Back in the good old days of computing, installers always came with all the files that needed to be installed. Well, unless there were dependencies, as you may had to install those separately. If you were lucky, they were linked or included, but more often than not, it meant to go hunting for distributions and programs that you needed to install on top of that.
A recent trend are network installers. Mozilla introduced stubs installers for Firefox some time ago for example. They do offer advantages over conventional installers.
If you install a program using a network installer, you can be sure that the latest version will be installed. With regular installers, the version that you downloaded will be installed, which may not be the latest version available, depending on when you ran the installer on your system.
According to companies, it may also reduce the number of network and download errors that some users experience. Since most network installers come with options to resume downloads, it is less likely that downloads will be corrupt.
Opera Software announced today that it has created a network installer for the Developer version of Opera. In case you do not know, the Developer version is the cutting edge version of the "new" Opera web browser.
New features are made publicly available in it first, before they land in Opera Next and Stable eventually. So, what this means is that Opera Next and Stable will receive the network installer as well, but not right now.
The core issue with the installer is that an Internet connection is required to download it. While that should not be a problem most of the time -- you are installing an Internet browser -- some users may prefer to download offline installers instead.
The network installer will be offered on the front page, while offline installers are available to users who actively seek for them.
Opera's net installer has a size of less than one Megabyte, and when you execute it, it will display a downloading Opera progress bar. It does not offer any information about the download, for example the overall size of the download or the time remaining.
The setup will be started automatically once the download completes, and from then on, it is the usual Opera installation experience.