Opera has released a new beta version of its browser, adding the speedy SPDY network standard to the mix and promising developers many new options for creating extensions.
The Opera 12.10 beta, released on Tuesday, comes with three new application programming interfaces (APIs) for context menus, screenshots and resource-loading. The addition of SPDY should see some pages such as Gmail load faster than before.
Opera 12.10 also takes advantage of advances in both the Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. For Mountain Lion, the new Opera supports the Retina Display and notification centre, as well as social content-sharing. The updated browser also adds touch support for the upcoming Windows 8 and existing touch-capable Windows 7 machines.
"During the planning of Opera 12.10 we listened to the web developers," Opera desktop chief Krystian Kolondra said in a statement. "The web developer community is thriving like never before and we want to support that in every way we can. With the new APIs, developers are better suited than ever to create extensions that give users of Opera for desktop a unique browsing experience."
Rich extensions and more standards
Context menus are the menus that are brought up with a right-click. The new API will let developers make their browser extensions work with these menus, so that users can highlight text and, for example, see it translated using the extension.
SPDY is a relatively new network standard that works alongside the HTTP protocol to enable faster page downloads. Faster downloads have always been a priority for Opera, whose Turbo technology helps through the use of compression, but SPDY adds extra speed by organising the sub-resources within a page so that only one connection per client is necessary.
Firefox has used SPDY since June and Chrome has supported it since last year, but it is now a feature of Opera as well. "In Opera 12.10, SPDY is turned on by default and works with webpages that support the standard," the Norwegian browser firm said, noting that Twitter and Gmail are among such sites.