Opera 11 Alpha Ships

Opera Software delivers the alpha version of the new Opera 11 browser, which supports extensions.

Opera Software has released the first alpha of Opera 11, the next version of the company's desktop Web browser.

At its recent "Up North Web" event for press and analysts in Oslo, Norway, Opera previewed Opera 11 and announced that it will support extensions. The company on Oct. 21 released the initial version of the browser to the public.

Opera 11 is the first Opera browser to include extensions, browser add-ons made using Opera application programming interfaces (APIs) and Web standards like HTML5 and JavaScript. These additions bring a new level of customization. Opera 11 alpha is available from http://www.opera.com/browser/next/.

Extensions allow users to make their Web browser their own by adding features and functionality directly into the browser itself, rather than as stand-alone Opera Widgets or Opera Unite applications, Opera said in a press release on the release of the new browser. Developers can build extensions with the same Web standards they already use to build Websites and Web applications. And with only a few tweaks to their code, developers who have already authored a similar extension for other browsers will be able to share their creation with more than 50 million Opera desktop users.

In addition, as an added benefit for developers, Opera also launched an open developer API for the Opera Link browser synchronization service. Using this API, developers can integrate Opera Link data with other services online and build applications with libraries made available for Java and Python:

"Opera has always been customizable, but now you can personalize your browser in a new way through Opera extensions," said Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera, in a statement. "We take pride in introducing new features to the browser. Now, other developers can join in the fun and share their innovations with millions of people. Everyone using Opera 11 will be able to personalize their browser in myriad ways, which opens up so many possibilities for making the Web a more personal experience."

According to Opera, developers can make an extension in three easy steps:

1. Visit http://dev.opera.com/articles/view/introduction-to-opera-extensions/ for complete tutorials and a guide to getting started.

2. Code your extension using common Web standards, such as HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.

3. Upload to http://addons.labs.opera.com/.

And Opera checks all extensions before they are made public to ensure the catalog of extensions is free from defects and malicious software.