After the release of Opera 11.10, codenamed Barracuda, the next release has been officially unveiled to be named Swordfish. Swordfish will eventually become the stable Opera 11.50 release and already includes some nice goodies.
Currently Swordfish focuses on three key features: Opera Next, password synchronization, and Speed Dial extensions. The first one is the most interesting, being a new development channel where you can get new Opera snapshots much easier. It's distinctive by a white icon and its menu button and can be installed alongside the normal stable Opera release. This is of course similar to Chrome's Dev Channel and the Firefox Aurora channel.
Another new feature is password synchronization, which improves the existing Opera Link functionality, while last but not least Speed Dial now supports extensions to adapt the site's specific Speed Dial in Opera.
You can test drive this new release by reading and downloading the installer from the Opera Desktop Team's blog.
The folks at Opera Software released a new version of their Opera web browser, bringing the version up to 11.10. Unlike some other web browsers, the minor version increase doesn't mean it has little new stuff in it, the vikings seem eager to show their art of war to the world.
With almost all new releases of all the other major web browser vendors, except for Apple's Safari, one would almost forget Opera. But that would be unwise, because while Opera may be small it still packs a lot of innovate approaches to surfing the web.
In Opera 11.10 there's a whole lot of new features, including a new, more flexible and limitless Speed Dial, which automatically uses website logos and lets web developers make content tailored for this feature. One of the best rendering engines, named Presto, has also been updated to include more support for CSS, SOCKS Proxy, W3C file API, and WOFF. Other new features include: plugin installation wizard (to add missing plug-ins easily), URL filter API for Opera extensions, support for the Google WebP image format. But existing features have also been improved, Mail, Dragonfly, search, UserJS, and much, much, more.
You can download this new release of Opera for Windows, Linux and Mac.
Did we forget Opera? No, just a few days late, but Opera released the first beta of their Opera 11.10 browser, bring some nice changes.
Most important change is Speed Dial, which has received much love from people around the world being the first of its kind when opening new tabs/windows. In this release Speed Dial gives clearer previews of pages, and can show live content. Previously you were limited to a fixed amount of web pages on your Speed Dial, but that's not the case anymore. Theoretically you can add unlimited new pages to your Speed Dial this time.
Like Chrome, Opera now integrates Adobe Flash, meaning you don't have to download it separately, but more importantly, you don't need to bother updating it, as Opera will handle it for you. Other changes include better standards support like CSS3 linear gradients and multiple columns.
You can download this test release from Opera's official web site, be sure to leave some feedback if you find anything out of place.
The fine folks at Opera Software have skipped their hibernation just to bring you their latest release of the Opera web browser.
Bringing the version up to 11.01, it is a recommended download for everyone as it contains important crash and security fixes. Existing users will get an automatic notification in their web browser. If you haven't seen it yet, you can manually trigger the update process from the menu. In fact the changelog is that big that this time it won't be part of this post. Instead you can find the changelogs for the different platforms on Opera's website.
Although this maintenance build is necessary and the amount of fixes is impressive, I can't wait to see what Opera Software has in store for the next big release. This year will start with Firefox 4 hitting a final release in February with Internet Explorer 9 following after. Of course we can also expect multiple Chrome releases (where versioning is less important and is more of a continued evolution).
Opera Software has released the final version of Opera 11, bringing some exciting fixes.
Opera 11 contains several important new features, of which one was often requested: extensions. The support for it is less powerful than that of Firefox and more similar to what you've seen with Chrome and Safari. Extensions are like similarly based on web technologies (HTML, CSS, JS), while the web browser offers some API openings to call.
Another new feature is tab stacking. While in the final release the automatic behavior has been removed, you can easily stack tabs by dropping taps on top of each other. For instance you can create a "social" stack with Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and other sites. Double clicking on a tab in the stack, or clicking the arrow will result in a collapse/expand behavior. Firefox 4 promotes a similar, but less elegant feature, previously called Tab Candy.
All in all a solid release for the hobbit amongst the web browsers. Opera Software shows that can have a very rapid development like Chrome, out pacing Firefox with ease. You can download Opera from their web site, which for Windows users is now packed in a 7-zip compressed installer, shrinking the binary size, easing the installation and update process.
The fine folks up north have done it again. The new beta of Opera 11 brings a new innovative feature that we'll likely see appear as a Chrome or Firefox extension.
The most important new feature in Opera 11 Beta is tab stacking. By dragging tabs on other tabs Opera creates a stack of tabs of it. You can easily switch to the stacked tabs, as well as expand/collapse the entire stack, making it super easy to manage tabs. Imagine a social stack of Facebook, Twitter and the likes, collapse when you continue with other duties, expand when you want to do social stuff.
Of course there is much more stuff. While Firefox 4 is copying Opera's superb handling of modal dialogs per tab (where Firefox uses blur instead of lights-off effect), Opera adapted portions of the address bar improvements found in Chrome and Firefox. A button on the left now indicates if the web site is secure or not and replaces the default http/https protocol display, but with an Opera twist to it, as it also contains information on Opera Turbo (for compressed data). Worth mentioning is also the ability to load plug-ins on demand, visual mouse gestures, and a new installer for Windows, which makes it easier to update (from a full download) as well as a smaller footprint.
