Opera Software has just released the first beta version of Opera 11.10 Barracuda. Users who have followed the development on the Opera Desktop team blog know that Barracuda introduces several new features. The feature that has been talked about the most is the new and improved Speed Dial display on new tab pages.
Opera has made the Speed Dial page more dynamic. The web page previews have been improved quality wise, and they can now show live contents for websites next to static contents.
Speed Dial fits the browser window dynamically now to make use of all the free space. Add to that the removal of the hard limit of Speed Dial entries and you got a dynamic listing of all your favorite sites on the new tab page.
Take a look at the video below to see the new Speed Dial in action.
But Speed Dial is just one of the improved features of Opera 11.10. Support for web standards has been improved.
The developers have for instance added support for linear CSS3 gradients and multiple columns, as well as the WebP image format that promises smaller file sizes than jpg images while retaining a similar quality level (A test study by Google of 900k images saw an average size reduction of about 40%)
Opera Software started to make changes to the user interface by switching to the new format YAML which promises to get rid of some of the current user interface limitations. Check out one of the snapshot posts over at the Opera Desktop blog for additional information on that subject.
A final change is the added option to install browser plug-ins seamlessly and automatically. Only Adobe's Flash Plugin is supported for now, with the likelihood that additional plugins will follow in later releases.
Opera displays a notification at the top of the page that informs you about the missing plugin. It reads: "Plug-in missing: You need to install Adobe Flash Player to view this page". Options available are to discard the notification, install the plug-in or select never for this plug-in to stop notifications for that plugin to appear in the browser.
A click on Install Plug-in launches the Adobe Flash Player installer which downloads and installs the plugin automatically.
Opera 11.10 shows great promise. You should however remember that it is a beta release and as such not suited for productive environments. Interested users can download the Opera 11.10 Beta from Opera Next.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.