Breadcrumbs

Opera 10 Beta Released

Opera Software have yesterday released Opera 10 Beta (external link), a preview of the next version of the Opera web browser. For the average consumer, this beta release includes a redesigned interface (by the infamous designer Jon Hicks), built-in Opera Turbo support, the ability to compose rich-HTML emails (in Opera Mail), inline spell checking, and auto updates. They have also introduced a visual tab display that can be accessed by pulling down the adjustable bar beneath the tabs. You can find complete changelogs on Opera's documentation website: Windows (external link), Mac OS X (external link), Linux (external link). Below are some screenshots of Opera 10's newly skinned interface:

Screenshot of Opera's new interface on Windows1.1 Opera's new Windows skin.

Screenshot of Opera's new interface on Mac OS X1.2 Opera's new Mac OS X skin.

Screenshot of Opera's new visual tab thumbnail display1.3 Opera's visual tab thumbnail display.

Overall, I think Opera 10 Beta is a nice improvement. The new interface is refreshing, although I still do not quite fancy it entirely.

What is more interesting, at least for readers here at Lowter, are the new web technologies and web-developer improvements in Opera 10:

  • Opera Dragonfly Alpha 3, their web-developer toolset, enables developers to edit the DOM directly and adds a new Network tab that allows developers to monitor HTTP requests (great for AJAX programming).
  • Passes the Acid3 web-standards test, as did the alpha versions.
  • CSS3 Web Fonts
  • Various HTML 5 specifications

The new alpha version of Opera Dragonfly is more useful on the whole, but I still find it lacking in comparison to Firefox's Firebug extension. Particularly, I find the JavaScript debugging tools to need a lot of work. However, since Opera Dragonfly is still an alpha product, I imagine many more improvements are headed our way.

The most interesting under-the-hood improvement is the support of Web Fonts (external link), a module of CSS3. Essentially, Web Fonts enable you to attach a font-family file through CSS, which the browser will then use to render text. This ability allows designers to use fonts that the user does not have installed locally on their own computer, solving the cumbersome problem of only being able to use the few fonts available (almost) universally. Verdana anyone? Web Fonts will lead to a much richer user experience, once the standard is adopted across more web browsers.

I plan this weekend to play around with Web Fonts, so look for a blog entry next week about my tinkering. Until then, Opera has a cool demo page (external link) that you can view in Opera 10 Beta to see Web Fonts in action for yourself.

As with every Opera release, there is support for new web technologies, a refined interface, and more customisation options. I recommend that you give Opera 10 Beta (external link) a spin, if only at least to check that your websites render and behave properly. The beta version is still a bit quirky at the moment, so I would not yet switch to Opera 10 Beta for one's daily web browser, but Opera 9.6 is still available too!

Comments

  • I've been using the Opera 10 weeklies for my daily browsing for quite a while now.

    I love how you can also use things like SVG fonts in addition to the more regular font formats.

    Posted by Frans (external link) on Thu 4 Jun 2009 at 13:02