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Opera 10.50 Beta Out, With Competitive JavaScript 143

Posted by kdawson
from the fat-lady-hasn't-sung dept.
Opera has released its 10.5 beta (for Windows only; Linux and Mac coming). Opera calls 10.5 "the fastest browser on earth," but the jury is out on this claim. WebMonkey says that the new beta feels snappy in their informal testing. Both CNET and ZDNet ran two quick benchmarks that measure JavaScript performance, SunSpider and V8. ZDNet found Opera beating out Chrome in SunSpider but lagging in V8. CNET found Chrome ahead in both tests. What is clear however is that Opera's Carakan JavaScript engine has made up much of the ground in the performance wars; The Reg estimates that 10.5 is seven times faster in the JavaScript stakes than Opera's shipping 10.1 release.
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Opera 10.50 Beta Out, With Competitive JavaScript

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  • Vega (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Friday February 12, 2010 @05:47PM (#31121076) Homepage Journal
    I'm actually far more excited for VEGA (their new vector graphics lib) than the javascript update. Is having spiffy-fast js nice? Yea, but I think Vega is really where they're going to shine. It'll make transformations and other animations run far smoother in opera than any other browser (with the exception of firefox's direct2d experimental build that was released a while back). Kudos Opera, you're ahead of the game yet again.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but wont those animations be controlled by javascript? Drawing them fast and *where* to draw them are both important...first being the accelerated graphics, second being programmatic control...javascript.

      So, you should be double excited?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pwnies (1034518) *
        Possibly. Even under their older javascript library, the graphical draw was the bottleneck, not the JS. Think of it like upgrading a computer - sure the new processor is nice, but switching the cassette tape for a new ssd is going to be slightly more noticeable.
    • by Radhruin (875377)
      IE9 has hardware rendering as well, and it really makes a massive difference.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It renders Acid3 up to 17 in under 5seconds!!
  • Opera, my favorite browser for years just, lost some major credit from me. I find 10.5 to be an exciting release, especially Carakan, but I always admired them for delivering a quality browser simultaneously for most platforms and this time they failed at that. According to a developer's blog post, 10.5 final will also come out for Windows before it comes out for other platforms, and then they are going to shift focus to them.

    At least he says that it's only for 10.5.

    • by WiiVault (1039946)
      Yeah sad to not see a day-and-date release, but they still have amazing support for lots of platforms. If they take as long as Google did there will be hell to pay though.
    • Re:Windows only? (Score:5, Informative)

      by hkmwbz (531650) on Friday February 12, 2010 @05:58PM (#31121248) Journal

      I always admired them for delivering a quality browser simultaneously for most platforms and this time they failed at that

      They quite clearly explained that this was because the Linux and Mac versions were undergoing much bigger changes than the Windows version. And they will be faster and better integrated as a result. How is that a "fail"?

      • Re:Windows only? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Vectronic (1221470) on Friday February 12, 2010 @06:58PM (#31122024)

        On top of those major changes, they are pushing Windows at the moment because of the EU Vs. Microsoft thing, where in March Microsoft will have to add the "Choose Your Browser" dialog, and Opera wants 10.5 to be on that list, not 10.1.

      • They quite clearly explained that this was because the Linux and Mac versions were undergoing much bigger changes than the Windows version.

        Could you please point me to where they explained that? In my original post I was referring to this [opera.com] post, where he says that all desktop platforms are undergoing massive changes to platform integration. I can't find anywhere that the Linux and Mac versions are undergoing bigger changes than the Windows version.

