I'm monitoring the development of the new Opera browser closely, not only because I'm interested in its progress but also because of nostalgic reasons.
The company maintains three releases channels, Stable, Next and Developer, and also the previous browser, even though it does not appear to be very high on the priority list anymore. It is very likely that it is maintained until Opera Software believes that the new browser is ready to replace it fully.
Opera 18 Developer has been updated just a moment ago by Opera Software. The new version introduces new features in the browser, and while that is the case, still lacks features that are important to members of the community.
The official Opera desktop team web blog highlights three of the changes in Opera 18 developer stream:
- Tabs can now be moved between windows on Mac and Windows.
- Theme support has been improved and is now enabled by default.
- Moved to a new engine version.
The full changelog that is linked on the page highlights other changes. The developers have fixed several crashes, enabled Aura code on Windows, switched to WebP images in Discover, or improved DPI handling on Windows.
The same blog post offers information about new features that will land soon in Opera. This includes improvements on hard drive usage, custom searches by right-clicking on edit fields, enhancements to the Quick Access Bar, improvements to the browser's tab handling and more settings. In addition, Opera Link, the company's data synchronization product may land in Opera Dev in the coming two weeks.
Note: you can open opera://flags to enable some of the features that are still available - at least partially - but not yet ready for prime time. This includes the Quick Access Bar feature, allowing tabs to be moved between windows, or lazy session loading. The latter feature will only load the active tab when the browser restores a session on startup to speed up the load time of it.
No word yet on the long awaited Linux version of the new Opera browser or bookmarking support though.
Opera Software continues to work on the browser. It is still not clear when much requested features will land in the browser. The company seems to concentrate on features currently that many would consider essential, like moving tabs between the browser or themes support. Then again, bookmarking or a Linux version are also essential for many Internet users.