Opera’s Up North Web: Music To My Ears

While I was busy enjoying Maha-Saptami, Opera Software made quite a few significant announcements at its Up North Web press event.

As far as I am concerned, the biggest revelation was that Opera 11 will introduce extensions. Extensions are something I have been requesting for a pretty long time. Firefox pioneered the concept of web browser extensions, and was later followed by Google Chrome and Safari (and also Internet Explorer to an extent). Other smaller players like Maxthon have also had extension support for years. However, Opera Software (and many of its biggest fans) has traditionally opposed the idea of extensions on the grounds of security and performance.

While Opera was busy looking away, Chrome came in and showed the world how to do extensions right. Chrome’s implementation may not be as powerful as Firefox’s; however, Chrome extensions are easier to develop and don’t slow the browser down.

It’s no surprise then that Opera is following in Chrome’s footsteps when it comes to implementation of their own API. By and large, Opera extensions will leverage existing web standards like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. “Extensions will be based on the W3C Widget specifications and this is being considered for an Open Standard effort”, explained Opera’s Espen André Øverdahl.

Opera has been making all the right noises for the past few builds. It is impossible for an outsider like me to pinpoint who deserves all the credit; however, Lars Boilesen, the CEO of Opera, should definitely be commended. Opera is once again the fastest browser (thanks to Carakan and updated Presto). It has one of the most elegant, intuitive and consistent user interfaces (UI) among Windows web browsers (thanks to Jon Hicks and others). The native UI of UNIX and Mac build has been drastically improved. Vega is well poised to introduce GPU acceleration. M2 – Opera’s email client, has been made usable.

Opera Software has managed to cover a lot of ground in a very short period of time. And for once, they seem to have their priorities right. Opera Software has filled in six of the ten missing pieces I had mentioned.

Opera-11

An alpha build of Opera 11 with extension support is expected to arrive soon. In the meanwhile, check out TechCrunch’s preview of some of the Opera extensions that will be available at launch.

The other big news was that Opera Mobile will finally arrive at the Android Market. Opera Mobile for Android has been available to OEMs for quite some time. However, due to limitations of the platform and terms of the Android Market, Opera was not able to release it to the general public. Clearly, something has changed since then. However, what and when are questions Opera Software is not interested in answering. But, hey! I am not complaining. There are quite a few decent browsers out there for Android. However, most of them are unsuitable for my slow 2G connection (Airtel). Only, SkyFire and Opera Mini are fast enough. However, SkyFire’s UI is annoying, while Opera Mini can’t open many websites. I am hoping that Opera Mobile with Turbo will be the perfect combination for me. A public beta of Opera Mobile for Android is expected to be made available by the end of the month.

Opera Mobile’s little sibling – Opera Mini, will also be updated. The smartphone edition of Opera Mini (I am presuming Opera Mini for iPhone and Android), as well as Opera Mobile for Android will get pinch-to-zoom and hardware (GPU) acceleration.

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11 Responses to Opera’s Up North Web: Music To My Ears

  1. Sourish @ Jailbreak Iphone 4 October 17, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    i heard something like hardware acceleration for opera on touchscreen devices , now what is that supposed to mean ??

    • Pallab De October 17, 2010 at 11:21 am #

      Opera Mini and Mobile for Android and iPhone will get hardware (GPU) acceleration.

      • Sourish @ Jailbreak Iphone 4 October 18, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

        and what is it now ?? no hardware acceleration , how is it different ??

        • Pallab De October 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

          Opera Mini currently doesn’t have H/W acceleration. And I think that only Opera Mobile for Maemo currently has H/W acceleration.

  2. used tires October 18, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    About time that Opera supports extensions, hopefully they are able to do it just right and capture some of the market share in the browser wars! Can’t wait to see the extensions that are released!

    Till then,

    Jean

  3. Sourish @ Jailbreak Iphone 4 October 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    im using the safari browser on my ipod touch , and its the best mobile browser i have seen if we compared sompatibility to noon mobile web pages and content

  4. Sourish @ Jailbreak Iphone 4 October 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    * correction

    compatibility to non-mobile web pages

  5. Sell Textbooks October 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Nice it was about time Opera did this. I may start to use it again!

  6. Komodo Dragon February 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    It will be interesting to see how Opera performs with extensions. Any browser can be speedy and reliable when there’s low overhead but once we start adding stuff to it, the real challenge of it starts.

  7. modern architecture news March 1, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Nice to know they are finally upgrading their software.

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