Today I still remember the day my father bought me my first computer. We were in one of the posh neighbourhoods of İstanbul that I’ve never been before. It was beginning or the end of autumn in the year 1998. I even remember the price of my first computer, in today’s currency it was about 100€. After the purchase they told us they are going to bring the computer to our house in the next couple of days. Couple of days that time never past. I also remember the first thing I did before the computer arrive; I bought an original copy of Fifa’98 from a Toys “R” Us¹ store with the money that I saved for weeks and told the guy who came to our house to setup the computer, if he can install Fifa’98 for me. Times past I mastered Fifa’98 and after a while I discovered that there’s much more I can do with this thing called computer other than playing video games when I had my first internet connection, and I discover the world of web browsers.
I always had a pretty close relationship with browsers that I use. It’s not only because they were the windows that are opening into a brave new world, it’s also because that period of my life was also very special. I was a teenager who had to move into a new neighbourhood. I left all my friends behind me and started to live in a newly developing suburban area of the city without any friends and not even a single place to play outside with others. There was nothing much to do for me for socialising, but spending time on my computer by myself. After spending so much time on screen I ended up learning HTML by myself. My browser was my best friend for a long time, and it was of course Internet Explorer.
I don’t really remember how Internet Explorer was actually. I only remember that when you click on previous page or next page buttons you were hearing a click sound. Other than that my memories regarding the Explorer are rather mostly blank for me. It’s a surprise how am I not remembering the tool that I learned HTML. Most of the time I was just wondering around the net and looking to the codes of different web sites. Copying the code into a txt file and experimenting with that code to understand how it is working. Other than that it was like I mentioned before, I have no image in my mind about Internet Explorer and maybe that’s a very good thing.
The second browser I saw in my life was Safari or Netscape or both I don’t remember correctly. My father’s youngest brother (they are four brothers and a sister) was studying graphic design in university and of course he was using a Macintosh computer. But, I don’t remember much about the browsers when I try to remember those days. What I remember was Photoshop, Freehand² and Warcraft³. I was trying to understand how to use Freehand and Photoshop, but ending up with playing Warcraft everyday. The other thing that I remember from those days that I spend in my uncle’s house was Deep Forest album called Boheme⁴, that album was a game changer in my own micro history as a music listener…
After a couple of years with Safari, and Firefox I used Chrome for a short period time but that didn’t last long, and I switched to Opera for many years to come. I paired Opera with Firefox and Safari from time to time and kept monitoring other browsers. I even use Maxthon a little. I wasn’t well equipped technically for understanding all the technologies behind. I’ve never was, but I was always curious in design and functionality perspective about what is going on with the browsers. When I stopped working in advertising agencies and decided to pursue a freelance career I became more obsessed with the browser that I use, and it’s capabilities. Then one day I had to go to the army for an obligatory military duty. I had no other choice but to go and serve for six months. Luckily thanks to my professional background I was choose to serve accordingly to my computer knowledge and graphic design talents, and there was again my old friend Internet Explorer waiting for me.
I came back home only after a couple of months from the launch of Vivaldi. I immediately switch to it without any hesitations. I fell in love with it, but after a while I saw that it has some performance issues. Because of this I had to turn back to my old trio Opera, Firefox and Safari. In time as my work grow and get complicated I became more mobile, and I find myself in need of a more capable browser. Opera was pretty good for a long time, but I was a browser fetishist already and it was a hobby for me to have, test and tamper with all the other browsers out there. For a brief period of time I even drive Yandex browser. I found myself in search for the perfect browser, but I realize that very quickly there’s no such thing. But, I also saw that there may be a browser which I would like to be a part of and support in many apects.
Since the day I learned HTML in my bedroom as a teenager until today I used all the mainstream browsers. I even go and try some forks like Waterfox, experimental browsers also Tor etc. More or less I had an idea about the world of browsers enough for myself to choose one and dedicate. But, it wasn’t easy at all, I was keep finding things in every browser that I don’t like and it was becoming more and more exhausting. In my eyes Chrome and Edge are only data collection tools for their respected big companies rather than browsers and nothing else. Godspeed if I ever use them! I never understood why Safari is an awful browser, and it makes me think if it’s not because of my work I would stop using Apple immediately and go for Linux. I used Brave for a while but I saw that it has nothing to offer when it comes to functionality and embraces the same minimal interface approach as Chrome. Only good thing Brave does is blocking ads, but in return it consumes much needed system resources like Firefox does even it’s based on Chromium. And yes Firefox, I saw that it has huge problems with 4K displays. I never had satisfaction in Firefox when it comes to functionality and what I saw was developers were not trying to be innovative in that sense. Finally, my options came down to two brothers; Opera and Vivaldi. But, I don’t think we can call them brothers anymore other than similar roots that they have. Mainly because Opera is dropping many of its features slowly. As it is still today, but actually since version 68 they chopped another great feature called Instant Search rather than enriching it. For more information about features that mainstream browsers has you can check this chart.⁶ Opera is trying yo become a different type of browser other than their claim of being innovative. Their idea of innovation is simply killing good features and putting a little make up to make it look like the browser is actually feature rich but to hide how shallow it is in reality when it comes to functionality. I’m still being sceptical about my point of view about Opera and hoping that maybe it can prove me wrong. If they can compete with Vivaldi when it comes to being innovative for real then I’m sure we (users) are going to collect the benefits of it.
Until now I partially mentioned Vivaldi or not mentioned it al all. That’s the beauty of this browser, you don’t really need to talk about it. Yes, I think I’m slowly becoming a fan boy or something. I really love using Vivaldi, because it does everything I mentioned in this article that other browsers can’t. My only worries about Vivaldi was that it’s being Chromium based, and when I was trying to take a peak under the hood I can’t say I really liked what I saw. But, it’s not because I know what I’m looking for, and Vivaldi is a very new browser when you think about it. There’s still a long way to go, and just in a few years Vivaldi showed me that it has huge potential for the future. Using Vivaldi is enough, and it’s a beautiful feeling. One of the other things that I love about Vivaldi is when you interact with its community you see that theres a lot of good people are actively using it and sharing information and helping each other. I can say that I found it’s a very nice place to be to have a voice and learn. You can even interact with Vivaldi Team and everyone is open and helpful which made me think; yes when they were using that slogan “A Browser for Our Friends” they were really meaning it. When I combine all this things it gives me some sort of trust for the company and the browser. I don’t really believe if Vivaldi is collecting any data they are going to use it for monetary profits.
Before I finish this article I would like to share a music video with you from the Brazilian Dance-Pop band Cansei de Ser Sexy⁷… because, you know… CSS!
¹ Toys “R” Us
² Macromedia FreeHand
³ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
⁴ Deep Forest Boheme
⁵ Secrets of Safari’s Activity window by Rob Griffiths
⁶ This chart is being updated regularly by its creator. Please check this website for more information.
⁷ Cansei de Ser Sexy