I’m writing this post using the first Alpha of Opera 9.5, which was released today — just in time for me to play with it a little before I go on holiday! I won’t have time to do an in-depth study of it just yet, so here are my initial thoughts.
At first glance, it looks pretty similar to 9.2; the UI has had a few tweaks, but nothing major. I’m using the shared-QT version on Ubuntu, and it fits nicely into the OS’ look and feel; but then, I never had any complaints about the last version.
Of the new features, I think the History Search is my favourite; countless times I’ve scrolled through lists trying to find a page I’d viewed previously, looking at titles which aren’t descriptive of the new content. Opera holds page text in the memory too, which makes searching for keywords a snap; a nice feature, well done Opera team. Which will be the first browser to copy them?
The Synchronise feature sounds nice, although I’ve yet to try it out; I don’t have a My Opera account, and I only have one machine to look at it with at the moment.
I’m pretty excited about the new CSS and HTML implementation; it’s now the second engine, after WebKit, to correctly implement all the CSS3 selectors. It doesn’t look as if the latest version of Gecko will be able to say likewise, which is a shame.
My only disappointment was to see that the @font-face method of displaying web fonts was not implemented; after Håkon’s recent championing of the subject, I’d expected to see them break ground with this. Still, they’ve stated that new features could make it into the final release, so I’ll cross my fingers on that one.
There are only two things that stop me from using Opera as my main browser: the rich add-on architecture of Firefox (Opera’s Widgets just aren’t as useful), and a decent suite of developer tools. They say the latter is in development, so if they could just improve the former, I’d be a convert.
And with that, I’m off on holiday!