Feeds

Opera beta burns Chrome for top spot

Gets Porn Mode, too

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Opera unleashed a beta version of its browser this morning, and 10.5 claims the lead over Google Chrome and Apple's Safari in the Javascript stakes. The speed improvement is down to a new Carakan ECMAScript engine.

The Rolls Royce of browsers has long been the innovation lab for the rest of the industry, with rivals touting features first seen on Opera as their own "inventions" years later. It's maintained an emphasis on usability (with extreme customisation made easy) and performance - without getting bloated along the way. But Opera has lagged rivals in scripting performance, and this has become increasingly important as complex web applications, such as Google Docs, become more widely used.

A pre-Alpha circulated before Xmas. Some sites testing this gave Opera almost a half second advantage of the current leader, Google's Chrome.

It's around 2.5 times faster than Opera 10.2, or seven times faster than the current 10.1 release. The major change in Carakan is a move from a stack to a register based architecture. Carakan will also compile scripts down into native code. (For a detailed and interesting overview of the scripting engine see Jen Lindstrom's blog post.)

In two other areas, Opera has held an embarrassing large historical lead over its main rivals and laggards, Firefox and IE: memory footprint and caching. In 10.5 the caching engine has been rewritten, with opera:cache giving a new and very detailed browsable view of the cache.

A whole heap of non-functioning niceties are missing, but this is a beta.

Colour me in

10.5 alpha with a translucent skin

Opera 10.5 also sees big changes with GUIs. The Windows version gains a spooky new translucent Glass look in Vista and Windows 7. It's more deeply integrated into the UI, so hovering the mouse over the Opera icon on the taskbar brings up previews for each page.

The Windows taskbar now shows page previews [click to enlarge]

Using a transparent theme doesn't make it easier to use

For Mac users, 10.5 will go Cocoa. Not all the features are yet available for Mac testers, but it already looks a little more native.

Because 10.5 dispenses with the Qt toolkit, it won't require a faff around grabbing the libraries - which can happen. It will use Gtk where Gnome is the desktop. The pulsating, ever-growing brain that's used to be KDE isn't yet supported. Mac and Linux milestones will lag behind the Opera version, the company says, to get new features tested on Windows first.

The other major feature is Porn Mode, here called a "Private Tab" or "Private Window". Wipe your feet on the way out. ®

* You can spend weeks downloading conflicting Firefox add-ons, or a few minutes at this chap's blog, to appreciate the many ways in which you can bend Opera to your will. Well worth a look if you're on a Netbook or still on a 1024x768 display - where every pixel counts.

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.