Opera 9.0 Technology Preview 2

Opera 9, Technology Preview 2 has just been released. With changes. Read on and get the meat of the story: Widgets, thumbnails, BitTorrent and more.

h3. Widgets
Yes, Opera 9 now features Widgets: Small web applications that run outside the browser, directly on the user’s desktop. These widgets, unlike a regular browser, has cross-domain features, so it’s an ideal platform for delivering Web applications that interact with multiple online services at once. Opera Widgets are cross-platform, and run both on Windows, Linux and OS X.
Since widgets are chromeless, they’re also ideal for eye-candy applications, such as this analog clock:
!http://virtuelvis.com/download/2006/02/o9tp2/clock-widget.png (Clock widget on a user’s desktop)!
If you are a developer, and would like to get started with widget development, see the “Widget developer’s page”:http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/ — the tutorials there are:
* “End-user documentation”:http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/doc/ (the really-quick user documentation is: Install the TP, press F6 and then “Add”)
* “Your first widget: Hello World!”:http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/first/
* “Animate your first widget”:http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/animation/
* “The Opera Animation library”:http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/animation/lib/
* “Deploying widgets”:http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/deploy/
Over time, more documentation for developers is going to be added to this page, from the simple to the more complex.
With widgets, Opera is also introducing OWAL, the “Opera Web Applications License 1.0”:http://www.opera.com/license/owal/ which allows authors to reuse libraries developed by Opera for widget development.
h3. Content blocking
Opera has always had the opportunity to block unwanted external content. Up until now, this has been an expert-only feature, requiring editing of the urlfilter.ini file. Well, those days are long gone. You can now right-click on any page, and select “Block content” to block external images, flash movies:
!http://virtuelvis.com/download/2006/02/o9tp2/content-blocker.png (Block content is available in Opera’s context menus)!
If you want to see more of the content blocker, my colleague Petter Nilsen has “written in-depth”:http://my.opera.com/mitchman2/blog/show.dml/132479 about it, with multiple screenshots.
h3. BitTorrent
Yes, “BitTorrent is back”:http://www.opera.com/pressreleases/en/2006/02/06/. This is technology previously previewed in the 8.10 cycle, then it went away for a few versions. The client has improved since then, in addition to bittorrent search being added. Use b [search term] in the address bar to search files directly on “search.bittorrent.com”:http://search.bittorrent.com/
h3. opera:config improvements
opera:config, introduced in Opera 9 TP1, has seen some major improvements, style-wise:
!http://virtuelvis.com/download/2006/02/o9tp2/opera-config.png (opera:config is now styled like other Opera pages)!
Not only is the styling improved, the functionality is also improved, as every item in the file now has a permalink, signified by the » after an item, so pointing users to the exact setting you’re refering to is as easy as creating any other link on the web.
h3. Web page thumbnails
Opera 9 tp2 features Web page thumbnails when you hover over tabs:
!http://virtuelvis.com/download/2006/02/o9tp2/tab-thumbnails.png (Tab thumbnails in Opera 9 are displayed when you hover the tabs)!
Not only are these thumbnails in the tabs, but they are also added as an option to the Ctrl-Tab cycle:
!http://virtuelvis.com/download/2006/02/o9tp2/ctrl-tab-thumbnails.png (Thumbnails display beside the window list in the ctrl-tab cycle)!
The Ctrl-Tab is turned off by default, but can be turned on by checking the option Use Thumbnails in Window Cycle in opera:config
