MultiTorg Opera

Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner, Telenor Research, PBox 83, 2007 Kjeller, Norway

Keywords: World Wide Web, Browser, Client, User Interface, Windows

Table of Contents


MultiTorg Opera is an MS-Windows World Wide Web browser. The work on MultiTorg Opera was started in the summer of 1994. MultiTorg Opera is written from scratch. We did consider using libwww, but decided not to use it as that would limit what we could achieve and make the code far larger than we wanted. In addition, libwww would not compile for Windows when we started working on the browser.

Lean, mean and Windows compatible

The aim was to make a lean program that works fast and supports standards without introducing proprietary extensions. We also wanted to make a program that follows the trends in Windows programming, has a Windows compatible user interface and is user friendly. This has in many ways influenced our choices when designing the program. The program has now had four beta releases given to a small group of beta testers. A final version 1.0 will be demonstrated at the conference. This version is likely to have a number of extensions to the product described here. MultiTorg Opera is fast as it fetches multiple documents and document parts, such as images, at the same time. It uses a Multiple Document Interface (MDI) to allow users to have full control over their windows. When a document is being read from a remote server, the user can view the parts of the document being read and follow links from the document without having to wait for it to finish being fetched. The user can also read other documents in separate windows. It has been a major objective for us to have the program available to the user at all times. The user should never have to sit and wait unecessarily. To save time and space, MultiTorg Opera only supports http and news in the current version. This saves a lot of space and complexity, but means that to access ftp, wais and gopher documents, Opera requires the use of a proxy server. However, the use of proxy servers is in any case favourable as that means generally faster access to remote files, if the server has a cache. The current version of MultiTorg Opera supports HTML 2.0. We intend to support HTML 3.0 when it is generally accepted. When parts of it become a standard, such as tables, we will support those parts.

Hot hot list

As MultiTorg Opera has the possibility to read multiple documents simultaneously, it also sports a multi item hot list. This means that a user can have a hot list item with up to six documents which will all be fetched when he chooses the given item. The hot list can be accessed very quickly through a button in the button bar. Clicking the button results in a drop-down list. The list disappears when the user has selected an item. It is also possible to have a hot list window available at all times. Flexibility is a key issue.

Full control

MultiTorg Opera has an object-oriented user interface. This means that users can click on items in a document to do actions on them (i.e. change font and link presentation). We intend to extend this feature to include drag and drop. All preferences can be set from the user interface, the user never has to worry about ini files. The preferences allow the user to set the home page, viewers, proxy servers, printer scale, fonts, etc. Most of the browser we have seen to date have been unusable without a mouse. This is not the case with MultiTorg Opera. For quick access to menu items, the user can use menu short cuts and control and function keys. Links can be chosen with the TAB and ENTER keys. The document can be scrolled with the curser keys, page keys, home and end. We have not left out basic functionality just because we have implemented a number of fancy features. MultiTorg Opera has full printer output in color, full search with case sensitive and word options, as well as copy and save.


Basically MultiTorg Opera is a fully working WEB browser with a few extra features to make it stand out in the crowd.