Opera Extensions: A Closer Look

Opera: The Extendables

The final build of Opera 11 was released a few days back. New features include extensions, tab stacking and on-demand plugin load. I couldn’t cover it over here as I was extremely busy with my seventh semester project. However, I did do an in-depth review over at Techie Buzz. Check it out for a quick overview of the major new features in Opera 11.

For me the best new feature is support for extensions. In my honest opinion, Opera Software made a big mistake by not incorporating extensions earlier. In fact, I have bitched complained about the lack of an API on multiple occasions in the past (over here, here and here). As you might expect, I was over the moon when Opera Software revealed its plans to support extensions in Opera.

Opera’s API is based on the W3C widget specification. If you have already developed extensions for Chrome, or are familiar with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you should be able to create your own Opera extension easily. The extensions can either run quietly in the background or have a user interface that is exposed through buttons in the toolbar or through overlays on the website itself or both. While Opera’s API is not as powerful as Firefox’s, it should ensure that extensions don’t compromise security, stability and performance of the browser.

Among the currently available extensions, LastPass is undoubtedly my favourite. Besides extensions, the other feature I had been requesting for a long time is an automatic form filler. LastPass intelligently fills forms based on your pre-configured profiles. Additionally, it generates secure passwords, stores them, and makes them available anywhere and everywhere.

I have covered LastPass in the past. Back then, the lack of an API meant that the only way to get it working in Opera was to use bookmarklets. However, besides being inconvenient and clumsy, bookmarklets severely limited the benefits of LastPass.

On the other hand, the extension is intuitive and feature rich. After you install it, you will have to create an online account (if you don’t have one) at LastPass.com. You should also create a form profile and set it as the default. In the future, LastPass will fill in web-forms based on this information. I also recommend creating some groups in your password vault. This will help you in categorising saved login information for websites, later on.

LastPass-Form-Profile
Create a LastPass Form Profile

LastPass-Vault
Create LastPass Vault Categories

LastPass sits quietly in the background, and jumps into action whenever required. It will offer to automatically fill web forms when you encounter them. Better yet, it will automatically generate a secure passwords for you, and remember it. LastPass will also prompt you to save authentication information when you log into a website for the first time, and enter it automatically on future visits.

LastPass-Autologin
Autologin with LastPass

Opera already has a capable inbuilt password manager called “Wand”, which works very well. However, LastPass is a better option due to multiple reasons. The biggest advantage of LastPass is that it works on different platforms and on different browsers. Your information is stored in the cloud, and kept synchronised across machines and operating systems. LastPass also has other added benefits like an intelligent form filler, multiple profile support and password generator.

The other extension that I would like to highlight is FastestTube. It’s a simple extension which adds a download option to YouTube videos. Have a look at the screenshot below to get an idea.

Download YouTube Videos in Opera
Download YouTube Videos in Opera with FastestTube

It’s an excellent extension. It integrates beautifully with the web page when required, stays hidden when not required, and it works! However, these are not the only reasons for highlighting it. As a matter of fact, it is identical to the “Download YouTube Videos as MP4” userscript (userJS) I had earlier written about.

One of the biggest advantages of the new extensions architecture introduced by Opera is convenience, and FastestTube exemplifies this. Currently, the FastestTube extension has more than hundred and eighty thousand downloads. I doubt if the userJS was downloaded by even eighteen thousand Opera users. Unlike user JavaScripts, extensions can be installed and un-installed with a single click. Perhaps even more importantly, Opera update ensures that you are always using the latest version of an extension.

Many of my classmates are Opera users. However, very few of them use or even know how to install userjs files. This is at least partially Opera’s fault. Unlike in Firefox (with Greasemonkey), Opera doesn’t support automatic installation of userJavaScripts. Even more criminally, there isn’t even an official gallery of userjs files. Thankfully, both of these issues aren’t present with extensions, making them easy to discover and install.

Extensions add a whole new dimension to the browser. It enables a user to pick and choose the features he wants to have, in order to make his browser truly his own. As BetaNews wrote,

Opera has “supported” extensibility in the past, in the way that a toddler “supports” a hot bathtub by sticking just his toes in it and waiting until past midnight to jump in.

Back in the days, I wrote an extensive (and a rather popular) article on customising Opera. However, most of the stuff I covered required extensive effort on the behalf of the user, and even then, had a lot of strings attached. With extensions, Opera is finally ready to compete with Firefox and Chrome in every respect. They are simple, elegant, powerful, and most importantly, extremely useful. Go ahead and take Opera 11 with extensions for a spin.

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36 Responses to Opera Extensions: A Closer Look

  1. Srivathsan G.K December 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    Interesting post, thanks for your tips and insight.

  2. Shaunak De December 22, 2010 at 7:06 am #

    All feature additions are welcome.

    I have been very busy with my exams too, so I haven’t got around to checking the extensions out.

  3. Jasmine December 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    The LastPass extension sounds great. I always have problem with remember passwords, and I find it a hard task to keep track of them. I am sure LastPass will be really handy in this!

  4. used tires December 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    Wow… I will now have 3 browsers that I am gonna be using, Firefox.. Chrome and now Opera, that LastPass looks like I will be making alot of use of that extension!

    -Jean

  5. Gouthaman Karunakaran January 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    The LastPass extension works great.

