As the first major web browser to reach a double-digit version, Opera has been testing out alpha releases of version 10 for months now. One of the early problems they encountered was bad browser detection scripts that only looked at the first digit of a version number and decided that Opera 10 was actually Opera 1, and therefore too old to handle modern web pages.

After extensive testing, they’ve concluded that the best way to work around this is to pretend to be Version 9.80. From now on, all versions of Opera will identify themselves as “Opera/9.80” with the real version appearing later in the user-agent string.

For example:

Opera/9.80 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X; U; en) Presto/2.2.15 Version/10.00

This is similar to the way all Gecko-based browsers identify themselves as Mozilla/5.0, then list the real browser name and version number later on, which makes me wonder why they didn’t just stick with that increasingly irrelevant prefix — though I suppose any scripts looking specifically for Opera versions might have still picked up Opera/10 later on in the ID.

It’ll be some time before Firefox or Safari runs into this issue, but with Internet Explorer 8 in wide release, you have to wonder…what will Microsoft do when they get to IE 10?

6 thoughts on “Browser Sniffing Strikes Again!

    • By recruiting an army of web developers, sending them out to every web host on the planet, and upgrading the sites’ code?

      Hmm, that might help with the economy, now that I think about it… 😀

    • Someone on reddit pointed out that Windows 7 identifies itself as Windows 6.1. So I guess we know how Microsoft is likely to fix it: the same way Opera did!

    • Finally got a chance to watch that video. Somehow I’d never heard of them before, but it looks really cool!

      It almost makes me wish I had a Windows Mobile phone to try it out on.

      Thanks for the link!

      • Yeah. It makes me want WinMo, myself, sometimes.

        And, last I heard, it’s still in Beta. I dunno much about that but it leads me to believe it’s just going to get better (or maybe more stable?) from here.

        Anyway, I’m glad I was actually able to hip you to something, for once. Heh.

        Have a good weekend.

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