Opera Software has managed to push through the final build of Opera 10.5 for Windows, just in time for the EU browser choice page. The accelerated development process resulted in a phenomenally fast development cycle – more than a dozen snapshots and 2 betas were released in February with five Release Candidate builds being released within (approximately) 36 hours.
Opera 10.5 is a significant improvement over Opera 10. Major changes are present on the surface as well as under the hood. In fact, Opera Software could have easily dubbed this as Opera 11. Let’s take a look at some of the major improvements in Opera 10.5.
Modern UI with Aero Support: Jon Hicks has done a marvellous job and Opera 10.5 looks sleek and stylish. The most obvious change is the Chrome-style merged tab bar and title bar. The menu bar is now hidden by default and instead all the options are offered through the O-menu. To be honest the red square looks rather odd and sticks out. The menu button employed by Opera in previous versions was better integrated but at the same time carried the risk of not being conspicuous enough. Perhaps Opera can try experimenting with an orb in future versions.
Windows 7 Integration: Opera 10.5 fully exploits various Windows 7 features including Jumplists and taskbar tabs. Regular readers of my blog are probably aware that I detest taskbar tabs because, quite frankly, it is a step in the wrong direction. However, the good news is that they can be disabled quite easily.
Private Browsing: I had been clamouring for this feature even before it became widespread. Quite obviously, I am thrilled that Opera has finally decided to incorporate it. As the name suggests, your browser won’t remember any browsing activity performed in private browsing mode. Obviously, the best use of this feature is for watching porn. Nevertheless, Opera officially touts other advantages such as, “Plan that vacation you always wanted, without tipping anyone off”. Opera’s implementation of private browsing is unique in the sense that, it supports private windows as well as private tabs and hence provides a greater degree of flexibility.
Native Widgets: Widgets in Opera 10.5 are installed as independent apps, which can work even when the browser isn’t running. Each widget is installed in its own folder and can be un-installed from Add Remove Programs applet.
Improved Dialogue Boxes: One of the most annoying aspects of Opera was that the dialogue boxes were in your face. They interfered with your browsing experience and were extremely annoying. Fortunately, this has been taken care of in Opera 10.5. All dialogue boxes are now displayed as page overlays. This allows you to switch tabs or windows while the dialog is still displayed, without any interruption of your browsing.
Improved Find In Page, Address Bar and Search Bar: As I mentioned earlier, Opera Software has put in a lot of effort to refine the user interface and the positive effects are visible everywhere. Find (or In page Search) now dims the screen while highlighting the keywords to make spotting the matches easier. Other aspects including Search Bar, Address Bar and Zoom button have also been improved.
Opera 10.5 uses Presto 2.5 and provides full support for CSS 2.1 along with significantly improved support for CSS 3 and HTML5 (including support for HTML5 video).
New Vega graphics library: Vega is Opera’s vector graphic library. Previously, Vega was used only for rendering SVG and canvas content. However, in Opera 10.5 it is being used for rendering the entire interface including the super sexy transition effects. At the moment, Vega is purely software powered but obviously, Opera plans on adding hardware acceleration in future versions.
The final release was extremely rushed, so it is likely that there would be bugs. You should be seeing Opera 10.51 within a few days. However, don’t let that put you off. Opera 10.5 is fairly stable and is quite ready for day-to-day work. Go ahead and try it. It quite possibly offers the best browsing experience out of the box.
Download Opera 10.5 for Windows
OS: Windows All