Breaking, Opera 11 Will Get Extensions

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 14, 2010
Updated • Dec 11, 2012

Who would have thought that? ESPEN ANDRÉ ØVERDAHL over at Opera has just revealed that the next big iteration of the Opera web browser will have extensions. Yes, extensions like Firefox or Google Chrome. That's probably the one major feature that is missing in Opera currently. Think of the possibilities for a moment. With extensions, it will be possible to port several of the most popular and important extensions to the browser, which will surely increase its popularity overall.

Will it have an impact on the browser's market share? If the implementation is as solid as the rest, then it likely will.

Opera in the same post have announced that a first alpha version of Opera 11 will be made available soon at this web address.

Here are additional information about Opera 11 extension support:

What are Opera Extensions?

Extensions in Opera is a way for you to easily add new functionality to your Opera browser experience. Developers can easily create extensions using open standards (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript) and supported APIs.

Extensions will be based on the W3C Widget specifications and this is being considered for an Open Standard effort.

Will Opera Extensions be similar to extensions in other browsers?

Yes, Opera Extensions will be similar in some ways and we have tried to make it easy to port extensions from certain browsers.

We are committed to open web standards and this is an important part of our strategy, so if you find us deviating from other solutions out there, this might be why.

What does an extension look like?

Some extensions have user interface elements, but not all. An extension can for example add a button next to the Google Search field with a popup menu when you click on it. Other extensions don't have user interfaces at all, but run in the background.

How will I install Opera Extensions?

Once you have Opera 11 installed you can click on an extension and a small Install-window will appear. Click 'Install' and you're done. You can also drag and drop an extension onto Opera Desktop if you have an extension stored on your computer.

What kind of APIs will you support?

With the first iteration of Opera Extensions we are focusing on open web standards and 'getting it right'. Our alpha release supports injectable JavaScript, callouts, certain UI items and a basic Tabs and Windows API.

How can I get Opera Extensions?

Opera Extensions is not available yet. Once Opera 11 is out, you will be able to fully enjoy and use Opera Extensions.

Where can I find developer information on extensions?

Once Opera 11 Alpha is out, you will be able to find all the information you need to develop and publish extensions on our developer site Dev Opera.

Where can I find Opera 11?

Opera 11 Alpha will be made available soon at

Opera extensions may finally make Opera a valid contender in the "browser wars". What's your opinion on it?


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  1. Tobey said on October 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Wow. Ground breaking, indeed… :-)

    IMHO extensions were the only thing holding Opera back on the market. I don’t see its market share skyrocketing anytime soon – let’s face it, a majority of users simply got used to Firefox or Chrome and their extensions because they were told these were the “cool” choices.
    Additionally, I’m not sure a majority of users are prepared for the complexity and versatility of this browser. But I can still see users appreciating Opera’s efforts in great numbers soon. After all, why use a slower and overall worse “alternative” :-D

    @Martin, ohnose: Hahah, nice comic, very handy :-D You guys are both right and wrong to an extent. From a wider perspective, you might see widgets performing what extensions do elsewhere although they are completely different technology…

    @MKR: Besides Opera core itself not being open source, everything else is pretty much as open and editable as it can get. Sure, you can’t import into other browsers what they simply don’t offer you to use, like notes for instance… Check out Rarst’s or Tamil’s blogs for some great tips and guides.

    1. MKR said on October 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm

      The last time I looked, I couldn’t find anything on Opera’s formats, and no Opera user I asked could point me in the right direction.

      Good to see it’s open, and enough people are aware of it to let people like me know. It’s been about two years since I looked.

      Is there a good editor available?

  2. Will said on October 15, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Like others, about damn time.

    Too late? Time shall tell.

  3. Lulu said on October 15, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Does Opera support Protected Mode (Low Integrity) like IE and Chrome?

    That is about my only real gripe with FF ATM

    1. TRY said on October 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm


      All I can say is that Opera has integrated AVG Anti-virus and Fraud and Malware Protection in it.
      When surfing on a web-site press Alt. + enter for verification.


      1. Lulu said on October 16, 2010 at 7:19 pm

        A/V is not something I rely on, in fact I’d probably disable it. However, by sandboxing (Protected Mode/Low Integrity) it helps to thwart 0-day exploits by minimizing the areas that a browser can read/write to.
        While I personally use SandboxIE, it’s tough to recommend it for use by the average Joe. Being that Firefox runs with Medium Integrity (v4 too), I currently recommend Chrome to friends and family.

        Either way I’ll definitely keep an eye on this project.

      2. MKR said on October 15, 2010 at 5:44 pm

        AVG does that with every browser.

