Feeds

Inside Opera 11: extensions and benchmarks

Take a peek at the nifty new alpha

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Opera issued a feature-incomplete alpha version of its desktop browser today. The two aspects introduced in 11.00 are the revised JavaScript engine and Extensions. More features will follow - sometimes these are introduced late in the release cycle.

Opera releases are always worth a look. It's the testing ground for new features - and a preview of what Mozilla's Firefox and Chrome will implement in about three years' time.

Here's a quick hands-on with the Mac version.

Before you even run the alpha, the engineering quality is evident. While the Firefox 4.0 beta weighs in at 64.2MB, the Opera 11 alpha tips the scales at 34.4MB. Opera contains far more browser functionality as well as having an excellent email client built-in.

Regular users may notice a couple of tweaks. The Personal Bar is now called the Bookmarks Bar, but I noticed that it's populated with the default Bookmarks, even after you've moved them to the Trash. (This is an Alpha, remember).

The Bookmarks Bar is off by default. And what's Kayak, anyway?

When lots of tabs are loaded in a window, the tabs now hide their close button until activated. Windows and Linux users are familiar with a similar behaviour in those versions of Opera. The button doesn't appear if the mouse hovers over the tab, however. The appearance and placement of the button depends on the theme.

There's a very welcome new option to leave Flash plug-ins inactive as web pages load. It's turned off by default.

More work has been put into the JavaScript engine. I benchmarked the JavaScript performance of the Mac alpha against the existing release version. On my test machine, a three-year-old dual core Mac, the SunSpider scored 429.8ms versus 452.0ms on 10.63. Safari 5.02 scored 344.2ms on the same hardware, with string and data benchmarks far ahead of the competition. The latest Firefox beta heaves itself over the finishing line in an empty stadium, with 611.8ms.

Google Chrome squeaks in ahead with a benchmark of 419.6ms. The current version of Opera beats Chrome in crypto, maths and 3D categories. Chrome makes up the difference in the string and date benchmarks. But we're talking small amounts, smaller than the confidence interval and overall; there's very little between Opera and Chrome.

SunSpider benchmarks on a relatively old machine.
Shorter bars are better

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Extensions

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
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
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.