Tag Archives: Opera

New Symbian^3 Browser From Nokia Delayed

The Nokia N8 has been criticized for its disastrous text input system and the slow inbuilt web browser. The inbuilt browser will become very slow if users try to load some heavy website on it. Along with this, the loading time take by the web browser is also very high. It was already known that Nokia is working on a new updated browser for Symbian^3 devices.

Symbian_Browser

Earlier, it was expected that the new browser will be released for public consumption before the end of the year but sadly that is not going to happen. Eldar from Mobile-Review has tweeted that Nokia has postponed the new browser for Symbian^3 devices to February, next year. I am pretty sure this piece of news must have broken the heart of many N8 and future N8 owners.

Until February, I would recommend Nokia owners to use Opera Mini or Opera Mobile as their default browser. Hopefully, the delay will be worth it!

(Source)

Top Extensions for Opera 11

has always been a browser with a small (as compared to or ) but devoted following that keeps increasing with each iteration of their browser. While their simple mobile version of the browser (Opera Mini) is vastly popular they never saw a similar growth in the desktop market. The folks at Opera Inc. thought it was probably due to the unavailability of Extensions for their browser, and so they added the extensibility of extensions in Opera 11.

So without further ado, here’s a look at the top extensions for Opera 11.

NoAds

NoAds: NoAds is a NoScript + AdBlock extension. In the words of its creator NoAds = (NoScript + AdBlock)/2. It blocks 99% of scripts on a site that originate from a different domain, blocks text ads and you can even import subscriptions from AdBlock as well as EHH! No more ads.

FastestTube - YouTube Video Downloader

FastestTube: This simple and sweet extension just adds a drop-down menu on any YouTube video page where you can download the video that is playing in many formats. There are some minor problems with the integration with Redirect to HTTPS videos, but that should be fixed shortly.

Reddited

Reddited: Are you an avid Redditor? Do you scramble up to submit a page to Reddit only to find that it’s already been linked to? Do you hang your head in defeat and rage at the trolls that are laughing at you? Then this is the extension for you. All it does is tell you if the page you’re looking at has been reddited or not. If it has been submitted, it shows you the comment count on the link as well.

Translate Extension

Translate: If you’re one of those anime fans without a drop of Japanese within you, or if you’re the newshound who has to go to various foreign-language sites for news then this extension will do you a world of good. Translate auto-magically detects the language of the page you’re currently working on and will offer to translate the entire page for you. Built on top of Google Translate framework, the translation, although slightly grammatically off, works and works well.

Opera Mini Simulator

Opera Mini Simulator: This one is for the web developers. The add-on loads your focused tab as how it would look under the Opera Mini environment. Though a little slow when simulating, the add-on is quite useful for mobile developers.

GMail [iOS mode]

Gmail [iOS Mode]: Don’t want to wait for the Gmail page to open when all you need is to know if you have unread mail or not? Enter the Gmail [iOS Mode] extension that changes the UserAgent of Opera to an iOS device’s. So you can use the slick and lean Gmail interface on your desktop browser itself!

Do you have any favorite Opera Extensions? Do feel free to share them with me through your comments.

Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta for Android: Review and Benchmark

Android doesn’t have a dearth of browsers. But as they say, the more the merrier. Opera Software has just released Opera Mobile for Android – the more capable sibling of Opera Mini. “Android users now have a better choice when it comes to using a browser on their mobile devices,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “With Opera’s new browser for Android, we give users the opportunity to access the Web, using the best tools available”.

The folks at Opera Software were kind enough to provide me a preview release in advance. I have been using Opera Mobile on a regular basis for almost a week on my Xperia X10 (Android 2.1), as well as Chinmoy’s Legend (Cyanogen 6). Here’s my in-depth review of Opera Mobile. Please keep in mind that this review was done using a pre-release build of Opera Mobile. It’s possible that there might have been some changes in the final build.

