Opera 10 Alpha Shows Off Standards Support

Click here to see screenshotsThe Opera web browser, while trailing behind Firefox and IE in market share, is well known for being innovative and often the first to have features that are later found in other browsers. But if users are expecting to see lots of cool new features and capabilities in the recently released alpha of Opera 10, they may be disappointed. That's because, like most alpha releases, the alpha of Opera 10 is focused mainly on developers and, especially in the interface, has little or no new features. That doesn't mean that when Opera 10 eventually releases that it won't have innovative new features. But for now, this alpha release is mainly about showcasing the new Presto 2.2 browser engine and implementing support for lots of cutting edge web standards.

Click here to see screenshots
Opera10a1.jpg
The Opera Web browser, while trailing behind Firefox and Internet Explorer in market share, is well known for being innovative and often the first to have features that are later found in other browsers.

But if users are expecting to see lots of cool new features and capabilities in the recently released alpha of Opera 10, they may be disappointed. That's because, like most alpha releases, the alpha of Opera 10 is focused mainly on developers and, especially in the interface, has little or no new features.

That doesn't mean that when Opera 10 eventually releases that it won't have innovative new features. But for now, this alpha release is mainly about showcasing the new Presto 2.2 browser engine and implementing support for lots of cutting-edge Web standards.

As a way of showcasing its potential standards support, the alpha of Opera 10 scored a 100 on the advanced Acid3 standards test from the Web Standards Project. Currently the only other browser to achieve this score is WebKit.

From a developer standpoint there is some interesting new CSS support in Opera 10 alpha, including support for Web Fonts, which make it possible to use a wide variety of fonts in a Web page simply by pointing at an online font resource.

From a usability standpoint, the new features in the Opera 10 alpha are, somewhat surprisingly, rare examples of Opera introducing features that are already found in competing browsers. These include in-line spell checking (which worked well in tests), the option to choose rich HTML or plain text on a per e-mail basis and automatic updates (which I haven't been able to test as there haven't been any new releases since I began testing).

For regular users, there isn't much of a reason to try out Opera 10 alpha, though site developers should definitely test it out. Those wishing to try out the alpha of Opera 10 can find it at www.opera.com/browser/next/