rakaz

about standards, webdesign, usability and open source

Opera 9 Preview

Things have changed in the last couple of years. After years of relative peace and quiet we seem to be headed to a new confrontation. The previous war was between Internet Explorer and Netscape, but currently it isn’t so simple anymore. There are many new players and this time around the war can be won by being innovative and by embracing standards.

Right after I installed Flock I noticed that Opera has also released a preview of the latest version of their browser. This list of improvement is huge and should make Opera a serious contender.

The first thing I did after firing up Opera 9 for the first time was to load the Acid 2 test. I was positively surprised that Opera managed to render it ‘almost’ perfectly. It’s not perfect yet, but I imagine they will certainly pass the Acid 2 test when the final version of Opera 9 will be released.

As an early adopter and promoter of Atom 1.0, I am really happy that Opera 9 will also support this new standard. It will certainly help us move away from Atom 0.3 as quickly as possible.

Next up is canvas support, the ability to draw onto your webpage using nothing more than JavaScript. This technology was created by Apple for use in Dashboard, but also ended up in Safari, because both Dashboard and Safari use the same renderer: WebCore. Currently the <canvas> element is being incorporated into the Web Apps standard by the WhatWG and will also make an appearance in the upcoming Firefox 1.5 release.

The WhatWG is also working on the Web Forms standard and Opera 9 will be the first browser to support this new standard. Web Forms and Web Apps, together often called HTML 5 is a continuation of the HTML 4 work done by the W3C. It’s not a surprise that Opera is taking these standards so serious. Until recently the editor of these two standards worked for Opera.

The next innovation is also not much of a surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less of an improvement. Over the summer Anne van Kesteren was hired by Opera to document the way designMode – the ability to edit HTML inside the browser – worked. The work was intended to be used in the WhatWG Web Apps standard. Originally this is a Microsoft invention and was also adopted by Mozilla and recently also by Safari. The good news is that Anne’s work apparently paid off and Opera 9 will also support this very useful feature.

3 Responses to “Opera 9 Preview”

  1. Anne van Kesteren wrote on October 23rd, 2005 at 1:26 am

    You give me too much credit. Opera was already working on designMode around the time I started working there. Furthermore, my interests where mainly with contentEditable which is kind of a superset of designMode.

    Anyway, I did contribute some to this release.

  2. Wong Online PoKér Hu wrote on November 29th, 2005 at 10:20 am

    Opera is becoming a worthy contender in the browsing category? That sounds good. Now, we have to watch out for coming innovations from Internet Explorer and the others to keep up.

  3. Syed Fahim Inaam wrote on December 5th, 2005 at 11:46 am

    Niels – first off the bat, I like your blog site, its well designed and certainly has panache.
    As regards the Opera announcement, I think that the browser wars seem to be heating up in preparation of the Internet Explorer 7 scheduled to launch with Windows Vista. I greatly look forward to your comments in this regard. With the shift in Opera’s strategy for it to become freeware and Firefox 1.5 already launched, all serious users must really be excited about the developments and strides being taken by various developers. Party On!!!