Vivaldi - not ready for prime time

I found the Vivaldi web browser a couple of months ago and was happy to see that others missed version 12 of Opera, which was the last version before they decided to switch to the Chrome rendering engine and adopted the same “keep this so simple that anyone can use it” philosophy that means it’s hard to customize the features or use your bookmarks the way you want to. At least one of the people involved in making this new browser used to work at the Opera company.

After using Vivaldi for those months, I’m about to go back to Opera v12. I know this is a technical preview version (TP4, specifically), but it’s lacking in a couple of really important areas and has some major problems. The only reason I wanted to stop using Opera was it has a memory leak issue where RAM will gradually keep being used until it hits the 3.5GB limit of it being a 32-bit application. Granted, some of this isn’t its fault. Most web pages like to refresh themselves every so often, so if you have a lot of tabs open like I usually do, it helps to have Task Manager running so you can monitor Opera’s RAM usage and hit “End Process” before it gets to the point where it crashes. Then you can open it back up again and it will re-load the tabs you had open.

Reasons why Vivaldi still needs work:

  • No crash recovery. It will not recover any open tabs on restart. You go back to the home page.
  • Bookmarks are a mess. It specifically has an option to import Opera’s bookmarks, but the order they are displayed gets scrambled.
  • Organizing bookmarks is done by opening the Bookmark tab, then clicking on an item to highlight it, then drag the bookmark to the new position. If you are trying to move a folder above or below another folder, you will almost always wind up with it inside the other folder. Moving a folder back out of a folder is very difficult.
  • I finally found where the Bookmarks file is for Vivaldi, but there’s no way I can manually edit it due to the way they’ve got the data structured. I can kind of see where the start and stop for each entry is, but I’m not going to trust that I can cut an entry out and paste it into the new spot and not have it corrupt the entire file. Since the drag-and-drop method is not reliable, they need an actual bookmark editing program.
  • If you use the Bookmarks bar, once you have more bookmarks than what can be shown in the bar, there is no “show more” indicator. You will have to use folders to conserve space inside the bar or go to the Bookmarks tab on the left side.
  • In addition, the first bookmark item cannot be a folder. It has to be a standard bookmark. If you try to put a folder as the first item in your bookmarks, when you use the Bookmarks bar and you click on that folder, the list will jump over to a different monitor if you have multiple monitors.
  • No menu item for History. I had to manually find it (vivaldi://history) and make it a bookmark.
  • In Opera, all web pages from a single website are grouped together when looking at the History. You could see what was in the group by clicking on the triangle to make the rest of the entries visible. In Vivaldi, every web page has its own entry. In order to do any kind of grouping, you have to do a search or you click on “more from this site”, which is a different way of doing a search.
  • Sluggish performance. The more tabs you have open, the more processes show up in Task Manager and when you click on a link to open it in a new tab, the longer it takes for the browser to get the tab ready and begin retrieving the web page. But at least it’s better than Firefox. If you open twenty tabs in rapid succession, the last few may not load at all. With Vivaldi, it just takes extra time. More than with Opera, unfortunately, even when you have a lot of tabs open.
  • Tab stacking is fussy. It is difficult to slide one tab on top of each other without the second tab shifting to the left or the right instead. Do this enough times and a gap will suddenly appear in between tabs that you can’t get rid of without closing down the browser. This may also cause the + button for opening a new tab to overlap other tabs instead of appearing to the immediate right of the last tab
  • Cannot move a tab from one Vivaldi window to another.
  • There is no menu item for Bookmarks. Your choices are the Bookmarks tab in the panel on the left side of the browser window or the Bookmark bar. Clicking on the Bookmarks tab opens that sub-window, pushing the content of the web page over to the right.
  • I’m not a fan of having the Bookmarks and Downloads tab. Having Downloads show up in their own tab (a real tab, not as part of the panel on the left side) was handy because it was easier to see the progress at a glance. If you were interested, Opera would show you the speed the file was being downloaded at. In Vivaldi, you have this tiny little progress bar that gradually changes color to indicate something is active.
  • When using Right-Click to do a “Save link as”, the dialogue box may open on a different monitor. Its position will not be remembered if you move the dialogue box to a different spot. It is always centered inside the monitor that it chooses.
  • The password feature no longer uses CTRL-Enter to fill in the user name and password. You have to click inside the line to get it to fill those in. On other websites, as soon as it detects those two fields, it automatically fills in those two values, so if someone happens to get be looking over your shoulder, they’ll see your user name for that website.
  • CTRL-SHIFT-W closes the entire browser. Easy to hit by accident since CTRL-W closes a window. As stated before, Vivaldi doesn’t have crash recovery, but this isn’t technically a program crash. You’ve closed the program normally. There does not appear to be a way to disable this key combination to prevent it from accidentally happening. And then you will be digging through the History file to try and remember which tabs you had open at the time.
  • The Find window will not close by hitting the ESC key. You have to manually click on the X to get it to disappear.
  • They don’t really have any kind of skins for the browser. The closest seems to be “let the program alter the colors based on what’s in the web page”.

