Opera 10.5 Pre-Alpha Build Released: The New Additions

Today, we've released a pre-alpha version of Opera 10.5 on Opera Labs. Download it and give it a spin. Let us know what you think about it too!

Let's give you the lowdown on what's new in this build. Hang on tight, there's a lot of new stuff here!

Carakan - Our fastest JavaScript engine yet

Opera 10.5 pre-alpha is more than seven times faster than Opera 10.10 on the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark

This build introduces Carakan, our upcoming JavaScript engine. We're working on making it the fastest in the world and already you can see that it's pretty speedy! As you can tell from the above graph, Carakan has boosted our performance greatly compared to our previous JavaScript engine. The speed superiority is mostly evident if you test the Windows build, as we haven't started on optimization for Mac yet. Modern web applications are increasingly using JavaScript in much more complex ways, which need faster and more efficient JavaScript engines from browsers. Carakan promises to run JavaScript faster than ever, allowing modern web apps to run smoother than before. Bruce Lawson wrote a good overview of Carakan a few months ago and you can also read the Core Concerns blog post about Carakan and an older post on it too, for more details on the concepts behind it.

One more thing to note is that much work is ongoing to support the new ECMAScript Standard, ES5. One of the main things about ES5 is native JSON support, which we now have in our new JS engine. Hallvord Steen has written about it in more detail in his post on the Core Concerns Blog.

Vega - Our new graphics library

Opera 10.5 is more than three times faster than Opera 10.10 on the PeaceKeeper Complex Graphics benchmark

We initially wanted to just have a library for displaying SVG, but we gradually expanded it to support other graphics such as <canvas> etc. It enables greatly improved performance for complex graphics, and can even use a hardware accelerated back-end. You can read the Opera Core Concerns Blog post on Vega for more information on it. Along with displaying SVG, Vega is now used for all graphics rendering in Opera. This allows us to do transitions and transforms in CSS, but also things like rounded corners, box shadow etc. You'll notice small animations when opening/closing a tab, when alerts appear and when you drag tabs too, all of which are also achieved through Vega.

Presto 2.5 - Our latest rendering engine with even greater support for web standards

This build features Presto version 2.5 (the one in Opera 10.10 final is Presto 2.2) which is the newest version of our core rendering engine. Besides having the most complete CSS 2.1 implementation (it even supports visibility: collapse which was missing until now), it also has the latest support for many of the new CSS3 and HTML5 properties. Let's take a look at some of what developers should look forward to with this engine.

Rounded corners with border-radius

All web designers will love this! Using the CSS3 border-radius property, you can have rounded corners on your page without the need for images or any other similar workarounds. Check out Patrick's border-radius demo and Vadim's take on it for more rounded corner goodness.

Backgrounds and Borders

Presto 2.5 supports many of the W3C's Backgrounds and Borders Specification. Check out Zi Bin and Vadim's Dev.Opera article on Backgrounds and Borders (including the aforementioned border-radius) together with some nice demos which you can try in the build.

CSS3 Transforms and Transitions

Transitions basically transition from one state to another over time, while transforms can apply various functions such as translate (move), rotate, scale, etc. David has written a Dev Opera article on CSS3 transforms and transitions and has made a neat demo demonstrating it too.

Offline Storage and more

Presto 2.5 has support for both Web Storage and Web SQL databases. In Web Storage, you have the option to store the data temporarily (session storage) or for a longer time using local storage, which will store data until you explicitly clear it. Web SQL gives you the ability to create databases on the user's machine (using SQLite as a backend) so that you can store data in a more structured manner and even query it using SQL. Check out this example page demonstrating Web Storage and this example page showing Web SQL Database storage.

Other browser features

  • Private browsing: Open a new private window or a private tab. Christmas time is near, you might want to go online to buy a few gifts for your loved ones without them noticing which sites you went to.
  • Better integration with native systems: This means better integration on Windows 7 (Aero Glass, Aero Peeks and Jumplists), and a move to Cocoa on the Mac, where we have a unified toolbar, touch pad gestures and drop down menus. It also adds notification features, in particular 'Growl' notification support on the Mac.
  • You'll also notice that all notification messages are now non-modal. Which means that it will not impede your workflow by having a child window that you have to click to go on with your job.
  • Further improvements to the search box and the address box. Now its even easier to search right from the address box.
  • Type opera:cache in your address bar for an all new interface to your cache. It allows you to directly browse, preview and use the contents of the cache on a per site basis.
  • Opera Dragonfly in 10.5 pre-alpha features new and improved highlighting for clicking and selecting elements to inspect on a page. To open Opera Dragonfly, go to Tools->Advanced->Developer Tools.
  • New inline page search and password manager.

And much more. Download it and test it out. This is a pre-alpha release, so there may be issues encountered (especially related to media queries and web fonts). There are certain things like Opera Unite and the new widgets implementation (which we introduced in 10.20 alpha) which are not included in this build. One more thing to be noted is that the demos will work best on Windows for the moment, as right now we have done optimizations only for that platform. Also, there is no Linux build for 10.5 pre-alpha right now. The desktop blog has released a linux build too. We're working on having optimized versions for all major platforms as well as adding even more new exciting stuff for the alpha, beta and the final versions.