Opera (web browser)
Opera 22.0 displaying its About page on Windows 8
|Engines||Blink, V8, Presto (For Turbo mode)|
|Available in||42 languages|
|License||Proprietary freeware with open-source components|
Opera is a web browser developed by Opera Software. The latest version is available for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux operating systems, and uses the Blink layout engine. An earlier version using the Presto layout engine is still supported, and additionally runs on FreeBSD systems. Editions of Opera are available for devices running the Android, iOS, Symbian, Maemo, Bada, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile operating systems, and for Java ME capable devices.
According to Opera Software, the browser had more than 350 million users worldwide in the 4th quarter 2014. Total Opera mobile users reached 277 million in December 2014. Opera has been noted for originating many features later adopted by other web browsers. A prominent example is Speed Dial.
Opera began in 1994 as a research project at Telenor, the largest Norwegian telecommunications company. In 1995, it branched out into a separate company named Opera Software ASA. Opera was first released publicly with version 2.0 in 1996, which only ran on Microsoft Windows. In an attempt to capitalize on the emerging market for Internet-connected handheld devices, a project to port Opera to mobile device platforms was started in 1998. Opera 4.0, released in 2000, included a new cross-platform core that facilitated creation of editions of Opera for multiple operating systems and platforms.
Up to this point, Opera was trialware and had to be purchased after the trial period ended. Version 5.0 (released in 2000) saw the end of this requirement. Instead, Opera became ad-sponsored, displaying advertisements to users who had not paid for it. Later versions of Opera gave the user the choice of seeing banner ads or targeted text advertisements from Google. With version 8.5 (released in 2005) the advertisements were removed entirely and primary financial support for the browser came through revenue from Google (which is by contract Opera's default search engine).
Among the new features introduced in version 9.1 (released in 2006) was fraud protection using technology from GeoTrust, a digital certificate provider, and PhishTank, an organization that tracks known phishing web sites. This feature was further improved and expanded in version 9.5, when GeoTrust was replaced with Netcraft, and malware protection from Haute Secure was added.
On 12 February 2013, Opera announced it would drop its own Presto engine in favour of WebKit as implemented by Google's Chrome browser, using code from the Chromium project. Opera Software also planned to contribute code to WebKit. On 3 April 2013, Google announced that it would fork components from WebKit to form a new rendering engine known as Blink; the same day, Opera confirmed that it would follow Google in implementing Blink.
On 28 May 2013, a beta release of Opera 15 was made available, the first version based on the Chromium project. Many distinctive features of the previous versions were dropped, and Opera Mail was separated into a standalone application derived from Opera 12.
Opera includes built-in tabbed browsing, a bookmarks bar, add-ons, and a download manager. Opera has "Speed Dial", which allows the user to add an unlimited number of pages shown in thumbnail form in a page displayed when a new tab is opened. Speed Dial allows the user to more easily navigate to the selected web pages.
Usability and accessibility
It is possible to control some aspects of the browser using the keyboard shortcuts. Page zooming allows text, images and other content such as Adobe Flash Player, Java platform and Scalable Vector Graphics to be increased or decreased in size to help those with impaired vision.
When the Opera Turbo mode is enabled, Opera compresses requested web pages (but not HTTPS secure pages) by up to 80%, depending upon content, before sending it to the user. This process reduces the total amount of data sent and is particularly useful with slower Internet connections, making pages load faster, or when there are restrictions or costs dependent upon the amount of data transferred. This technique is also used in Opera Mini for mobile phones and for smartwatches.
Privacy and security
One security feature is the option to delete private data, such as HTTP cookies, browsing history, items in cache and passwords with the click of a button. This lets users erase personal data after browsing from a shared computer.
When visiting a site, Opera displays a security badge in the address bar which shows details about the website, including security certificates. The browser checks the website that is being visited against blacklists for phishing and malware, and displays a warning page if it matches any of these lists.
