Opera Desktop 18 Released

Opera Desktop 18 for Mac and Windows is out, based on Chromium 31. (See features and download)

getUserMedia and WebRTC

Developers will be glad to know that access to the camera and microphone with getUserMedia is now enabled. Try using your head to control a game with FaceKat, which uses gUM and the open-source headtrackr JavaScript by Opera’s Audun Mathias Øygard. Also try Paul Neave’s Webcam Toy which uses WebGL to manipulate the video stream.

Note how the tab that’s accessing your video or audio has a pulsing red beacon to remind you that you’re broadcasting, even if you’re reading another tab, so you’re not accidentally recorded picking your nose while reading Slashdot.

getUserMedia is part of WebRTC, a free, open project that enables web browsers with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple Javascript APIs. Try it out by inviting up to seven friends to a video chat room on appear.in, a great simple videoconferencing system using WebRTC. What’s particularly nice about (Oslo-based!) appear.in is that it’s very webby — no plugins are used (that’s the point of webRTC) and it uses the web’s basic architectural principle: you just share a link to invite friends using Opera, Chrome or Firefox to connect with a simple UI.

Read more about the technology behind appear.in

More Extension APIs

Opera 18 adds the following APIs to extensions:

See our Opera 15+ extensions documentation for in-depth discussion of these APIs.

Also, a big shout-out to Martin Kadlec (BS-Harou) who suggested an Off-Road Mode API with a concrete use-case. Thanks, Martin!

Themes, and what’s next

Opera 18 can be themed. Making themes is very easy — read Themes in Opera 18+ and upload to addons.opera.com/en/themes/ to share with the world.

In the next two weeks, we’ll promote the experimental Opera developer stream to feature-complete Opera.Next so you can try out new standards and features. Keep an eye on the Opera desktop team blog for documentation about forthcoming releases and full changelogs.