Opera-Mobile-Android

At first glance, Opera Mobile is indistinguishable from Opera Mini. However, under the hood, there are major differences. In Opera Mini, the webpages are first sent to Opera’s remote servers, where they are rendered and compressed, and then sent to your device. Opera Mini doesn’t render the webpage. Instead it simply displays the parsed output received from Opera Mini’s servers. The compression algorithm used by Opera Mini not only saves bandwidth, but also dramatically speeds up browsing on slower internet connections. On the other hand, Opera Mobile is fully capable of rendering webpages locally. This enables it to handle dynamic web content (powered by JavaScript, AJAX etc.) better than Opera Mini. However, if you wish, you still have the option of enabling compression to improve page loading speed on slower connections. In Opera Mobile, like in Opera for Desktop, this feature is called Opera Turbo.

Opera-Mobile-Settings

As mentioned above, Opera Mobile’s biggest benefit over Opera Mini is its improved rendering capabilities. For example, it supports Geolocation, border-radius and CSS3 transitions. But, how does it stack up, when compared to other popular Android browsers? I compared it with Froyo’s stock browser and Firefox Mobile 4 Beta 2 (Fennec) to get an idea.

I started off with the Acid3 Test, which puts the browser’s CSS rendering capabilities through the paces. To my surprise, I found that none of the browsers managed to pass the test. Opera was the best performer, but by a fairly small margin.

Opera-Mobile-Acid-3
Acid 3 Test: Higher is Better

Next, I used the Sputnik test to check out the JavaScript rendering abilities of Fennec, Opera Mobile and the default browser. Sputnik is a crucial benchmark that indicate how standard compliant the JavaScript engine of each browser is. Opera pretty much owned this test. In fact, it was the only mobile browser that managed to finish the test without crashing or stalling.

Opera-Mobile-Sputnik
Sputnik: Lower is Better

Finally I picked the HTML5 Test to check out how future ready these browsers are. This test suite includes 300 tests that cover a wide-range of HTML5 and other related technologies that are likely to gain prominence in the future. Opera for desktop performs quite poorly in this test. Unsurprisingly, Opera Mobile fared even worse, with Fennec almost tripling Opera’s score.

Opera-Mobile-Sputnik
HTML5 Test: Higher is Better

The other critical factor when choosing a browser is speed. Opera for desktop is currently the fastest browser in the market, with a sizeable lead over Chrome. Does the mobile counterpart live up to Opera’s reputation? I tested this too, using Sunspider artificial benchmark.

Opera-Mobile-Speed-Test
Sunspider Test: Lower is Better

I used my friend’s Samsung Galaxy S (Android 2.2 – Darky’s Raw Steel) to run the speed tests. Sadly, Opera Mobile turned out to be a dud in the speed department. Not only was it slower than Firefox and the stock browser, but it was so by a huge margin. To be honest, the results took me by surprise, as I didn’t notice any speed issues during my regular browsing sessions.

(Update: The poor benchmark scores are due to the lack of JIT support in this build. Opera Mobile’s scores should jump considerably once that is uncorked. )

Opera Mobile’s interface is amongst the best I have seen in mobile browsers. In many mobile browsers, tabs almost appear to be an afterthought. Switching between them is often clumsy and time-consuming. Not in Opera Mobile. Features such as instant history navigation (pages from the history are opened instantly) and speed dials only adds to the intuitiveness of Opera Mobile. Other features we have come to expect from Opera Mobile and Opera Mini are also present in this build. Some of the notable ones are – password manager, bookmark and speed dials synchronization, search engine bar, in-page find, saving of pages, private data cleaner, download manager and more. Today’s release also introduces Pinch-to-Zoom support to Opera’s mobile products for the first time.

Opera-Mobile-Autocomplete

Unfortunately, there are a few serious issues with Opera Mobile that might be a deal breaker for many. First of all, the installation is pretty huge. In fact, with a disk space (ROM) requirement above 22 MB, it is the largest installed app I currently have on my handset. Also, if you switch to some other app while using Opera Mobile, the browser will quit and will be restarted when you return to it. This is actually not too different from the way other browsers work, and thankfully, Opera Mobile’s loading time is quite small. In fact, it’s actually less than half of Firefox’s loading time. However, the problem is that if you press the back button before the page has been loaded, Opera fails so remember it. Finally, possibly the biggest disappointment for me is the lack of any social feature whatsoever. You can’t tweet links, share webpages on Facebook, or send links via SMS. Adding this shouldn’t be too hard for any Android app developer, and by not taking advantage of the opportunities offered by Android, Opera Software is missing out on a trick or two.