In January 2007, Asa Dotzler of the competing Mozilla Corporation accused Opera Software of downplaying information about security vulnerabilities in Opera that were fixed in December 2006. Dotzler claimed that users were not clearly informed of security vulnerabilities present in the previous version of Opera, and thus they would not realize that they needed to upgrade to the latest version or risk being exploited. Opera responded to these accusations the next day.
Opera developer and Opera beta
Opera Software introduced a new release cycle consisting of three "streams" that can be downloaded and installed independently of each other: Opera developer, Opera beta and the Opera final release. New features are first introduced in the developer build, then, depending on user feedback, progress to the beta version and eventually to the official release.
Opera developer allows early testing of new features, mainly targeting developers, extension creators, and early adopters. Opera developer is not intended for everyday browsing as it is unstable and is prone to failure or crashing, but enables advanced users to try out new features still under development, without affecting their normal installation of the browser. New versions are released frequently, generally a few times a week.
Both versions can be installed alongside the official release without interference. Each has a different icon to help the user distinguish between the variants.
In addition to the edition of Opera for personal computers, there are versions for a variety of devices.
Opera Mini is a microbrowser designed primarily for mobile phones, but also for smartphones and personal digital assistants. Versions up to 4 used the Java ME platform, requiring the mobile device to be capable of running Java ME applications. The microbrowser began as a pilot project in 2005. After limited releases in Europe, it was officially launched worldwide on 24 January 2006. Opera Mini requests web pages through the Opera Software company's servers, which process and compress them before relaying the pages back to the mobile phone. This compression process reduces data transferred by up to 90% (depending upon content), increasing loading speed, and the pre-processing smooths compatibility with web pages not designed for mobile phones.
Opera browser for Android (Opera Mobile) is a browser for mobile phones and tablets which have the Android operating system. It uses the Blink engine. Opera for Android was released on 21 May 2013. It has the following features:
- Combined search and address bar.
- Discover feature (a list of websites with the latest news).
- Off-Road mode (compression technology to reduce data usage, similar to Opera Turbo).
- Private browsing tabs.
- Speed Dial with visual folders.
- Bookmarks synchronization with desktop version.
Opera was the fourth most popular browser for mobile phones worldwide in 2014 with 11.08% of the market, according to StatCounter. Opera Mini will become the default web browser for Microsoft’s existing feature phone and Asha product lines that Microsoft acquired from Nokia; this could put Opera Mini on another 100 million phones a year. Opera is the most popular browser for mobile telephones in many African countries and in several Asian countries.
In 2005, Adobe Systems opted to integrate Opera's layout engine, Presto, into its Adobe Creative Suite applications. Opera technology is now found in Adobe GoLive, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, and other components of the Adobe Creative Suite. Opera's layout engine is also found in Virtual Mechanics SiteSpinner Pro. The Internet Channel is a version of the Opera 9 web browser for use on the Nintendo Wii created by Opera Software and Nintendo. Opera Software is also implemented in the Nintendo DS Browser for Nintendo's handheld systems.
Versions with Presto engine have been positively reviewed, although they have been criticized for website compatibility issues. Because of this issue, Opera 8.01 and higher had included workarounds to help certain popular but problematic web sites display properly.
Versions with Blink engine have been criticized by some users for missing features such as UI customization, and for abandoning Opera Software's own Presto engine. Despite that, versions with Blink engine have been praised for being fast and stable, for handling the latest web standards and for having a better website compatibility and a modern-style interface.
