It's time once again for Tim's Opera Bits, the periodic posts that bring together Opera Software news from across the Internet. Without further delay, here's what's happening:
- Opera Mini 3.1 is out and about. This release mainly contains bug fixes, but also adds support for managing your newsfeeds. Get it while it's hot!
You may recall that Opera 9.0 is code-named Merlin. Recently, the Desktop Team announced the code-names for the next two major Desktop releases, Kestrel and Peregrine. Merlin, Kestrel, and Peregrine are all names of falcons, in case you're wondering. There's a few more details about the names in the announcement post.
Each release since 9.0 (including the forthcoming 9.2) has been based on the same code branch with only very important changes included from our development code branch. See, we stopped taking most bug fixes into Merlin back around June 2006 in an effort to improve stability and meet our deadlines. Meanwhile, we've continued to add features and fix bugs in both the rendering engine and Desktop-specific functions. All of those rendering engine changes will be included in Kestrel, though some of the changes in the user interface will have to wait until Peregrine. Of course, we'll be able to include even more rendering engine changes by then, as the work never ends.
And just what rendering engine changes am I referring to? David Storey has already provided details about several of the changes in his post, Upcoming CSS3 support in Opera. David lets us know that Kestrel will have support for many more CSS3 Selectors, as well as the text-shadow property. Rijk was good enough to make a screenshot of Opera's forthcoming text-shadow support and include a few more details. Additionally, some more of Opera's bugs have been squashed, including a long-standing rounding problem, various XSLT bugs, SVG problems, and a whole lot more.
And what of the user interface changes? One of our major initiatives for Kestrel and Peregrine is improving accessibility. As such, Opera will again include screen reader support in Kestrel for the first time since Opera 7.0 was released. Charles McCathieNevile has more details about this support in his recent blog entry, Speaking out.... We have a lot of work to do in this area, but things are progressing nicely. Everything may not be finished in Kestrel, but I hope it will be.
Let's not forget about our beloved Opera Mail. Opera Mail will finally have a new indexing back-end, which will fix the long-standing problem with index and search corruption. We've also spent some time on our IMAP and POP back-ends, adding in some more user-requested functionality. Opera Mail is now faster and more efficient than ever before. A heap of user interface improvements are planned, but it's not clear if they'll be included in Kestrel, Peregrine, or later.
Note: I should mention that the exact version these features will be available in is tentative. This is our current plan, but plans change.
- Johan Borg, the Desktop team project manager, let us know that the next weekly build will include a new feature never before seen in a Desktop browser. Many have tried to guess the new feature in the comments to the blog post, but no one has even come close.
- This Thursday, Jon von Tetzchner, the CEO of Opera Software, will be chatting live via IRC at 5pm CET. That's 11am on the East Coast of the USA. Stop by #webapp on irc.opera.com for a chat.
- Opera on the Wii ain't just for browsing. Daniel Goldman posted a letter from a father whose children were using Opera on the Wii to play educational games. It's great to see our products helping children get interested in learning.
- Lawrence Eng, a Market Researcher for Opera Software, wants to know Why is it important that more people know about and use Opera? There are a lot of great responses in the comments to his post, so check them out. As for me, Opera makes my life easier because I can browser faster (not just load web pages faster, but accomplish my task more quickly) and easier. I want everyone to have that convenience.
Daniel Goldman let us know about WiiMinder, a web site that adds tabbed browsing to Opera on the Wii. It's a very interesting concept and the user interface is pretty nice. However, it caused a number of glitches when I tested it for a bit, including zooming out randomly (usually while scrolling) and going back in history for no apparent reason. I do applaud them for their efforts, as their UI integrates seamlessly with the browser.
While testing, I quite enjoyed playing Missile 3D over at WiiCade. Opera brings a whole 'nother level of gaming to the Wii by allowing Flash-based games. Plus, you can watch Homestar Runner on your TV. Strong Bad e-mail!
- Last but not least, the next DC Metro area meet-up is next Wednesday, February 28th. We'll meet from 7pm to 9pm at the Panera Bread in Silver Spring. More details are in the original blog post. If you're able to join us, you'll get to see me demo that new feature Johan talked about on the Desktop Team blog! I hope to see you Wednesday!
That's about it. I'm interested in answering some more of your questions again in the next Tim's Opera Bits, so please leave them in the comments. Until next time, take care and happy browsing!
PS: This is my first post written while using MarsEdit, a blogging client for Mac OS X. It's pretty nice, but doesn't really enhance by blogging experience. Plus, it can't handle Drupal's input formats or categories. Back to using Opera's notes feature for backups....