On the whole, Opera Mobile manages to impress on its very first outing. It has a lot going for it. The interface is intuitive and functional, there are plenty of unique features that make it stand out, and it has a competent rendering engine. If it can improve upon it’s JavaScript benchmark scores and become more social, it might manage to become the definitive Android web browser. Nevertheless, if the missing sharing options aren’t a deal-breaker for you, I would highly recommend checking it out.

[ Download Opera Mobile 10.1 Beta for Android | Appbrain ]

NotScripts: NoScript Extension for Opera and Chrome

A large number of browser exploits take advantage of JavaScript and third-party plugins like Java and Flash. NoScript is a popular multi-award winning Firefox add-on that blocks all such scripts and plugins, and allows you to intelligently and selectively execute them only on trusted websites.

I have always felt that using NoScript borders on the verge of paranoia, since it hinders normal web browsing experience. However, a lot of people obviously don’t mind this, since NoScript can protect users against scary click-jacking exploits, XSS vulnerabilities and even zero-day exploits that haven’t been discovered yet. Many Opera and Chrome users have been requesting similar functionality for a long time. However, most NoScript implementations for the aforementioned browsers have been limited due to the rigid nature of their APIs. Fortunately, Eric Wong has found an ingenious way of make NoScript work within the framework of Opera and Chrome’s extension library.

NotScripts is a NoScript inspired extension for Opera and Chrome, that utilises storage quota allocated to HTML5 applications and UserJS files to offer many of the functionalities present in NoScript. It supports both whitelist (everything is blocked, unless explicitly allowed) and blacklist (everything is allowed, unless explicitly blocked) approaches, and allows you to block scripts either temporarily or permanently.

NoScript-Opera

NotScripts is still not perfect, and as mentioned earlier, taking a whitelist approach might create usability problems. Nevertheless, NotScripts is the best implementation of NoScript I have seen for either browser.

[ Download NotScripts for Chrome | Opera ]

Opera Mini 5.1 for Android and Symbian Updated

Opera Mini for both Android and Symbian has received minor updates. While the Symbian update is mainly concerned with improving performance, the Android update delivers improved readability and usability. The detailed changelogs are as follows:

Opera Mini 5.1 Beta for Symbian Changelog

  • Faster start up time.
  • Even faster page loading.
  • Improved scrolling performance.
  • Integration with your your phone native input.
  • Improved performance, especially for older S60 devices.
  • Improved fonts.
  • Device integration for cut-and-paste, email client and more.
  • No more dialogue boxes asking permission to connect to the Web.

Opera Mini 5.1 for Android Changelog

  • Adjusted font sizes.
  • Font fixes for Chinese and Japanese, so speed on pages with these fonts should be greatly improved.
  • Improved stability.
  • Improved input for Sony Ericsson X10 Mini and X10 Mini Pro.
  • Chinese users can now download the application from the Android Market.
  • A bunch of bug fixes.

Opera-Mini-5

Opera Mini, the most popular mobile browser in the world, offers full-fledged tabbed browsing, password management, bookmarks, speed dial, synchronization and more on almost any phone. Opera Mini routes all data through its servers where it is processed and compressed before being sent to the handset. This makes Opera Mini significantly faster than most other mobile browsers on slower networks. However, this also means that, unlike Opera Mobile, Opera Mini isn’t able to render rich web content that heavily utilizes AJAX and other modern technologies. Opera Mobile is designed for modern-day smartphones and delivers a truly PC like web browsing experience. It is already available for Symbian and should be released for Android within the next couple of days.

You can download the latest build of Opera Mini from the respective app repositories (Ovi Store for Symbian and Market for Android) or by simply browsing to m.opera.com on your mobile phone.