Over the years, Opera for personal computers has received several awards. These awards include:
- List of web browsers
- Web browser history
- Timeline of web browsers
- Comparison of browser synchronizers
- Comparison of Usenet newsreaders
- List of pop-up blocking software
- Vivaldi (web browser)
- "Opera version history — Opera 1 series". Opera Software. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- "Opera 28 stable update". 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
- "Opera beta update 29.0.1795.30". 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
- "Opera Developer 30, with tab cycling and an improved tab menu". 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
- Lextrait, Vincent (July 2010). "The Programming Languages Beacon, v10.3". Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- O'Brien, Kevin (13 April 2010). "Apple Lets Opera Browser Use Own Software on iPhone". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Mobile". Opera Software. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Opera Quarterly Report 4Q14". Opera Software - Financial Reports. Opera Software ASA. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- Reimer, Jeremy (1 September 2009). "First look: Opera 10 faster with new features". Ars Technica. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "About Opera". Opera Software. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "Affiliated Organization of Firefox and Mozilla" (PDF). Mozilla Japan. Mozilla Foundation. 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "Milestones". Opera Software. 2007. Archived from the original on 23 November 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- Schenk, Mark (2010). "Opera browser version history". Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Lettice, John (6 December 2000). "Opera browser goes free with version 5.0 launch". The Register. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Baker, Loren (20 September 2005). "Opera Goes Free with Help from Google". Search Engine Journal. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Goldman, Daniel (18 December 2006). "Opera 9.1 is out with Fraud Protection". Opera Watch. Archived from the original on 5 January 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Kleinhout, Huib (6 June 2008). "Malware protection". Opera Desktop Team. Opera Software. Archived from the original on 8 June 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Giving gamers two windows to the Web: The Opera Browser for Nintendo DS" (Press release). Opera Software. 15 February 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Nintendo DS Browser available to North American market" (Press release). Opera Software. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "A Web Revolution in the Living room: Opera partners with Nintendo to put browser on the Wii game console" (Press release). Opera Software. 10 May 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Play with the Web: Opera browser now available for download on Wii" (Press release). Opera Software. 22 December 2006. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Opera 10.50 for Windows changelog (Final)". Opera Software. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Mateu, Roberto (1 January 2010). "Opera 10.5 pre-alpha for Labs". Opera Labs. Opera Software. Archived from the original on 24 December 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- De, Pallab (22 December 2009). "Opera 10.5 Pre-Alpha Is Here and It Is Fast!". Techie-buzz.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Purdy, Kevin (22 December 2009). "Opera 10.5 Pre-Alpha is All About Speed (and Private Browsing)". Lifehacker. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Opera 11.00 for Windows changelog". Opera Software. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Opera 12.00 for Windows Changelog". Opera Software. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Hey Presto, Opera switches to WebKit". Ars Technica. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
- Opera Desktop Team - Opera Next 15 Released!. My.opera.com (2013-05-28). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
- Opera Developer News - A first peek at Opera 15 for Computers. My.opera.com (2013-05-28). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
- The Chromium-Powered Opera Is Finally Here. WebProNews (2013-05-28). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
- Standalone Opera Mail Client Coming to Linux. Omgubuntu.co.uk (2013-05-28). Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
- "Help, Fast browsing". Opera Software. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "Help, View webpages". Opera Software. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "Opera’s company FAQ". Opera Software. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "Opera Turbo". Opera Software. Archived from the original on 30 June 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "Samsung Gear S now features a full web browser". Compare Smartwatches. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
- "Help, Be safe and private". Opera Software. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "Report issues with sites or with the browser". Opera Software ASA. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- "Report issues with sites or with the browser". Online help for Opera versions up to and including 12.xx. Opera Software ASA. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- Kerner, Sean Michael (9 January 2007). "Mozilla Takes Aim at Opera Security". Internetnews.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Kerner, Sean Michael (10 January 2007). "Opera Has Words For Mozilla". Internetnews.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Meyer, Eric (June 1999). "CSS: If not now, when?". meyerweb.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "What is Opera, Opera next, and Opera developer?". Opera Desktop Team Blog. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
