Webapps to the rescue of bookmarks, RSS, and IRC

There was a good selection of little known and hardly ever used features in Opera 12—henceforth called “legacy Opera”. These features were dropped when Opera rebooted to target a more mainstream audience nine months ago. Here all show how you can replace some of them using webapps as pinned tabs.

A small core of dedicated users loved having their complete digital lives within the borders of their browser window. That is still the direction all web browsers are moving in. However, little-used features such as the feed reader and the chat client were lost. Allowing others whose focus is building good feed readers and chat clients take over these niches.

Pinned tabs

Pinned tabs is a feature that lets you put aside web applications (“webapps”) and leave them open without taking up too much of the space in the tab bar. Any website can be pinned by right-clicking on its tab and choosing “Pin tab” from the menu.

Pinned tabs remain open until they are either unpinned or the window is closed.

Below follows a list of some of the webapps I recommended for replacing the lost legacy Opera functionality.


I am subscribed to close to a hundred news sites and blogs. Everything from my comics and my friends’ blogs to design inspiration and gaming news trickle into my feed reader every day. Newsblur takes a visually appealing, albeit slightly technical approach to news.

News can be trained using an Intelligence Trainer. It can sort out the day’s most important stories for you; after some manual fiddling telling the service what kind of news stories you enjoy and from which sources. Alternatively, it can be used as a straightforward feed reader.

The service has seen a steep increase in its user base since the infamous shutdown of the Google Reader service one year and one week ago.

Price: Free up to 64 subscriptions, 24 USD/year for Premium


If you aren’t a fan of Opera’s new approach to preserving your favorite content and want a more traditional bookmarking functionality, give Delicious a go. The service has been around since forever and it’s constantly improving.

Bookmarks can have a long description, tags, and other organizational traits that let you manage a large collection of different things. It is similar to how legacy Opera handled bookmarks, but it sadly doesn’t integrate into the browser’s address field.

Bookmarks can be managed through their website, mobile apps, and browser extensions.

Price: Free as in coffee.


Not as popular as it once was, the IRC network is still a treasure trove of knowledgeable people and channels. There is, however, a slight accessibility problem to IRC with the modern-day expectations of “just working”. Expectations of a communications channel are much higher now than they once were.

IRCCloud is an IRC bouncer, a service that’s always connected to your favorite IRC servers and channels on your behalf. When you go to their website (or excellent mobile apps!) you get a complete history of the channel, and to everyone else, you appear to be omnipresent. You can connect from multiple devices and keep the same username everywhere.

This service has quickly become one of my all-time favorites. It helped me rediscover that good 1990’s feeling of comradely in IRC channels.

Price: Free up to two networks (servers) with a daily login required, 5 USD/month for Unlimited

Everything else

I usually also have Twitter, a webmail client, and a music streaming service pinned. Anything you use regularly (especially webapps) will make excellent pinned tabs. If you live in the Google ecosystem, as I do at work, Google Mail and Calendar are a given.