        Of course, I am not saying that if they have the Windows version ready before the others they should hold it back until everything is ready, but that post seems (to me at least) to imply that the "lar

        • by hkmwbz (531650)
          The Mac version is being converted to Cocoa, a massive undertaking because it changes many fundamental ways Opera works. The Unix version is ditching Qt completely and will support both Qt and GTK styling. Once more, massive changes. The Windows version, on the other hand, was just about adding glass capabilities, which is trivial in comparison.
    • In case you didn't know, Opera wants to have a new version ready before the Windows browser ballot screen for the EU is in effect.
  • Worth a look (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WiiVault (1039946) on Friday February 12, 2010 @05:55PM (#31121196)
    As an everyday Chrome user I have to say this new Opera beta is pretty spiffy. I've been using it for the past day and while the UI is certainly Chrome-like but seems to have a bit more polish. The best part is it seems on par if not even slightly faster with most rendering in comparison to Chrome. Lately I've switched from Safari/FF to Chrome, but I'll be seeing how Opera works this one out. This will be great to see on Mac and Linux at some point in the future. Especially Mac where Opera performance has generally lagged.
    • I dunno. It's mostly ok but the way the tab strip works bugs me.

      When maximised in Windows, there's a two or three pixel wide strip of title bar between the tabs and the top of the screen, so you don't get "mile-high tabs" like in Chrome. That's really annoying and the devs have done it deliberately - they seem to think that there needs to be grabbable title-bar across the entire width of the window, which I disagree with.

      And, if you double click inside the tab region but not on a tab, it spawns a new tab (w

      • by hkmwbz (531650)
        You are very wrong there. The strip they left is definitely needed, and I hope they don't copy Chrome.
  • Proxy issues (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dartz-IRL (1640117) on Friday February 12, 2010 @05:56PM (#31121202)

    I tried it, and found it still has some irritating issues. For one thing, proxy settings don't work right, which is a real pain in the butt for those of us in a university. I know it's beta software, but that's still a pretty nasty issue, and has been commented on on their forums already.

    Otherwise, it seems to be quite nice. I like the new UI, newsgroups and mail features, but I haven't been using it near enough to get beyond that.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Friday February 12, 2010 @05:58PM (#31121236) Homepage

    Note: I do recognize and appreciate the need to make javascript perform better.

    Thing is...it seems that for many tech "journalists" hardly anything besides js matters anymore!

    Notice how Opera said "the fastets on earth"; which might be still debatable of course, but they did not say "...fastest in javascript". Opera knows that's not the whole story in browser performance. You can see it especially when using Opera on some ancient machine where the difference is most startling. WebMonkey seems to know it too (nah, not reading TFA...)

    CNET, ZDNet and The Reg seem to care only about JS...

    What is it? Some new widespread fascination with numbers like in 3DMark heyday? "Journalists" taking the easy route by simply running automatic benchmarks? (written "for" Opera competitors BTW...)

    • by Kjella (173770) on Friday February 12, 2010 @06:47PM (#31121866) Homepage

      Web applications. For pages with no to little javascript (and without the flash hog) the speed is just fine in all browsers unless you got an obsession about saving 30 seconds over a day of surfing. But if you are working in web applications for extended periods of time, the speed really matters. Now none of the big corporations has enough guts to publicly stab IE in the back, but IT departments aren't all clueless and web applications are becoming commonplace now that the hype has moved on and "the cloud" is the next big thing.

      • by sznupi (719324)

        As I said I understand the value of better js. But that alone hardly justifies treating it as the hallmark; worse, not under realistic scenarios but...synthetic benchmarks. Yes, "representative ones" - but doing only js nonetheless and also having strong relation to some of the engines they test...

        PS. Especially on highly portable machines, with small amounts of RAM, and on slow wireless connections I wouldn't call the experience (not only "speed"!) "just fine".

    • by Draek (916851)

      What is it? Some new widespread fascination with numbers like in 3DMark heyday? "Journalists" taking the easy route by simply running automatic benchmarks? (written "for" Opera competitors BTW...)

      Well, it's partly that, and partly that Javascript used to be the slowest part of a webpage by far.

      But now that we have Flash, AJAX with its incessant server queries and broadband ubiquitous enough that web designers feel free to go crazy with the 1 MB images, I'm not sure Javascript alone is the bottleneck anymore. But for what is worth, Opera 9 with its 'ancient' Javascript engine was fast enough to provide a decent browsing experience on my old P1 166mhz laptop (though sans Flash), so I think any perform

      • by hkmwbz (531650)

        Well, it's partly that, and partly that Javascript used to be the slowest part of a webpage by far.

