Opera added Speed Dial in Version 9.20 in March of 2007. I tried it and was not thrilled. As it progressed to make the search bar optional and increases for the standard 3x3 grid, I tinkered with it. I also looked at the early alternatives; QuickChoice, 3x3 Links, Only 2 Clicks and Tidy Favorites.
Once I started using Tidy Favorites
, I saw its merits. It had skins, a tabbed interface and folders. The best part was its ability to capture a link and it's full screen capture. You could use the standard thumbnail or zoom in on a portion of the screen and show what was pertanent. The interface was a little cluttered and the skins were not color co-ordinated with to match most browsers. I created several skins for Dennis Nazarenko of Ordinarysoft.com. Later I was able to convince Dennis to add toggles to the search bar and the catch bin, making a much cleaner look.
Windows 7 changed things. TF was not totally compatible and Dennis decided to do a total rewrite. It is now a server side app written in Silverlight. It is slow, all the clutter is back and he has been unable to do a site capture for Opera. The search starts again. QuickChoice:
This was a quicky app written in Ajax for the Mac. Iframe thumbnails do not work properly in Opera. No changes since 2008.3x3
Links: This has improved and can store up to 729 links. Using HTML5 localCache and logos instead of thumbnails are pluses. Locked into 3x3 grid to facilitate keyboard shortcuts. (Not my style. My trackball is an extension of my right hand)Only2Clicks:
Server-side Can use thumbnail or user graphics/logos. Cluttered look and cannot do small screens well.Pointpad:
Single page of thumbnails. can be set to 3, 4 or 5 thumbnails wide. Nothing inovative.Fav20:
Server-side. Thumbnails only that seem to reload with each start. Limited to 20 sites (?).Fast Dial:
Firefox extension that is highly customizable. User icons, themes, multipages and adjustable grid. Good icon library. NOT for Opera.Speed Dial:
Firefox extension also very customizable. Tabs, adjustable grid and croppable thumbnails. NOT for Opera. SpeedTile:
Requires Firefox extension to work fully. NOT for Opera.Speedy Marks:
Stores settings in local cookie. Single page and thumbnails only that reload on start.MySilkee:
Server-side. I am registered but cannot get thumbnail to load. Cannot fully evaluate.Thumblicio.us:
No eye appeal and doesn't function well in smaller window.Toobla:
Visual bookmarking site for videos. Currently unavailable.Transferr:
Server-side. Thumbnail surrounded by bold color frames that can be distracting.Weblist:
A web shared site of categorized links with thumbnails.Tizmos:
Another thumbnail only. Not tabs or folders but tags. Can select by tag group.Site Hoover:
Uses thumbnails, tags and themes.Start.io:
Text Link with an appealing graphic layout. Just a start page aimed at Mac users.Genieo:
Personal Home page newspaper-style and some thumbnail links.Fav4:
Large logos with a maximum of 25 sites.Symbaloo:
Tabbed interface, icons, colored buttons and decent layout. Up to 52 links per page. Search wastes much screen space. Requires Firefox bookmarket. Opera should look at this for ideas.Kadaza:
A library of thousands of catagorized links. Allows personalized start page of 24 links uses icons only!. Personal page and backgrounds are saved as cookies. No need to log in. Like most, it has wasted search space. It claims to have a library of many thousand links with logos.Conclusion:
I am not happy with any of the above. Opera handles searches from the address bar (or the search panel). Don't waste screen real estate on it. I am not a fan of thumbnails. I replaced my Opera Speeddial ones with icons/logos. I turned the tab thumbnails off the first day. An icon/site logo should be used to allow the user to have instant, intuitive recognition of what it represents.
I have adapted Kadaza's layout for my own local Visual Bookmarking Directory. It allows me up to 750 links and 6 different skins. Next blog will have more info.