Today Opera Software released their very first native web browser for Android, bringing more choice to one of the most open mobile platforms out there.
Previously Opera Mini 5 was already made available, but with Opera Mobile on it too many people will prefer the full fledged version which is also free. Opera Mobile 10.1 comes with an important list of features, including: (easy) tab management (with thumbnails), Presto rendering engine (instead of WebKit or through Opera Turbo), bookmark sync through Opera Link, Geolocation support and SVG support.
Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta is available in many languages from your local Android Market place. iOS users will have to wait, and wait, and wait, as a version is not planned for this platform (ask Apple). No news yet if Opera Software is porting a Windows Phone 7 release though.
A week after the announcement Opera Software released the first alpha of Opera 11 today. Sporting support for extensions, we can finally see what they have in store for us.
Besides extensions support there is also a fresh new Presto included. Already present in the previous snapshots from Opera 10.70, which has been re-branded, the updated engine offers improved performance, bug fixes, increased web standards support, and WebSockets.
And last but not least there is a new installer for Windows, which should bring 10% smaller binaries, and faster installation/upgrades. Of course other changes from previous snapshot are also available, such as the relocated and renamed bookmarks bar (under the location bar), smarter panel behavior, and more.
You can download the alpha release from Opera's web site, as long as you take note that this is an early release which still contains bugs and not all the features planned for the final release.
The browser market is the battle ground of war of controlling the web. The web, the infrastructure that connects us all, is inherently more important than the OS platform of your PC or Mac, smart phone or tablet. Last week Opera Software showed a glimpse of the future of their Opera web browser, which on the desktop is simple known as Opera 11.
To best thing for us end users, but also for the web is to have multiple parties offering multiple web browsers powered by different rendering engines. Currently the balance is recovering from the Internet Explorer Ice Age, but the elements that should be balanced aren't by far sharing equal portions of web users. A huge part is taken by Internet Explorer, followed by a Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Opera, which has been in the top for a long time has not been able to get a large portion of the browser market share however.
We could dive into history to see why Opera has not gained much market share, but in this story we're not. Today we focus on what could be possible moves for Opera Software to make Opera 11 the best next thing. Not just for existing Opera users, but also for those using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.
For Opera 11 the biggest feature (announced) is support for (web) extensions. Opera Software has not been doing extensions for a long time (it was first truly popularized by Firefox years ago), as they believe in innovating new features for the masses that will become part of Opera as an application out of the box. Sounds good, as other applications like Office, Windows, Mac OS X, and others also always do. As long as it's useful for a large portion of users it's ok. And that's also why extensions in Opera 11 will be different, they will be open (W3C Widget spec based), and they will be targeted at the (long) long tail of users. We don't all need reddit, Twitter or Facebook as part of our web experience. So for those who do need them extensions will add enriching functionality to the web browser.
At first people will probably be disappointed that it will most likely not give the far fetching access as Firefox does, but it should be near what Chrome offers, aiding stability and security, as you don't leave open hooks into the system.
Separate processes and applications
The concept of isolation could be expanded beyond just browser. Opera has always been different from the others as Opera represents both a web browser, mail, chat, and bit torrent client. It would be nice, especially from personal experience if mail runs separate from the web browser. If the web browser would suddenly crash or freeze, your mail client can simply run like it always does, minimizing risk and especially controlling the damage done.
Rework the user interface
Chrome set a trend with their minimalistic interface, but Opera contains a bigger package. If the integrated applications could be separated (and as an optional choice during installing), it would unclutter the interface a lot already by removing references to them in the panel, toolbars, and menus.
The Opera skin could use some extra love, previously it has been re-skinned a few times already, but it seems like there is no one at Opera Software who truly does usability like Mozilla (on Firefox) and Google (on Chrome) does. There are no blogs on UI changes, there are no concepts of new ideas. Opera's current look lacks elegance, even if its powerful, it can still look modern and neat. Refresh the looks, make everything pixel perfect. Remove unnecessary items, users can always add them. Remember, like in real life, first impressions are important, no matter what people say.
Keep up with the competition and improve on that
Opera has made massive strides with Presto before, surpassing in my opinion Gecko with ease. It's a portable rendering engine that supports a lot of modern standards. Carakan showed how well Opera Software does. Look at IE limping and Firefox puffing, Safari can't get to it and V8, the top sprinter, has been passed.
Let's face it, the EU browser choice thingy was both a victory as well as a smack in the face. Some people took in the wrong way, especially since Firefox and Chrome have proven to be accepted by people, without any governmental influence. That's a done case, nothing can be changed. But work on making your image better. When I stroll around for instance Neowin.net I see a lot of negative posts, most of them don't even make sense. Like people who still think you need to pay, or that it doesn't support HTML5 (no one truly does, because it's draft, but everyone, even Opera has partial support), it has no ad blocker (content blocker), etc. It's ok that people don't like something, but the very least that can be done is making everybody informed about your application. Opera contains fine pieces of code, Presto, Carakan, Vega, Unite, Link. Be proud, let yourself be heard, try to advertise on some global sites, strengthen your community, but don't go into a fanboism, or troll-mode.
Once Opera 11 is done, and who knows some of the stuff up hear gets heard, promote the web browser, organize meet-ups, competitions. Let Jon, or others, fight a giant crab or something for PR, show the world the truth of your piece of software.