        Yeah... Except it isn't.

        • by Draek (916851)

          It used to be. Unless you have some evidence of the contrary?

          • by hkmwbz (531650)
            Ask anyone who actually does this stuff for a living. JS was not the main bottleneck. But it was the easiest thing to make fancy benchmarks and graphs for.
    • I would guess that it isn't that CNET, ZDNet, and The Reg only care about JS but that the press release Opera sent out bragged about JS and they just cut and pasted from it.
  • It will still suck (Score:1, Interesting)

    by moronikos (595352)

    I've wanted to like Opera for years, but I don't like the way it caches data...for example using the Yuku (old EZ Board) message board. If there are new articles, I have to manually hit refresh to detect them when I navigate back to the page later on. IE, Firefox, and Chrome automatically detect the changes, Opera does not. Maybe there is a setting I could change, but why should I when the other browsers work fine out of the box for this.

    • Is there a check document frequency setting? I usually set all my browsers to set every time, iirc there was a setting for this in opera. My current job is IE6 internally (where IE8 and Firefox 3.x may be allowed in the next few months). I've pretty much been developing with Firefox + Firebug then cleaning up IE8 (then IE6 issues, wont be sad to see that one go). Usually the browser will respect an if-modified-since header and 304 response, though most web applications aren't configured to respect this

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Prefs > Advanced > History. I think by default it sets to 5 hours for Documents and Images, which is obviously far too long. I've been carrying over a set of preferences since sometime around version 9, so I have no clue what the default is these days. But setting Documents to "every time" and Images to whatever pleases you (mine's at 5 minutes, which I think might be a little much) should solve the issue.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've wanted to like Opera for years, but I don't like the way it caches data...for example using the Yuku (old EZ Board) message board. If there are new articles, I have to manually hit refresh to detect them when I navigate back to the page later on. IE, Firefox, and Chrome automatically detect the changes, Opera does not. Maybe there is a setting I could change, but why should I when the other browsers work fine out of the box for this.

      Greedy caching is always better. No exceptions. Reconnecting over the web is a waste when your were just here 5 minutes ago, or worse, if you misclicked a link and have to wait for it to reload over a dialup or bad Wifi connection. When you block flash and ads at a proxy or hardware level, and even turn JS off, it is stupid to have a page reload again when you click back.

      It is silly to forget that 10 years ago pages were not expected to have new blog posts, breaking news or twit / myspace / facebook garbage

  • I tried several of the Chrome Experiments on Opera 10.5, and everything ran very smoothly. Good going Opera.

    Now if only they'd add an option to make the keyboard/mouse options more like Firefox/Chrome, I could use this as my default browser. It still bugs me that it's very, very hard to make a customizable browser like Opera open new tabs with a ctrl-click like every other browser.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AmigaHeretic (991368)
      Yeah, Opera can't win that one. Opera has been around longer than FF and Chrome combined, so when you start changing "Shortcuts" to be more like FF/Chrome the people that have used Opera forever complain.
      • by maxume (22995)

        "Use Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts" wouldn't be a completely absurd option to include.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by sznupi (719324)

          Would require some big organizational changes though; usually the ideas, solutions flow in the other direction ;)

        • by ap7 (963070)

          There is an option in the Opera Preferences dialog to change Keyboard shortcuts or choose from several different sets of shortcuts. Look it up.

          • by maxume (22995)

            Firefox does not get in my way. I therefore have no interest in trying out other browsers (I have never tried any of Chrome, Safari or Opera...).

            Maybe I am missing out, but I don't know it, so it doesn't bother me any.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bheer (633842)

        Netscape/Mozilla is older than IE, but Firefox still changed over to IE-ish shortcuts on Windows in order to be a more comfortable transition.

        Also, I'm not asking Opera to shaft their loyal users. Opera is very customizable. There's no reason why they couldn't create a Firefox-ish shorcut set and let users choose that as an option. In fact, right now my biggest gripe is that their customization doesn't allow you to redefine ctrl-click consistently.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It still bugs me that it's very, very hard to make a customizable browser like Opera open new tabs with a ctrl-click like every other browser.

