File Under: Browsers

Opera 11.60 Beta Offers ‘Double Rainbows’

Get your double rainbow on with Opera 11.60

Opera software has rolled out the first beta release of Opera 11.60, a coming update for the company’s flagship desktop web browser.

If you’d like to test the new beta, head on over to the Opera beta downloads page and grab a copy. Note that, unlike some early Opera releases, this beta will overwrite your existing copy so be sure to make a backup of your user data before testing.

The last time we checked in with Opera was to look at the Opera 12 alpha. It would seem logical to assume the next release would be Opera 12 beta, but it isn’t. Opera is reportedly still working on version 12, but in the mean time the company wanted to go head and release the features that were ready today. As such much of the focus in this release is on new HTML and CSS support.

For example, Opera now supports the new HTML5 parsing algorithm. In addition to all the new elements for developers, HTML5 specifies new rules for how browsers should handle incorrect code. Previously browsers decided for themselves what to do when something was wrong in a page (and most still do, but eventually that will change).

There’s also support for the HTML5 custom protocol handlers in this release, which means you can tell Opera to open email compose windows in Gmail or other webmail clients. Opera is also now the first browser to officially support HTML5 microdata. Developers can now query microdata attributes like itemprop or itemscope via the JavaScript interface.

Opera 11.60 expands Opera’s already strong CSS support by adding CSS 3 radial gradients. Bruce Lawson, Web Evangelist at Opera Software, put together a whimsical little double rainbow demo page to show off the new CSS radial gradient support in 11.60. Just view source to see how the code works (note that Opera is the only browser that supports radial gradients, so you won’t see anything if you’re using something else). Also new on the CSS front is support for the CSS 4 image-rendering property, which allows you to tell the browser what scaling algorithm to use for background images, canvas elements, or border images.

Under the hood Opera claims that 11.60 will bring a slight speed boost, particularly on JavaScript heavy sites like Gmail. I didn’t notice anything too significant in my brief testing this morning, but then Opera was already the fastest browser around by most measures.

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