Yeah. “Opera 9”:http://www.opera.com/ is “out”:http://www.opera.com/pressreleases/en/2006/06/20/. Among the “new features”:http://www.opera.com/products/desktop/ are “BitTorrent”:http://www.bittorrent.com/, content blocker, customizable search engines, site-specific preferences and more. More importantly, there are numerous improvements for web authors. Read on
The most prominent new feature of Opera 9 (and the one I’ve been most buried in) is “widgets”:http://widgets.opera.com/. And you should really learn to love them. To parrot something I said in issue #3 of “Opera Bits”:http://www.opera.com/operabits/06/05/
Widgets are small applications, created using standard web technologies. This means that authors can deploy the same application instantly all of the desktop platforms Opera resides on, and just expect the application to work. Furthermore, this is done using well-known web technologies. All of the world’s Web 2.0 companies can bring their application to the user’s desktop, having a presence beyond being “just a web service”. Their applications instantly available to the user.
Also, by using web technologies, the threshold of writing software is much lower. This means that you will get software authored by people who normally do not develop applications. Typically, this will be single-task applications, or what I would like to name microapplications. Some examples:
* “Mass validator”:http://widgets.opera.com/widget/4187 – batch validates web pages
* “touchTheWire”:http://widgets.opera.com/widget/4197 – lets you monitor web pages and check whether they’re up or not.
* “Torus”:http://widgets.opera.com/widget/4134 – this is Tetris like you never played it before (and if you want something more like the traditional game of block stacking, there’s “WidgetTetra”:http://widgets.opera.com/widget/4017 ).
* “Opera clock”:http://widgets.opera.com/widget/4094 – In real life, I always prefered analog clocks. This is a rather space-saving variety. The code, based on canvas, is so easy to use that our “pixelmonkey”:http://my.opera.com/Helmers/blog/ creates “new clockfaces”:http://widgets.opera.com/author/Helmers when he has five minutes to spare.
I could have mentioned a bunch of other widgets, but it’s really much better if you just check it out yourself. If you’d rather just get started with widget creation, there is some introductory material:
* “Your first widget”:http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/first/
* “Widgets and animation”:http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/animation/
* “Deploying widgets”:http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/deploy/
* “Opera animation library”:http://my.opera.com/community/dev/widgets/animation/lib/
* “config.xml file syntax”:http://oxine.opera.com/widgets/documentation/widget-configuration.html
* “Opera widget forum”:http://my.opera.com/community/forums/forum.dml?id=1296 for those that want to start creating widgets.
h3. Standards and technologies
The “changelog”:http://www.opera.com/docs/changelogs/windows/900/ has all the gory details, but I’ll highlight some of what I like most:
* Atom 1.0 support.
* OPML import and export
* Multiple rendering fixes. We pass “Acid 2”:http://webstandards.org/files/acid2/test.html
* SVG 1.1 basic
* Support for the “canvas element”:http://whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#scs-dynamic
* Support for “Audio”:http://whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#scs-sound
* Body element now uses margin instead of padding by default. This has been the cause of a lot of headaches for developers new to Opera.
* Added support for XSLT 1.0 and the XSLTProcessor constructor.
* XPath 1.0
* DOM level 2 Style Sheets and associated parts of DOM level 2 CSS
* Rich text editing: designMode and contentEditable
* “History navigation improvements”:http://www.opera.com/support/search/supsearch.dml?index=827
* “Web forms 2.0”:http://whatwg.org/specs/web-forms/current-work/ – the new configuration editor, opera:config uses this actively.
Again, examine the changelogs
* “Other platforms”:http://www.opera.com/docs/changelogs/
And “download Opera 9 now”:http://www.opera.com/download/ — you’ll enjoy it!