      What's wrong with the middle mouse button?

      Opera used Shift for that purpose before other browsers even had tabs, and it still works that way (I think - I really don't know, because I've had a mouse with a scroll wheel for many years now).

      • by bheer (633842)

        > What's wrong with the middle mouse button?

        Laptops don't have a middle mouse button unless you buy an add-on.

        > Opera used Shift for that purpose before other browsers even had tabs

        Do you mean shift-click? That opens a new tab and gives it focus. I'm looking for opening a new tab in the background, which is currently bound to ctrl-shift-click. And of course the biggest oddity is that you can not change this binding easily [blogspot.com].

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by sznupi (719324)

          Laptops don't have a middle mouse button...

          Most laptops don't have a middle mouse button.

        • Laptops don't have a middle mouse button unless you buy an add-on.

          Try clicking left and right mouse buttons simultaneously.

          • by bheer (633842)

            Does not work (Opera 10.5, Windows XP)

            And what's this obsession with the middle mouse button anyway? Wake-up call: most PCs don't have a real 3rd mouse button. Certainly most laptops don't. The fact that the mouse-wheel can be used as one might appeal to the gamer/geek demographic, but it's really not as comfortable as a, you know, real button (explained here [slashdot.org]).

        • by fucket (1256188)
          On my laptop, I remap that stupid context menu button to middle click. It falls right under my pinky when I'm using the touchpad.
      • Because it's not really a button. The reason I've never gotten into middle-"clicking" anything is because it takes like 3 times the normal amount of effort to make sure you're pressing it straight down, instead of scrolling it. And God help you if you have one that you can tilt side-to-side.
        • by sznupi (719324)

          So just buy a mouse where it is a button, just above the scrollwheel?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hkmwbz (531650)

      Now if only they'd add an option to make the keyboard/mouse options more like Firefox/Chrome

      Preferences, Advanced, Shortcuts?

      • by bheer (633842)

        > Preferences, Advanced, Shortcuts?

        Please, show me how to open a new tab in the background with ctrl-click, like Firefox/Chrome/Safari/IE8. I have tried and it's been a bit difficult [blogspot.com] so far.

        • On a Mac, command click opens a new tab in the foreground with command click and in the background with command shift click. I'm pretty sure you can just use ctrl shift click on Windows/Linux.
          • by bheer (633842)

            I use FF/Chrome/Safari regularly. I'd love to use Opera more. But I can't because of a limitation in their keyboard customization system. And it's hilarious to see Opera fans defend Opera by saying "they don't see" why a particular industry-standard shortcut is important.

            When the top 4 browsers in terms of market share all use ctrl click, Opera can either play ball or be the browser that has the dorky 'different' shortcuts. With the latter strategy, I see its market share going down, not up.

    • by ZERO1ZERO (948669)
      Now if only they'd add an option to make the keyboard/mouse options more like Firefox/Chrome, I could use this as my default browser.

      Please, no. Either A) Use those browsers or B) request those browsers to be more like Opera.

      • GP is absolutely correct. Opera is already a browser that lets you do complete customization of all keyboard shortcuts, and a lot of mouse shortcuts - it's one of its major features, and it's worth it. But the fact that, for all that, something like Ctrl+click on a link is not customizable, is just stupid. And I say this as someone who's been using Opera as a primary browser since 2001.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Backward Z (52442)

      I've been using Opera for some time now but I've become very attached to many of their other shortcut keys.

      Most indispensable is going forward/back by holding left click and right clicking and vice versa. It's just so intuitive. I catch myself trying to use it constantly in file explorer.

      That's what I want. Customizable Windows shortcut keys. Why not?

