable, but what is the true number of 

Why are they?

>Opera themselves claim that there have been record numbers of downloads.

Since their market share three or four years ago was still 0.1 or 0.2 %, 
they did have a record number of downloads, compared to earlier Opera 
download numbers.

>so, do web designers need to rethink their assumptions that Opera doesn't 
>matter and that they can safely design pages that don't work in Opera?

In general I try to get all my pages working in Opera. When it comes to CSS 
that isn't especially difficult, but some DHTML areas are notoriously bad. 
For instance, I just discovered you can't give an iframe a z-index. In this 
particular case I'm going to give it one more try and if that doesn't work I 
give up on Opera for the DHTML part of this site (though not for the 
fallback plain-vanilla accessible alternative).

ppk, freelance web developer
Interaction, copywriting, JavaScript, integration
Column "Keep it Simple": http://www.digital-web.com/columns/keepitsimple/
New: Browser Wars II: The Saga Continues

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