  4. MKR said on October 14, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    @Rarst: I mean outside of Opera. I can use any SQLite editor to do things with Firefox and Chrome data, or write my own.

    1. ohnose said on October 14, 2010 at 11:00 pm

      Yes, everything can be viewed outside of Opera. File formats are either plain text, or the file format is documented. There are external viewers as well.

  5. MM said on October 14, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Have never used Opera until recently. Not bad but it needs the extension addon ability and much greater controls than it has now.

  6. b1k3r4ck said on October 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I’m in the same boat as Yoav. As soon as I’m able to find replacements for my FF extensions I’m all over Opera again (haven’t used it regularly since the version 3.0/4.0 days)

  7. Joseph said on October 14, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    About time. They should have done this YEARS ago.

    I was a long time user of Opera starting with early 3.21 releases. Several years ago I switched to Firefox because of the extensions.

    Like Yoav, I’m willing to give Opera a try but there are certain extensions that I have come to rely on and won’t give up. It’s also a big reason why I haven’t fully switched to Chrome.

    Can’t wait for the new version. Hopefully the extension developers get the tools they need to create some useful addins.

  8. TRY said on October 14, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Breaking news indeed! A real game changer.

    Opera 11 will make history.Well FF and Chrome it was nice knowing you but your time has come.
    I can’t wait to try the stable release of Opera 11.
    Remember Opera has always stood high in terms of Speed,Privacy and Security and now with extensions it will truly be a leader among all browsers.
    Long live Opera :D


  9. Yoav said on October 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    This could be a game changer. opera is definitely a faster browser than firefox but I use so many extension in FF that opera is almost useless for me.
    I would certainly use opera if it had the FF extensions, no questions.

  10. MKR said on October 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I’ll still need open formats before I can use it. I don’t like having my bookmarks and stuff locked up in a proprietary browser.

    1. Rarst said on October 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      Huh? Not sure what you mean by “stuff” but bookmarks in Opera are stored in plain text and export had been available for years (I can’t even remember how many versions back).

      Proprietary core is indeed approach of their choice. But Opera had never ever attempted to lock in users’ data.

      1. Rarst said on October 14, 2010 at 10:39 pm


        History can be viewed, searched and cleaned. Not sure about edited, never bothered to look into that.

        Cookies can be viewed, searched, edited and cleaned.

      2. MKR said on October 14, 2010 at 6:01 pm

        Everything. Cookies, history, etc. I like the ability to see what’s being stored and modify it if I choose.

  11. Rarst said on October 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I think they waited for right performance capabilities. A trend in extensions seems to be making a lot of use of JavaScript. Previous versions of Opera were fast overall but not really blazing fast with scripts.

    Now that emphasis in browser development is on JS and latest Opera engine is crazy fast with scripts they can afford to implement extensions without much worrying about their poor performance.

    Firefox had it backwards – they had it crawling slow because of extensions and now are trying to speed that up.

  12. Transcontinental said on October 14, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Now this is breaking news or I’ll eat my hat ! Seems obvious that this will modify the market share, but also makes me wonder why is this decided only now ? Is it technically, strategically or philosophically related ?

    1. Martin said on October 14, 2010 at 11:06 am

      My opinion is that they came to the conclusion that widgets are to limited in many regards. Do not get me wrong, they have their advantages but extensions can be run in the browser, without another window open. And they have probably realized that extensions are what made Firefox so great, and that Chrome is benefiting from them as well.

      1. ohnose said on October 14, 2010 at 9:40 pm

        You can’t compare apples and oranges, as the saying goes.

        Widgets can’t be compared to extensions. They have widely different purposes. That’s just the way it is.

      2. Martin said on October 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm
      3. ohnose said on October 14, 2010 at 8:28 pm

        No, it is not fair to compare completely unrelated things.

        That’s like saying that if Opera added popup blocking when Firefox added extensions, popup blocking is comparable to extensions.

        Extensions are nothing like widgets.

      4. Martin said on October 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm

        You can compare whatever you want. But lets keep it at that, this discussion is pointless.

      5. hello said on October 14, 2010 at 12:39 pm

        “My opinion is that they came to the conclusion that widgets are to limited in many regards. Do not get me wrong, they have their advantages but extensions can be run in the browser, without another window open.”

        The comparison between widgets and extensions is flawed.

        Widgets are not supposed to be like extensions. They are designed to be completely different things.

        Widgets are standalone applications.

        Extensions are browser add-ons.

        They are not the same thing, and one does not exclude the other.

        Extensions have got nothing to do with widgets.

      6. Martin said on October 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm

        I understand that. But it is still fair to compare extensions and widgets, considering that Opera decided to implement widgets, while Firefox decided to go for extensions instead. I’m purely talking from a user’s point of view.

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