    • by richlv (778496)

      hmm. it's ctrl+shift-click in opera, that i'm very used to. given that ctrl and shift ar one above the other on most keyboards (yeah, i know smaller laptops like eees have it a bit different), that's hardly an issue.

      as an opera user since versions... hard to recall, but version 5 was definitely my primary browser - i have two large issues with opera right now :)

      1. i can't add a field in ui that would take value entered, add it to an url and open that url in a new tab. that's very limiting - bet i could get

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Isn't #2 generally a good thing, considering potential security implications? (and Opera does rather well here, I prefer to keep it that way)

        • by richlv (778496)

          it is... if i configure it that way. if i have it set to most aggressive caching and have option "always reload https pages" switched off, i want the damn software to obey the configuration. if it's not, i'm annoyed.

          • by sznupi (719324)

            Hm, switching off "always reload https pages" is not the same as instructing it to not reload them under any circumstances. Could it be possible that those htpps pages you frequent trigger reloading somehow?

            • by richlv (778496)

              that's an interesting idea, actually - i suspect that could be done by javascript then ?
              thanks, i'll try to test this theory, if it indeed is some other method causing this, i'll scream at webapp developers instead ;)

  •   Go to http://www.opera.com/browser/download/?os=windows&ver=10.50b1&local=y [opera.com]
    to download as navigating from the info page on the features in 10.50 Beta returned an error

    Looking forward to seeing how this performs as i've been using Opera for 10 years but FF have been my go-to browser
    for the last 3.

  • Z1-Glass (Score:3, Informative)

    by BountyX (1227176) on Friday February 12, 2010 @06:24PM (#31121562)
    If your trying the beta out, try the Z1-Glass theme, its pretty spiffy. I think it looks better than the default skin. You can download it by pressing Shift + F12, Select "Find More Skins" radio, then sort by Top Rated tab.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BountyX (1227176)
      I forgot to mention, to really feel the speed of the new Vega engine, you should set Opera to draw instantly. By default, its set to draw after 1 second. To change this, hit ALT + P, Advanced Tab, Select Browsing on the list off to the left. The first combo box under the Loading text label contains the "Draw Instantly" value. Select it and save. There should be a noticeable increase in perceived page load.
    • Congratulations, you have successfully melted the PC of the unfortunate author of that skin by Slashdotting.

      (if it's you, then you should check yours ASAP!)

  • The new Chrome-like minimal UI, the javascript. VERY slick. Loving this new version. Keep up the great work Opera :)
  • by TodLiebeck (633704) on Friday February 12, 2010 @06:52PM (#31121940) Homepage

    Love the new UI, and really appreciate the option of another well done browser. But they still refuse to fix a trivial CSS bug which has horrible consequences for AJAX apps.

    Just go to this page, and resize your browser with the vertical (not horizontal) handle.
    http://echo.nextapp.com/content/test/operacss/ [nextapp.com]

    (This is very hard/impossible to do on a mac, as they don't really have one).

    Unfortunately the bug is not limited to resizing with the vertical handle...it manifests itself in other ways. It seems the browser is incorrectly measuring/reporting the vertical size of elements, and sometimes uses this data internally (as in the case of this test).

    Full thread is here:
    http://my.opera.com/community/forums/topic.dml?id=250572 [opera.com]

    And one of the Ajax apps that experiences more serious failures as a result: http://demo.nextapp.com/ [nextapp.com]

  • It's is also noteworthy that John Hicks of http://hicksdesign.co.uk/ [hicksdesign.co.uk] the guy that created the Firefox logo is now lead UI designer in Opera
  • SunSpider is a "core JS benchmark". It does not focus on interaction with the renderer (which is what JS is used for in >95% of web pages), it basically tests JS performance as a computing platform. While this is likely to become more relevant in the future, it's still not a good measure of how a browser's JS performance impacts user experience.

    Opera 9 was quite slow at running SunSpider and yet reacted faster than any browser of its time to user interaction in most pages, simply because it was faster "w

    • by KillShill (877105)

      And by cynical you mean someone who understands that in the business world, dirty tactics often work and by you realizing this, call yourself a cynic rather than someone who can see what's really going on.

  • But... (Score:1, Troll)

    by deanston (1252868)
    If the css implementation is shite, it is still shite. Can't make up for the visual suckiness with faster js.

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