Opera Software has released Opera 9.6, the latest version of its browser, which features improved performance, convergence and communication capabilities. But most of all, for developers, the new release provides greater compatibility and stability.
In an Oct. 8 blog post about looking under the hood of the new Opera release, David Storey, Opera's chief Web opener and one of the company's developer evangelists, said:
"What can [a] developer expect from this release? This release focuses on stability ... Developers will not have to learn new tricks or find and work around newly introduced bugs. Instead the stability of the browser has been improved, key bugs have been fixed, security holes have been patched and the performance has improved."
However, Storey also said, "The main changes for this release were more consumer focused, and include features such as improved Opera Link support to now sync typed history and custom searches." In addition, "A feed preview has now been added for RSS and Atom feeds, and a scroll marker has been added to aid the user when scrolling to see where they left off," Storey said.
Meanwhile, for developers, "The first thing to note is that a core rendering engine version has been added to the User Agent string," Storey said. "This was done to help developers that need to detect the same version of the rendering engine across all Opera products, which may not have matching product version numbers. This is particularly important for when working around bugs or for library developers."
According to Opera Software, "Opera 9.6 enhances the performance and flexibility of Opera's built-in e-mail client, while adding new features to Opera's free browser-synchronization service, Opera Link." The expanded Opera Link enables users to take their favorite search engines and browser history wherever they go. Opera Link also synchronizes notes taken in the Opera browser, bookmarks, Speed Dial and personal bar.
Opera Mail now includes a "low-bandwidth mode" to retrieve mails faster when bandwidth is limited. Opera Mail also has two new ways to manage e-mail conversations. Users can "keep an eye on important threads and contacts by following them, or ignore less important threads and contacts with a single click."
Opera 9.6 also features improvements to overall responsiveness and page loading, as well as adding previewed feeds so users can see an RSS feed's content before subscribing to it or bookmarking it.
Moreover, Storey drew attention to the international nature of the release:
"Something else worth noting is we've added support for a number of new languages. These include Indian languages such as Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, and Ukrainian, Estonian and Indonesian. Ukrainian and Indonesian are particularly interesting as they are two of the countries that are witnessing large growth in Opera users and Opera enjoys a large market share. Opera is doing very well in general in Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia. Hopefully Indonesia will kick start Opera growth in South East Asia, like Russia's growth seems to have helped in its neighboring countries. Opera's market share is certainly an order of magnitude higher than the often quoted 1 percent market share in these areas."
"We believe in making the Web available for people everywhere," Opera Software CEO Jon von Tetzchner said in a statement. "The people who use Opera need it to adapt to their needs and we're proud to continue that tradition today. Our improved e-mail client is now the ideal communication tool. Opera Link gives you more flexibility to take your personal browsing identity with you to any computer. The new Opera 9.6 gives more people around the world new reasons to choose Opera."
Opera 9.6 is available for Linux, Mac and Windows computers and ships in more than 38 languages. The Opera browser can be downloaded for free here.