Opera 7 for Windows Beta 1 Now Available
Opera has officially announced the availability of its next browser version, Opera 7 for Windows. This one is a major leap from previous versions, with their goal to support the W3C DOM, more fully support ECMAScript, and be even more standards-compliant.
As a beta tester, I can attest to the fact that they’re actively trying to eliminate the gigantic holes in their standards support for the DOM and improve all standards support. They started from scratch with an entirely new rendering engine, and they’ve been diligently working out the kinks, finally able to publicly unveil this new Beta version today. I commend them for their efforts, and I’m thrilled that they’re so actively working on these issues.
They are also actively listening and paying attention. While Opera has been my default browser for quite some time now, I’ve had to rely on Netscape 6 or 7 or Internet Explorer 5 or 6 for a number of sites. That is changing with the new Opera 7, though. I was only one of many who let them know I could not actively recommend their browser as the only browser someone would need until they provide excellent DOM support and more ECMAScript support—this lack prevented too many sites from being available, such as many banking sites, for example.
I encourage anyone with Windows to download this beta version and let them know what you think. You’ll need to be specific, and including URLs of where you found the bug would be ideal (making sure it isn’t a markup error first, of course): Opera Users discussion list or MyOpera Forums: Opera 7 Beta forum, or Opera Beta newsgroup.
Check the Opera7 Bug List for known issues prior to reporting a bug.
Opera has a good shot at becoming a very major browser by overcoming the DOM and ECMAScript obstacles, and helpful feedback will help them and the rest of us.
And those of you who know the DOM and ECMAScript far better than I do, your feedback to Opera would be especially helpful, for the good things as well as anything still missing.
Here’s Opera’s press release:
Opera 7 for Windows Beta 1 released
Opera Debuts the Latest in Browser Technology
Oslo, Norway—Nov. 13, 2002 --
Opera Software ASA’s browser factory today unveiled the new Opera 7 for Windows Beta 1, revamped from the rendering engine and up. Opera 7 for Windows is smaller and faster than before, offering users a whole range of new features to improve their Internet experience. Among the many new features a new e-mail and news client and an alphablended user interface.
This is also the first time users are able to test Opera’s breakthrough Small-Screen Rendering (SSR) technology, and see how any Web page can be optimized for a small-screen device while keeping all functionality of the Web page intact. This way, users can test how a Web page would be displayed on a mobile phone or PDA in their desktop browser.
“At Opera we try to cram a lot of useful features into a small package,” says Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software ASA. “We are happy to be able to say that Opera 7 does just that. We have greatly improved our rendering engine, user interface and e-mail client, and increased the rendering speed.”
Opera 7 for Windows Beta 1 renders Web pages faster than ever before. The standards support has been improved with added support for DOM and CSS2, and Opera handles non-standard pages using DHTML, giving Opera’s millions of old and new users a hassle-free Internet experience.
“I am very proud of all our developers who have managed to add a host of new features and improved the standards support, while actually reducing the size of the program,” says Mary Lambert, product line manager desktop, Opera Software ASA. “We have thoroughly reworked the code from the rendering engine and up, trimming Opera down, while making it noticeably faster.”
New features in Opera 7 for Windows Beta 1 include:
New rendering engine
Opera’s new modular rendering engine supports DOM (Document Object Model) level 2, dynamic HTML, extended CSS2, 100% ECMAScript, as well as improved HTML 4.01 support, and complete WML 1.3 and 2.0 support. It is faster, smaller and can easily handle non-standard pages using DHTML.
M2—new e-mail client
Opera’s new e-mail client is so powerful that it’s almost like having an e-mail management system, while remaining in an authenticated Opera environment. M2 automatically categorizes and sorts e-mail messages by contact and has an integrated spam filter. Innovative features such as QuickReply and QuickFind lets the user answer or find e-mails at unrivalled speed. Opera’s e-mail client supports POP3, IMAP, and ESMTP, as well as threaded display of mailing lists.
Opera’s M2 news client includes support for news servers with password authentication.
Web developers can test and see how their pages would look on a small-screen device by simply pressing Shift+F11 to enable small-screen mode. This is the first time Opera’s breakthrough Small-Screen Rendering technology is publicly available, and users can clearly see how the functionality of the page remains intact while the page is optimized in size. Users of mobile phones and PDAs only need to scroll vertically, and not horizontally.
New navigation bar
On sites that support navigation through link tags, users have more control over how they interact with Web pages. The site navigation will be displayed in the navigation bar, and the navigation menu will feel the same to the user regardless of site.
Sleek new look
Enjoy a new user interface with 3D buttons and enhanced alphablended effects.
Bookmarks and history, windows sessions and e-mail can be now be managed via the Hotlist and shown respectively as a bookmarks, history, e-mail, or windows panel. Manage your downloads and transfers via the floatable download and transfer manager with extensive drag-and-drop support.
Skin your browser to reflect your creativity. You can even change the coloring of installed skins by selecting a color scheme from the view menu.
Instead of having to choose between multiple and single document interface (MDI/SDI) as in Opera 6, users can now combine MDI, SDI and tabbed browsing—without restarting the browser. Users can also save different window combinations as window sessions, or go back and forth between different window sessions.
Multiple or single user accounts
Set up different Opera user profiles in one Opera browser to ensure that all your family members have the Opera set-up and look that suits them best.
Extended and improved drag-and-drop support
Rearrange or move toolbar items using drag-and-drop customization or move bookmarks, tabs, and window sessions (MDI/SDI) URL as shortcuts on the desktop. Open or save any page link.
The browser is available free of charge with a sponsored advertising banner in the top-right corner of the user interface. Users who would like to remove the advertising banner may register their version. In celebration of the launch of Opera 7 for Windows Beta 1, users may register the browser for USD $29 during the beta testing period, a USD$10 off the regular USD $39 price. Apart from removing the advertising banner, users registering also get access to personal support via e-mail, as well as 6 months of free OperaMail Premium. The OperaMail Premium account is activated the day users download the final version of Opera 7 for Windows.
Download Opera 7 for Windows Beta 1 today from <http://www.opera.com/download/>.
About Opera Software ASA
Opera Software ASA is an industry leader in the development of Web browser technology, partnering with companies such as IBM, AMD, Nokia, Macromedia, Symbian, Canal+ Technologies, Ericsson, Sharp and Lineo (now Embedix). The Opera browser has received international recognition from users, industry experts and media for being faster, smaller and more standards-compliant than other browsers. Opera’s browser technology is cross-platform and modular, targeting the desktop, smartphone, PDA, iTV and vertical markets.
Opera Software ASA is a privately held company headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with development centers in Linköping and Gothenburg, Sweden, and a sales representative in Austin, TX. Learn more about Opera at www.opera.com.