- "Opera Developer official page". Opera Software. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "Opera beta". Opera Software ASA. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
- "Have WAP but want WEB? Introducing Opera Mini for mobile phones" (Press release). Opera Software. 10 August 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Mobile comfort in the cold: Opera Mini beta now available free in the Nordics" (Press release). Opera Software. 20 October 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "The full Internet for all mobile phones: Opera Mini launched in Germany" (Press release). Opera Software. 10 November 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Gohring, Nancy (24 January 2006). "Opera Officially Launches Mini Browser". TechHive.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Operators making money on Opera Mini: Two million users surf 4 million Web pages every day" (Press release). Opera Software. 6 April 2006. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Opera Mini Features". Opera Software. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Duncan, Geoff (24 January 2006). "Opera Mini Officially Brings Web to Mobiles". Digital Trends. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Out today: Opera for Android, full and final!". Opera Software. 21 May 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- "Opera for Android: FAQ". Opera Software. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- Bochenek, Thorben. "Sync bookmarks between your phone and your computer". Opera Software. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- "Coast by Opera". Opera Software. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- "Coast by Opera – iPad gets the browser it deserves". Opera Software. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- "Opera TV browser". Opera Software. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- "Top five desktop browsers in 2014". StatCounter GlobalStats. Dublin: StatCounter. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- "Usage share of web browsers". Wikipedia. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "Top nine mobile browsers in 2014". StatCounter GlobalStats. Dublin: StatCounter. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- "Opera signs licensing agreement with Microsoft". Opera Press releases. Opera Software ASA. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Microsoft to use Opera browser on low, mid-market phones". Investing.com. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- "Top mobile browsers per country in Africa, February 2015". StatCounter. Dublin, Ireland. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- "Top mobile browsers by country in Asia, February 2015". StatCounter. Dublin, Ireland. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- "Powered by Opera: Opera Integrated with Adobe Creative Suite 2" (Press release). Opera Software. 4 April 2005. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Goldman, Daniel (3 May 2007). "Dreamweaver uses Opera’s Small-Screen Rendering technology to preview webpages for mobile phones". Opera Watch. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Design Web Pages for the Desktop and Mobile Devices" (Press release). Virtual Mechanics Inc. 17 November 2008. Archived from the original on 9 January 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Stieben, Danny (24 May 2012). "5 Ideological Reasons Why You Should Try Opera". makeuseof.com. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Mason, Wesley (16 March 2000). "Software Review: Opera browser for Windows v3.62". Geek.com. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- Berger, Sandy (3 November 2004). "Opera Web Browser". CompuKiss. Archived from the original on 12 November 2004. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- Altman, Tim (31 August 2007). "Focus Areas during Kestrel Development". Opera Desktop Team. Opera Software. Archived from the original on 4 September 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- Dotzler, Asa (4 September 2007). "Firefox and more". Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- "Changelog for Opera 8.01 for Windows". Opera Software. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Harac, Ian (December 9, 2013). "Opera 18 review: This browser's seen radical changes… perhaps too radical". pcworld.com. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Samson, Ted. "Blink-based Opera 15 strikes a sour note with users". Infoworld. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Mathews, Lee (July 2, 2013). "Opera 15 launches, turns out to be a crippled Google Chrome". geek.com. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Keizer, Gregg. "Opera 15 launches with WebKit backbone". Computer World. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Le Bihan, Alan (26 May 2014). "A browser that's free, comprehensive and innovative". Softonic.com. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Piccolomini, Pier Francesco (September 5, 2013). "5 Alternatives to Internet Explorer". Softonic.com. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Hughes, Matthew (6 August 2013). "Opera 15 Is A Faster, Simpler Chrome, And Here Are 3 Great Reasons To Try It". makeuseof.com. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "Awards". Opera Software. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Web Browsers Poll Results". About.com. 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Orgera, Scott (2010). "The 2010 Reader's Choice Awards Winners: Web Browsers". About.com. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Webware 100 2009". Webware.com. 2009. Archived from the original on 18 July 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Welcome to Webware 100 Awards 2008". 2008. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|