Thursday, October 21, 2010

Opera 11 [Alpha] Now with Extensions

Opera 11

Opera 11 alpha has just been released and it comes with extensions. For me this is a big deal since none of the major browsers offer what I need out of the box, I depend a lot on extensions or add-ons.

Opera has a small cautionary note on their landing page "because this is an alpha version, it is not feature complete—there are still many more features to come", but it does include extensions which merits a test drive.

Before going into the test drive, lets go over what's new in this release:

Extensions allow you to add new features and functionality to Opera. Extensions support HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

Opera offers a new extension catalog which allows you to install the extension by clicking on them. No restart required (similar to Safari and Chrome) which is one of my biggest problems with Firefox.

The alpha release of the extensions platform supports injectable JavaScript, callouts, certain UI items and a basic Tabs and Windows API.

Opera 11 alpha supports HTML5 server-sent events and websockets which allow a server to push notifications and new content to the browser.

I download the .deb package for Linux from here and using Ubuntu 10.10 install the install was fast and simple.

Under Gnome you'll be able to find Opera under Internet under the Application Menu. Once you launch Opera you'll be greeted by Opera license agreement.

Opera 11 License Agreement
I clicked on "I Agree" after reading the EULA (wink) and proceeded to browse to some the sites I visit daily. A few site had minor cosmetic artifacts, but nothing to serious. I did notice that it feels pretty much the same as the stable version when it comes to speed.

Anyway, lets try out the extensions catalog.
Extensions Catalog
Pretty much feels the same as the extensions sites for Firefox and Chrome. Navigation was simple enough and I was able to find a extension. Installation was pretty straight forward very much like the process you experience while using Chrome. extension page

Initiating an install of an extension is as simple as clicking on the Install button on the extension page.

Installation Confirmation

Next you are asked to confirm the installation of the extension.

Install Complete Notification
The extensions installed in a few seconds and once completed a notification popup informed me that the extension was installed in the lower right hand corner of my screen.

Extension Manager
The extension manager reminded of Firefox's 4 Add-on manager with the usual Disable and Uninstall buttons. It would be nice if you could enable/disable certain extension in private/pr0n mode like Chrome does. extension in action
The extension added a button on the left of my address bar and clicking it took me to the page. This extension feels more like a bookmarlet with a button, but I guess that's how the first extension for Chrome and Safari were.

I don't think I'll be moving over to Opera, but I like to keep an open mind. I'll probably revisit Opera once a Beta is released.