How To Block Flash Videos in Opera

One of the most popular extensions for Firefox is Flashblock, which prevents flash and shockwave files from being automatically loaded. There have been quite a few ways to achieve the same in Opera, however all of them required some effort on the user’s behalf. The good news is that with Opera 11, this feature is now baked right into the browser.

Related: How To Install Opera in Portable Mode

To block flash and other plugin driven content (other embedded video files, Silverlight files etc.), simply open up Opera’s “Preferences” dialogue box (Alt+P), and browse to the “Content” tab. From here, check the “Enable plug-ins only on demand” box.

Flash-Block-Extension-Opera

Once this option is enabled, Opera will stop loading plug-in driven content automatically. However, you can still load/play the flash videos you want by clicking on the play button (see the screenshot).

Flash-Block-Opera

How To Install Opera in Portable Mode

Opera@USB is an unofficial mod of Opera, which adapts the venerable browser for installation on removable drives (USB drives). However, with Opera 11, you don’t need to use a 3rd party tool to use Opera in portable mode.

Until now, Opera Software used to offer two different setups for Windows users – one was a Classic installer, and the other was an MSI installer. With Opera 11, Opera Software has done away with both, and is instead using a custom installer. Besides being incredibly fast, the new installer also has a major benefit – it includes a portable mode.

To install Opera 11 (and beyond) in portable mode, simply follow the following steps:

Opera-Portable-Options

  • Launch the installer and click on “Options”.
  • Set “Install path” as a location on the USB drive
  • Opera-Portable-External-Devices

  • Change the “Install for” option to “External Device”.

That’s it! This mode forces Opera to simply extract the files to the specified destination, without touching any system settings. Also, it makes Opera read its profile from the installation folder.

Opera 11 Extensions: Quick Preview

A short while ago, Opera Software released Opera 11, which finally introduced extension support the venerable desktop browser. Soon after launch, the extension gallery went down, so I wasn’t able to preview the extensions in my earlier article. Fortunately, Opera sorted out the issues quickly and the gallery is back online.

As mentioned earlier, extensions for Opera are simply web applications that adhere to the W3C Widget specifications. They are developed using existing web technologies, and interact with the browser through certain methods made available in the API. Opera expects their implementation to be secure and fast. In fact, all extensions submitted to the gallery will be checked to keep out the buggy and malicious ones.

Opera-11-Extension-Installation
Extension Installation

Installing as well as uninstalling extensions is a breeze. Like Chrome, Opera doesn’t require a restart for either installation or uninstallation. However, users upgrading over an existing installation should note that extensions don’t seem to get installed properly, if you are using a modified toolbar configuration.

Opera-11-Extension-Completed
Notification of Installation Completion

Extensions might or might not have a user interface. If the extension has a user interface, it is generally exposed through a button that brings up an overlay screen. The buttons can update themselves dynamically based on the context. For example, a reddit extension button can display the number of upvotes the currently open page has received. Installed extensions can be managed through a dedicated Extensions tab that can be opened from the Opera Menu. Surprisingly, there isn’t any panel for extensions. However, this will be probably added in the future.

Opera-11-Extension-Manager
Opera 11 Extensions Tab

To kick things off, Opera is showcasing about fifteen extensions for Opera 11. However, in terms of quality, the showcased extensions are frankly all over the place. Some of them are useful, some of them are interesting for demonstration purposes, and some of them are a bit pointless. Listed below are some of extensions I found useful:

i) Fastest Tube – YouTube Downloader: This extension is very similar to the Download YouTube Videos as MP4script for Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari. It simply adds a download button to YouTube video pages (next to the embed button). You can download the videos in standard or HD resolutions in FLV as well as MP4 formats.

ii) Translate: This extension is quite obviously inspired by the automatic translation feature of Google Chrome. Whenever you open a page that is not in English, a notification will appear offering to translate the website to English.

Opera-11-Extension-Translate
Opera 11 Extensions: Translate

iii) Reddited: It adds a button for quickly submitting a page to reddit. If the page has already been reddited, it will display the number of upvotes the page has received and link to the submission.