Now, for all the problems I’m having with Vivaldi, there is one thing they did right. They’re also using the Chrome rendering engine, just like Opera transitioned to when they jumped from version 12 to 15. This shows that it isn’t that engine that was what made Opera 15 so difficult to use. It was the design choices the company made, and that’s why it appeared to be a “Chrome clone” that had too few features to be of use to me.

The Vivaldi group is trying to recreate the usability of Opera version 12 and I hope they get there because having a 64-bit version of the web browser I like best would really help. They just have a long way to go before they do.

Another bug is that if you highlight text on a page, you may not be able to un-select the text. If it’s inside a form, you may have to use the cursor keys to un-highlight it. In bad cases, this may cause the browser to crash.

Update on one item: there is a kind of crash recovery. If you re-start the program, you won’t have the tabs open that you were at, but you can click on the Trash Can in the upper-right corner to see those tabs. You click on them and the tabs will reload. So it’s not an automated crash recovery, but it does work a little bit.

I’ve been havening a similar problem with Chrome with Gmail. The entire page is suddenly highlighted.

Oh, lovely. You’re limited to six downloads at a time and it doesn’t seem to be adjustable. You can’t pause a download, only stop it, and there’s no resume or restart after you stop it.

It’s 2015, that’s not acceptable. Why throttle the number of downloads, and why no pause?

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Cause Vivaldi isn’t really up to to “full featured” yet.

It’ll get there, probably. Growing pains for those of us watching, waiting…

I would like to see Vivaldi succeed. There’s room for several web browsers and in some cases, you have to have more than one because browser A will handle a particular security setting better than browser B.

As I mentioned, I’ll be going back to Opera v12, at least until Vivaldi’s more equipped. Now I just have to sort through my bookmarks to delete the ones in Vivaldi that are still in Opera. Then I can manually add the remaining ones to Opera.

I still use Opera as my primary… but I’m finding more and more sites where it won’t work. Like this one, as an example. Keep set the security high, and Opera v12 can’t match, so I can’t get here in Opera.

I’m steeling myself against the day when Firefox will become my primary.

New glitches: if you click on the trash can to look at the tabs you’ve closed, there’s no “clear list” option. If you have two browser windows open and you re-open one of the tabs you closed from the trash can, it appears in the opposite window.

Another update on the sluggish performance: there are times when Vivaldi will stall trying to load in a page and will not work in the background to display it. You have that particular tab active in order for it to build the page.

When I click on a link and can count to 10 before it starts doing something, then I know it’s time to shut the browser down and run it again. So I manually copy the URLs on the tabs I have open to Notepad so I can manually go back to those places. With Opera v12, I could get it to perk back up and free up memory by using Task Manager to kill the process and run the program again. But with Vivaldi, that won’t work because you can’t identify which of the multiple processes is the parent. Remember, Vivaldi uses a separate process for each tab you have open.

Chrome does the same thing. And there are times when it appears that it is keeping some of the processes for closed tabs running for a while as well.

Something I discovered on IE: When I go to my start menu jumplist and tell IE to open a page I open regularly, it doesn’t actually go to the page. Instead it opens a URL file it has stored somewhere in a temp folder. This causes certain pages to hang and crash, because they can’t figure out who I am and where I am coming from. Some pages (like certain Unity games I play - Chrome won’t run Unity), it crashes because the game server doesn’t recognize the URL that is trying to load it.