Again, you can view “more screenshots”:http://my.opera.com/mitchman2/blog/show.dml/132533 over at Petter Nilsen’s blog.
h3. History
!http://virtuelvis.com/download/2006/02/o9tp2/history.png (History now groups by date and site)!
The history panel and history tab in Opera has seen some major improvements in this version: The history is no longer a flat list of items you have visited. Instead you now have these views:
* *Time and site view:* This view groups your site into “Today”, “Yesterday” and similar, with the domains you’ve visited grouped as subfolders inside this view.
* *Time view:* This view groups your history by date, and keeps the sites visited on that date in order, with no other particular grouping.
* *Site view:* Like you probably already guessed, this simply organizes your history by domain.
h3. Error console
The error console in this preview is pretty much all new. First of all, it’s now renamed from “JavaScript console” to error console, because it now is host to all of the error messages in Opera: M2, Java, JavaScript, CSS, XML, XSLT, SVG, Network, and BitTorrent errors.
h3. Source viewer
The source viewer/editor, introduced with TP1 has seen further improvement, as it now also syntax highlights source
!http://virtuelvis.com/download/2006/02/o9tp2/source-viewer.png (The source viewer is a basic text editor with syntax highlighting)!
h3. Customizable searches
The searches in Opera are now customizable from the Search tab in (the improved) Preferences:
!http://virtuelvis.com/download/2006/02/o9tp2/search-viewer.png (The create search dialog allows you to add custom search engines in one step)!
Again, Petter has more “details on search customization”:http://my.opera.com/mitchman2/blog/show.dml/133235
h3. Site-specific preferences
If you need to customize aspects of a site, like change its plug-in settings, alter the appearance by pointing to a different stylesheet, changing cookie settings or similar, Opera now has site-specific preferences:
!http://virtuelvis.com/download/2006/02/o9tp2/site-prefs.png (Site-specific preferences allow you to customize any site)!
Access to the site-specific preferences is through an extra menu item in “Quick preferences” (F12) which will open a dialog with the preferences for the site you’re currently visiting.
h3. labs.opera.com
In conjunction with the release of this preview, the new “Opera Labs”:http://labs.opera.com/ site is also set to go live. Bookmark it, visit it, and subscribe to the RSS feed.
h3. Much more: Changelogs
There really is much more, but if I was going to delve into it all, this would end up as the longest blog post in history. I’d suggest checking out the changelogs, where you’ll also find the appropriate changelogs:
* “Changelog for Windows”:http://snapshot.opera.com/windows/w90p2.html
* “Changelog for Unix/Linux”:http://snapshot.opera.com/unix/u90p2.html
* “Changelog for Mac”:http://snapshot.opera.com/mac/m90p2.html
In addition to these, you can read some other Opera employee postings on Opera 9 tp 2 (This list is live):
* “Tim Altman”:http://weblog.timaltman.com/node/822
* “Moose: On internal stylesheets”:http://lofotenmoose.info/-/item/opera-internals-quietly-conservative (he has loads and loads of more links, explore his site)
* “Peter Karlsson: Changes in preferences”:http://my.opera.com/nafmo/blog/show.dml/134537
* “Anne van Kesteren: Opera 9 Preview 2”:http://annevankesteren.nl/2006/02/opera-9
You’ll find the appropriate download links in the changelogs. Remember: This is a technical preview, not production software. Which means that we appreciate bug reports and feedback, which you can do by filing bugs, and/or posting in the “Beta testing forum”:http://my.opera.com/community/forums/forum.dml?id=31.
Update: This article has been “translated to French”:http://sebastienguillon.com/journal/2006/02/opera-9-0-technology-preview-2 by Sébastien Guillon. A big thanks to him.


