The day at last came, when one of the world’s fastest browser, Opera gets the much wanted feature, support for extensions. Even though Opera is one of the most customizable browser, yet its lack of support for extensions till Opera 10 was like the missing puzzle piece for Opera users. Now, Opera with the release of Opera 11 alpha has added this missing piece. Opera browser is unique in many ways and has its own fan base. Many of the modern features, like tabs, speed dial, integrated web search, data synchronize, etc that are now defacto for almost all browsers today were first seen in Opera.
As of now, Opera has 17 extensions available for testers of the Opera 11 alpha version. Opera extensions are installed by clicking on the Install button, available from the extensions website, then by clicking OK in the prompt that is displayed. Opera 11 extensions does not need any browser restart after installation, they are immediately available and functional.
Once installed, managing extensions is very easy. Simply clicking on Menu > Extensions > Manage Extensions opens up a list of all installed extensions, with options to disable or uninstall them. This process does not need a restart either, which is very comfortable and similar to how Google Chrome handles extensions. Soon, Opera will add support for auto-updating extensions. Also, the extensions do not seem to have any options to configure them at this point. It is however likely that this will be changed in upcoming versions.
One of the unique feature of Opera 11 alpha which I like the most is including an option to enable plug-ins only on demand. This feature is especially useful when you want to have plug-ins such as Flash content load only when clicked on and helps speeding up browsing on computers that have difficulty handling lots of plug-in content. Opera keeps this feature disabled by default, but you can activate it from Menu > Options > Advanced > Content > Enable plug-ins only on demand.
Below is the list of extensions available at the time of writing:
- Bit.ly Extension – Shorten URLs using the Bit.ly URL shortening service
- Delicious Extension – Save on delicious
- Edit the Page – Edit the page like a WYSIWYG editor
- External Scripts – noscript, noscript, script, external, bs-harou
- FaceChat – Facebook Chat from your browser
- FastestTube – YouTube Video Downloader, download any video from YouTube
- Mouse trail – This extension show red tail behind cursor in mouse gestures
- Opera Configurator – Full control of your opera settings just 1 click away
- Opera to Phone – Adds a button to Opera that lets you seamlessly push links, maps, YouTube videos, phone numbers and text to copy to the clipboard directly to your Android device
- Reddited – Has this page been on Reddit?
- Slashdotty – Hide Slashdot side blocks you don’t need
- StumbleUpon – Discover the best of the Web
- Translate – Automagically translate foreign web pages into English
- VideoFullscreen – View HTML5 videos in full-screen
- YR.no forecast – No bells and whistles, just your forecast, right in your browser. Simple. Clean. Efficient
- miniFeed – Facebook feed in a click
- Ð¯Ð½Ð´ÐµÐºÑ.ÐŸÐ¾Ð³Ð¾Ð´Ð° – ÐŸÐ¾Ð³Ð¾Ð´Ð° Ð² Ð´ÐµÑÑÑ‚ÐºÐ°Ñ… Ð³Ð¾Ñ€Ð¾Ð´Ð¾Ð² Ð¼Ð¸Ñ€Ð° (available only in Russian Language)
With extensions available, it is only a matter of time until all popular Firefox add-ons and Google Chrome extensions get ported to Opera. It will be great when LastPass gets ported to Opera. At this moment Google Chrome (Canary build) is my personal favorite browser. Opera 11 alpha looks very promising and when the final is released I may shift to Opera!
As you can see in the extensions list above and how Opera handles extensions, Opera Software did a good job, although most of these features are available in Google Chrome. In Opera not having to restart the browser when installing or uninstalling extensions, just like Google Chrome is a big plus point. Mozilla Firefox also wants to do the same but that may take a while, till then I am happy with Chrome and now with Opera.
Other new notable new features of Opera 11 are:
A new mail panel gives you control over the order in which your accounts and mail items show up. You can just drag items where you want them. You can also now create folders for organizing your mail and news feeds. A smart behavior is now implemented that can show the mail panel when you are using it, and hide it when you leave a mail tab.
A new bookmarks bar can be enabled that has replaced the personal bar. This conveniently located toolbar allows quick access to your favorite bookmarks.
To offer the latest support for rich, dynamic web applications, Opera 11 alpha supports HTML5 server-sent events and websockets. Server-sent events allow a server to push notifications and new content to the browser in real-time, while websockets allow for sophisticated communication within web applications that can allow for rich next-generation web applications and multiplayer games.
Have you tried Opera 11 alpha yet? What are your thoughts after using it? Let me know through the comments below.