Opera 92 Dev channel update introduces an option to hide the sidebar automatically
The Opera 92 update has landed for the Developer channel. The patch adds an auto-hide option for the web browser's sidebar.
The setting is not enabled by default, but you can switch it on with just a couple of clicks.
How to enable auto-hide for the sidebar in Opera
Right-click on the Opera sidebar.
Select the option that says "Automatically hide the sidebar".
Hover the mouse cursor to the left edge of the screen, and the sidebar should appear. Move the mouse away from the edge and the panel will hide itself. This can be useful if you want to access your sidebar shortcuts quickly, but don't want the panel to take up space on the screen.
If you don't like it, just repeat the steps to disable the feature. Alternatively, you can manage the option from the browser's sidebar interface (scroll to the bottom) or from the settings page. The following URL will take you to the corresponding section. opera://settings/manageSidebar
Opera sidebar auto-hide
While the idea is good, the animation effect for the auto-hide feature does not appear to be smooth. This is probably caused by a slight delay after moving the mouse away from the sidebar, which makes the panel stay on the screen for a couple of seconds. Currently, there is no setting to change the delay.
Another factor that is worth mentioning is that the sidebar doesn't appear on top of the current tab or window, so when the panel is triggered, it appears as if the tab bar, address bar, and the entire web page are moved toward the right side slightly. And when the auto-hide kicks in, they are shifted to the left-hand side again.
There are a couple of other quirks related to the auto-hide behavior. The Windows version of the browser has the Opera Menu button on the left edge of the toolbar. When you mouse over the side panel, the button transforms into an O, i.e. the word Menu disappears briefly. The point of auto-hide is to provide a minimalist experience, so it should be the other way around, i.e., the compact O button should be the default view.
Hovering over the side panel in the macOS version of Opera switches from the horizontal layout for the close, minimize, and maximize buttons, to a vertical style. This is similar to when you have the sidebar disabled permanently. I was never really a fan of the vertical buttons, as it breaks the standard design norms.
I also noticed that the sidebar does not hide automatically in a consistent manner. This happened when a few times when I switched between tabs, or to a different application and back using alt + tab, or shortcuts on the taskbar. It clearly needs to be improved before it makes its way to the release channel.
Among other things, Opera 92 fixes an issue that was causing the X button to disappear when trying to close tabs. The build updates the Chromium version to 106.0.5216.6. Download the Opera 92.0.4519.0 Developer edition from the official website.
The stable channel of the browser has also been updated, the latest version is Opera 90.0.4480.54. It is based on Chromium 104.0.5112.102. Opera has added quite a few features in recent times including the Shopping Corners, Horizontal Tab Scrolling, Paste Protection, to name a few.
Do you use the sidebar in Opera?