    I was expecting more extensions to arrive in Opera, especially when you can easily port them from Chrome. But, didn’t happen. :|

    • Pallab De January 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

      Some like WOT, SU and Shareaholic have been ported. It’s still early days. I definitely expect to see more.

      • used tires January 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

        Exactly Pallab, its still very knew, and Firefox users have had years to perfect their extensions, I really see a bright future for operate and extensions, we just gotta wait patiently :D

        Til then,

        Jean

  6. Jasmine January 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Opera is coming against the market leaders fierce and furious. IE should beef up their features, otherwise it will certainly lose more market share. That said, my favorite browser is still Firefox and Chrome. :)

  7. Jasmine January 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    I occasionally use IE too, mostly for debugging purposes, still need to make sure my website looks OK in IE.

  8. p90x January 17, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    I do not even have a good form filer for Firefox. LastPass sounds fantastic. I may even try Opera for that extension alone. I am sure Firefox has an extension that does similar but I am yet to find it.

    - Robert

  9. Printing solutions January 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    I dont really like Internet Explorer because it is slow so i want to download Opera 11 or Google Chrome but i dont know which one is better.Thanks.

  10. webtechlife January 29, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Interesting information,Opera11 and chrome ,Mozilla which one is better

  11. Komodo Dragon January 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Those look like some really interesting apps for Opera. I tried it briefly the other day and it felt pretty good but I haven’t adopted it as my main browser yet.

  12. iphone5 January 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    I use Opera , it’s a good …………Nice post I like this post…………………..

  13. cheap flights pakistan February 1, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    this looks like a great version of software im going to actually check this out, thanks for this post very informative.

  14. Dodge Neon SRT4 February 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    I use Opera. The Extensions are Good. I love the Post.

  15. Printing solutions February 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    what is the use of Opera and firefox explorers when we already have internet explorer installed in our PC. is there any special use of this explorers.Why to use Opera and firefox if we have Internet explorer.

  16. event lighting rental February 10, 2011 at 12:16 am #

    which delivers even better performance. The browser address bar displays more security-related information about the site you’ve currently viewing, and a new mail panel provides convenient access to your emails in Opera’s built-in mail client.

  17. SEO Taster February 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    I will now have 3 browsers that I am gonna be using, Firefox.. Chrome and now Opera, that LastPass looks like I will be making alot of use of that extension!

  18. Web Design LA February 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    I sometimes use Opera. It is good but not better than Firefox. So as per my point of view Firefox come on first rank and Opera on second. I don’t like to use IE, its very slow.

  19. Komodo Dragon February 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    As far as Windows on a PC goes, Chrome is the best solution so far I think. Opera is definitely getting there and might be the better option real soon. Firefox v3 slows down very quickly but v4 might change all that.

  20. Computer Virus February 23, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Opera has now announced the release of Opera Mobile 10.1 beta, which follows its launch of Opera Mini on Android, from July. Opera Mobile is expected to bring more speed through Opera Turbo. It also offers pinch-to-zoom, speed dialing, geo-location support, bookmarking syncing on multiple devices, tabbed bookmarks and long-click menus.

  21. Printing solutions March 3, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    How to uninstall opera browser from the defaulted installed programs in a HTC P6500 Pocket Pc please.Thanks

  22. Khey March 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Wow, I haven’t used Opera for months now. Last time I did, they didn’t have an Alexa widget which I need. :(

  23. Printing solutions March 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    I have downloaded Mini opera as mini.jad and copied on Nktel A600 mobile while trying to install this file. File is not recognize by mobile. What is the OS this mobile Contain ??
    Can any one inform guide me how to install Opera mini on it ?

  24. Gazz April 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Opera has some cool features, thanks.

  25. mike May 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    gonna do the upgrade just to try out that fasttube thing

  26. Vapor Smoking May 18, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    I think it is a best guidelines here.I think Opera web browser makes the Web fast and fun, giving you a better web browser experience on any computer. Opera is the fastest browser.

  27. purchase settlements September 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    I am a big fan of opera. I really like the new extensions.

  28. Web Design Resource September 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Best for mobile. Opera is really working great at mobile devices.

  29. autokary wynajem October 22, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    I am impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I discovered a blog that s both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is important; the issue is something that not a lot of people are talking intelligently about. I m very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  30. rrr December 11, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    Opera is the best! I use only that browser for years. It’s fast, good and have many good additions :)

  31. Alan Smith January 24, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    The main advantage of the opera is that it comes with lots of features in very small package. Opera11 uses less memory, run quickly on slow connection and older computers.

  32. Jeff Kapes January 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    im really liking the FB Purity extension for opera, it neutralises a lot of the damn horsecr&p that Facebook shoves in our newsfeeds. i give it a 10/10.

    You can get it here: http://www.fbpurity.com

  33. emobile_developer July 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    I have been using Firefox and Chrome but never used Opera. I want to give a try to it and also want to experience its aforementioned features and extensions. I have used roboform and informenter for the purpose of filling form but would like to use Lastpass. Anyway, pleased to read the information. Thanks and keep up great effort.

  34. clarity furniture January 23, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Great in-depth look here. Thanks for sharing this with us Pallab. I am planning on trying the new Opera because my Firefox browser runs extremely slow.

    - James

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