  1. Opera 9 Technical Preview 2

    So we just released the second preview after stressing with it for a loong time.
    We have done alot this time and even if it gives you the impression we have only worked on new features thats not the case. We have fixed alot …

  2. Jon

     /  2006-02-07

    my god. it’s full of stars.
    This is amazing, you are amazing, i have not the words with which to express myself (“calm down, it’s just a web browser” come to mind).
    Seriously, why didn’t I buy stock last year when you went public?

  3. Changes in preferences in Opera 9.0 TP 2

    The second technical preview of Opera 9 for PCs was released today. It contains some changes related to the preference…

  4. Opera 9, sniktitt 2

    Opera slapp i dag Opera 9, Technical Preview 2, med mange og viktige nyheter.

  5. Good review. I dismissed Opera after V6 as it was featureless and I spent too much time switching to IE just to get the web working but this looks worth trying out…

  6. A room with a preview

    Quick note from a hotel reception in Prague, a couple hours before after the second preview of Opera 9 and labs.opera.com launched an…

  7. Opera 9 Tech Preview 2 is Out

    Technical preview 2 of Opera 9 code named "Merlin" was released today by Opera. Arve Bersvendsen has an excellent summary of features and screen shots here.

  8. Ура, вышел новый превью Opera 9!

    [ Russian page summary deleted ]

  9. Jim

     /  2006-02-07

    It’s a bit hard to subscribe to the Opera Labs feed when it’s not linked to anywhere on the site and autodiscovery isn’t set up either! How about you give us all a hint by telling us where it is? 🙂

  10. Duh, the feed icon, which was there, is gone now. I’ll have a chat with the responsible parties.

  11. A big splash

    Today, we released our Widget enabled Techology Preview, and it made a big splash! For a real walkthrough of some of the changes, look at Virtuelvis page:

  12. Обзор Opera9 TP2

    [ Russian summary deleted ]

  13. Widget Mania

    The Opera web browser has introduced a Dashboard-like Widget feature in Opera 9 Preview 2. I believe this is the first 3+ platform widget framework out there.
    Dashboard is, of course, Mac OS X only. Yahoo! Widgets (formerly Konfabulator) is Windows X…

  14. John

     /  2006-02-08

    The one thing opera lacks:
    ctrl+f firefox style. It should find while i type so i can refine as i type.

  15. mrd

     /  2006-02-08

    John, Opera has had find-as-you-type for a long long time. However you have 2 varieties. Find in all test (preface your typing with a ‘.’) or find only in links (preface your typing with a ‘,’).

  16. In Firefox I just press F3. Try it.
    In Opera I replace the Google search form with “Find in page”. You can do this from the Preferences.
    Both work in similar ways. I love the way you can highlight all instances of a word, and move between them easily. I use this power feature a lot.

  17. Jiu

     /  2006-02-11

    Opera has find-as-you-type too, it’s great that you can start typing even before the document being loaded. It does not work well with some IME as my experience, however.

  18. Wow! Actually I’m a happy Mozilla Firefox user, but kinda liked Opera somehow. But I always felt unhappy with it after a little time of using it: to much overloaded, standard compliance failures that just sucked, and on.
    But now they’ve taken great steps at Opera: they removed the advertisement banner in 8.5 and made the browser look simple&sexy. I’m browsing around with Opera 9 preview 2 since 2 hours or so and like it quite much. CTRL + TAB (with thumbs) is a great thing, bittorrent support is cool, had no problems with displaying websites, just a great browsing experience. The latest thing the should do is to open their code, that would be truelly awesome!
    Just a little list of things I miss here:
    – the wonderful new searchbar from firefox
    – good syntax highlightning in source code view (I’m a web developer, this is quite important to me)
    – standard RSS feed icon 😉
    A question: Is there a way to make the page preview thumbnails on the tabs apear faster (now there is a 2 second delay, I think).

  19. To answer your question, doni:
    # The internal source-viewer is really not meant to replace a full-fledged editor. Using Opera config, you can change your source viewer, and make sure you uncheck Use Internal Source Viewer
    # We have taken to releasing “weekly builds”:http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/ – and since TP2, we have adopted the standard feed icon.
    # Regarding the thumbnails: Performance has improved somewhat after TP2 as well, so give the weeklies a go.
    (As for the Firefox search bar, you are talking about an extension? I have a stock install, and the search field right of the address bar is pretty similar to the one in Opera)

  20. Michael Legmig

     /  2006-03-17

    Well, the AdBlock feature is fresh (though I like the fine-grained control in konqueror 3.5.0+ better, since I can actually modify the URL if I need to), but unfortunately, the three buttons on the “block bar” are missing on the first attempt. They are simply gone, there’s just nothing right of the “block icon”. When I close the page and re-open it, it usually works, so I count that as a bug.
    I still loathe the mail client (not only for the fact that I don’t want a mail client in my browser, but it’s also ugly to me) and including a torrent client is the same kind of mistake. I also loathe the sidebar, but it seems everybody elses loves them. I don’t understand why making the browser re-render the page only to show my bookmarks is a cool feature, but hey, I may be too much yesterday to understand that.
    Whatever. At the time of this writing, Opera 9 has become the least annoying solution for browsing under Windoze for me (not that I use Doze that often .-), meaning it just toppled Firefox from its #1 position. Although I have to say that with a tear in my eye since I think the app is going into the wrong direction, as are many others these days. The age of “integrate everything” should rightfully be buried :/

  21. Michael Legmig

     /  2006-03-17

    P.S.: Sorry to spam here, but I forgot that: Whilst being absolutely cute, what is the point in having a browser host my desktop widgets? Once I close the browser it’s all gone. I feel a clock, a calendar, a weather applet or a a calculator are all autonomous objects … why the heck would anybody want them to depend on an application like a browser??
    God, I begin to feel so old :/

  22. bq. Well, the AdBlock feature is fresh (though I like the fine-grained control in konqueror 3.5.0+ better, since I can actually modify the URL if I need to), but unfortunately, the three buttons on the “block bar” are missing on the first attempt.
    Try a newer build, from the “weekly builds”:http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/ — you _can_ indeed edit the blocked list. Before you click on “OK”, just click “Details”.