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Opera 11.50 "Swordfish" Developer Extensions

Opera has released the 11.50 edition of its browser; code-named "Swordfish", the new product comes with some interesting developer-focused options. Back in 2007, Opera introduced its Speed Dial "favorite bookmark" functionality — in Opera 11.10 (released a couple of months ago), the company also added hooks for developers to control the way their site looks when rendered in a Speed Dial cell.

In Opera 11.50, the company says it's taking a step further with Speed Dial extensions: Developers can now render live content in a Speed Dial cell, allowing several thought-provoking use cases. Opera invites programmers to look at its extensions catalog and play around with some of the recently submitted Speed Dial extensions.

From 11.50 onward, extensions can now share cookies with the browser. This means that Opera extensions can interact with APIs and websites that would otherwise require extra authentication. This is done through an explicit <access> setting in the extension's config.xml, says the company.

"Our browser engine has now been bumped up to Presto 2.9.168, which means there are a number of new standards features, compatibility fixes, and performance tweaks — among other things, we've improved our CSS parsing performance by 10 to 15%," says Opera.

Also new is the classList API. Using classList, developers can add, remove, or toggle a class on an element, without the need for complex regular expressions or libraries.

Opera 11.50 now comes with support for HTML5 Session History & Navigation, which allows developers to control and manipulate the session history of a particular browsing context.

The company has also recently updated the mobile iteration of its browser with two product releases: Opera Mini 6.1 (for Android, Blackberry, J2ME, and Symbian) and Opera Mobile 11.1 (for Android and Symbian).

While Opera Mini 6.1 is primarily a security and stability release, Opera Mobile 11.1 has been updated to use the Opera Presto 2.8 rendering engine. This boosts the browser's capabilities with a whole host of new HTML5 and CSS 3 features — many of which only just made their official desktop debut in the Opera 11.50 release two days ago.

According to Opera, "The CSS Multi-column Layout Module specification allows designers to finally create complex, print-like multi-column layouts without having to abuse table markup. The HTML5 session history and navigation API allows for new ways to programmatically control and manipulate the browser's session history, save a web application's state, and handle user interactions (without breaking things like the back button)."

Finally, the W3C File API allows web applications to open, read, and manipulate data inside local files — all completely client-side. Opera Mobile 11.1, like Opera 11.50 for the desktop, currently has partial support for this API.

NB: This is not an exhaustive list of new features, this is simply meant to provide a newsworthy overview. Programmers can easily find out more from Opera's developer portal if they wish.

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