Okay, this is getting less and less cute. I closed down all Vivaldi windows and it left behind six processes occupying 983MB of RAM. However, upon restarting it so I can post this, the RAM footprint is now 700MB. It actually did not start the first time I clicked on the Task Bar icon. I had to click on it a second time before it would run again.

I know some programs will leave something active in the background when you close them to help things get running again a little quicker if you re-start the program. But tying up nearly a gigabyte of RAM when it’s supposed to be shut down makes me wonder if Vivaldi has a memory leak of its own.

Remember the good old days when programmers made damn sure everything worked as well as possible before releasing it?

And then we got Windows 3.0.

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Wait, I had BASIC programming books that had errors in the programs listed.

A few more crashes have occurred today, primarily when something has a video on it or a heavily-animated advertisement. I just found out that if I don’t go in and manually end all processes that are left behind when this happens, the crash recovery will lose a lot of closed tabs because it may only re-open one window.

Latest annoyance is that when I want to modify the URL in the address bar, it takes up to four clicks before it will stop highlighting the entire line and let me start changing it.

Annother annoyance is text selection on screen. It’s very difficult to highlight the text of a link without trying to drag the link itself, and for most text, if what you need to select is at the beginning of a line, moving a few pixels too far to the left is enough to make it try to select everything above that point.

Yeah, that’s it. Opera v12.17 isn’t new enough to work with some websites any more, but it’s better than Vivaldi. I’ll use Firefox when I want to come here. Two dozen ways of being annoyed by a program is too much. The program’s staying on the computer only long enough for me to sort through the bookmarks I’ve added in the past few months. I’ll check back in a year and see if it’s any better.

Can you right click and “copy link address”?

I didn’t want the link. I wanted the description shown for the link, which was a user’s name on a wiki. If I didn’t have the cursor positioned just so before I pressed the left mouse button to begin the highlight, it would show I was trying to drag the entire URL to a different location.

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@RRabbit42: Another alternative being developed is Otter.

Closed to Opera 12 than Vivaldi, although with some rough spots still to work out. I’m logged in here with it… my first try and so far I’m liking it.

Even after using it for just a few seconds, Otter feels more like Opera v12 than Vivaldi does. Only things I can immediately see that’s missing are a Home button and being able to drag a tab from one window to another. You can get the same effect of having a Home button by adding that page to the speed dial so it shows up when you open a new tab.

Gets bonus points for having bookmarks, tools and history in the menu and an actual bookmark manager. Looks like it’s completely portable, meaning it doesn’t have to be installed and can be run from wherever the file was unpacked.

I also liked their reasoning for choosing that name. It’s a nice match for the small stuffed animal I bought at the zoo recently and for when I put some otters in the story I’ve been writing.

I really need to get the bookmarks copied into Opera and/or Otter so I can finally stop using Vivaldi. It’s been crashing a lot lately and so I’d use the recover function to go back to the pages I had open. Well, today it crashed and I brought back some of them, but then got distracted with cleaning up a mess on a wiki I’m an admin on.

By the time I got done, I learned that Vivaldi will only list 25 items in the trash can. So that other window that had about 8 tabs open for something I’m researching is gone and I have to dig through the history file to see if I can remember which websites they were.

I do have to give Vivaldi credit that when it does bring back something out of the trash, it’s pretty quick since it’s rebuilding the page from the cache, rather than trying to go out and re-load the page from the website.

Update: Oh, lord. When doing a search in the history to filter things out, it can’t do a pattern match mid-word. For example, it can’t find “station” within “Playstation”. It could find it if it was a separate word, as in “Play station”. And it needs to have a duplicate of the Cancel and “Delete selected items” buttons at the bottom so that you don’t have to scroll back up to the top of the page every time. Displaying more than 150 items and a “select all” function would really help.

Oh, just cute. The latest upgrade to Beta 2 introduced two new annoying bugs:

  1. When you minimize the window, sometimes it pops right back up.
  2. The search shortcuts don’t work any more. You’re supposed to be able type “g Honda” and have it bring up the Google page to do a search for “Honda”. It now can’t barse the shortcut any more.