Opera-11-Extension-Reddited
Opera 11 Extensions: reddited

iv) miniFeed: This extension leverages the Facebook touch website to enable you to quickly check your Facebook stream and even post updates without having to open a new tab.

v) Opera to Phone: If you have an Android device (with FroYo), you can push any link from your Opera browser (for desktop) to the phone with this extension. Again, this functionality is quite obviously inspired by the Chrome to Phone extension provided by Google. In fact, it even utilizes the same Android app.

You can check out all the available extensions at addons.labs.opera.com/addons/extensions/. More extensions should start appearing soon. StumbleUpon and LastPass extensions are already under development. Don’t forget to share share your favourite extensions with us.

Opera 11 Alpha Released with Extension Support

The first alpha build of Opera 11 is here. Opera 11 boasts of all the benefits of the Opera 10.7 trunk, and introduces a major new feature – extensions. As revealed in last week’s Up North Web press event, Opera 11 finally allows developers to build add-ons that can interact with the browser and add new features.

Opera-11

To kick things off, the folks at Opera have created about fifteen extensions, which are available for installation from the Opera Extensions Gallery. Unlike Firefox, which allows extensions to pretty much configure any and every aspect of the browser, Opera’s Extensions are essentially web applications (written using HTML, CSS and JavaScript) that can interact with certain aspects of the browser exposed through the API. This is quite similar to the way Chrome handles extensions. As a result, extensions are expected to be more secure and have minimal impact on performance. If you are a developer, check out the video embedded below or head over to dev.opera.com for more information. It’s worth keeping in mind though that the API will in all likelihood be expanded in the future to support more functionality.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t check out any of the extensions first hand as at the time of writing this article, Opera’s extensions gallery was getting hammered and was unreachable.

Opera 11 will also benefit from the speed improvements introduced in the Opera 10.7 snapshots. Although, I didn’t conduct any benchmarks of my own, I expect Opera to hold onto its healthy lead over Chrome and other browsers in the performance department.

Opera-11
Browser Performance Benchmark (via BetaNews)

There are a few minor UI changes also. Again, anyone who used the 10.7 snapshots will already be familiar with these. Opera has added a new Mail Panel to quickly switch between different accounts or RSS Feed sources., and the personal bar has been replaced with a new bookmarks bar, which appears below the address bar.

Opera 11 continues Opera’s push towards supporting latest web technologies. New in this version is support for HTML5 server-sent events and websockets. Several dozen bugs have also been squished since the Opera 10.6 release.

You can download the alpha build for Windows, Mac and UNIX from opera.com/browser/next/.

Opera 11 Coming Soon: Will Introduce Extensions

While Opera is the leading mobile web browser developer, it seems forever destined to be the little guy in the desktop segment. It’s fast, functional and secure, yet it has never quite managed to catch the fancy of a large section of internet users in the way Firefox and Chrome did.

In my honest opinion, the biggest chink in Opera’s armor has been extensibility. Sure, you can modify the toolbar, edit the context menu, install bookmarklets and buttons, and even play around with widgets; however, when it comes to really captivating and powerful extensions like StumbleUpon or LastPass, Opera doesn’t have an answer.

Extensions are something I have been requesting for a long long time. Opera always seemed to be reluctant to introduce an API due to security and performance concerns. Fortunately, the Norwegians have finally found a way to implement extensions without impacting performance or compromising security.

Opera-11

At its Up North Web press event, Opera Software revealed that extension support will be one of the new features in Opera 11. Opera Software is taking a leaf out of Chrome’s book when it comes to implementing their API. Opera extensions will be developed using open web standards like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. “Extensions will be based on the W3C Widget specifications and this is being considered for an Open Standard effort”, wrote Espen André Øverdahl, Opera’s community manager.

An alpha build of Opera 11 is expected to be released soon. In the meantime, check out this video from TechCrunch, which demonstrates Reddit, Wikipedia and StumbleUpon extensions for Opera.