By Craig Buckler

What’s New in Opera 11.60

By Craig Buckler

Unlike certain browser vendors I could mention, Opera makes an effort to add shiny new features when they release an update. Version 11.60 is no exception although few users will notice changes unless they’re using:

  • Opera’s built-in email client — it’s been redesigned, or
  • the address field — it has a new quick bookmarking/speed-dial star icon

Apart from various bug fixes, all the exciting enhancements are under the hood in the Presto 2.10 rendering engine. Developers: prepare to tinker…

New HTML5 Parser

Opera implements the W3C HTML Parsing specification. It defines a set of parsing rules — for valid and invalid HTML — to ensure all browsers produce the same DOM. This will improve website rendering compatibility although we’ll need to wait until all vendors follow suit.

ECMAScript 5.1 Support

Opera 11.60 has full support for the ECMAScript 5.1 specification.

Microdata DOM API

Microdata attributes such as itemprop and itemscope can be queried using JavaScript. For example, assume a page contains contact details defined using the person definition:

<div itemscope itemtype="">
	<p itemprop="name">Craig Buckler</p>
	<p>URL: <a href="" itemprop="url"></a></p>

We can interrogate this data using JavaScript:

// fetch the first person in document
var person = document.getItems("")[0];

// show first name defined
alert("This article was written by " +["name"][0].textContent);

CSS rem Units

CSS rem units calculate the size of a font relative to the root rather than containing elements. The property can be used in CSS or SVG.

Radial Gradients

Opera now offers radial gradient and repeated-radial-gradient to supplement linear gradient support. The syntax:

-o-radial-gradient(position, size and shape, color stops);

for example:

-o-radial-gradient(50% 50%, 50px 50px, #000, #fff)

CSS4 image-rendering Property

This property specifies which scaling algorithms should be used for images, backgrounds, canvas elements, and border images, e.g. crisp-edges, optimize-contrast, nearest-neighbor, optimizespeed, optimizequality etc.

Better HTML5 <audio> and <video> Support

The following attributes/properties have been implemented:

  • preload — can be set to “none” (minimizes server traffic), “metadata” (permits fetching of track lists, durations, etc.) or “automatic” (can optimistically download the entire media resource).
  • buffered — the time range of the media
  • seekable — the seekable time range for the media
  • muted — mutes audio output

Custom Protocol and Content Handlers

You’ve probably used “” or “tel:01-234-567890” in links to launch default email clients or telephony applications. Opera now supports the new navigator.registerProtocolHandler and navigator.registerContentHandler objects which allows you to create your own protocols and define handlers. For more information, refer to this DEV.OPERA article.

DOM4 Events

Like recent webkit builds, Opera 11.60 allows you to use the following DOM4 APIs:

  1. synthetic events: fire a UI event from code, e.g. pressing a key, focusing on an input field, moving the mouse over an element, etc.
  2. custom events: defining your own event types, e.g. a “die” event when a game character is shot.

Speculative Parsing

Under normal circumstances, browsers delay downloads and rendering until loaded scripts have been executed. Speculative parsing continues to load resources such as images and CSS files in readiness for rendering — this can boost performance on script-heavy pages.

Graceful XML Failure

Rather than show an “XML parsing failed” error, Opera will now attempt to render badly-formatted XML (XHTML) documents as HTML — even when they’re served with the application/xhtml+xml MIME type. While this will fix many rendering problems, you can switch it off in Opera’s config panel.

Even better for those feeling festive, Bruce Lawson has sung a Christmas Carol about the changes.

Opera 11.60 is available for most platforms at

  • The mail redesign took me completely by surprise and is taking a bit of getting used to! What also took me aback was that as part of the upgrade Opera added several links to my speed dial without asking. Including Amazon and (urgh) Facebook ( I can’t remember what the others were; I deleted them immediately). They must need cash or something.

    • You’re right Veronica – I had a half a dozen extra speed dial links too. I think that’s fair enough for a first install, but it’s a little naughty when doing an upgrade.

    • ghhhn

      I didn’t get any new speed dials on the computers I’ve been updating.

      Are you using the bookmark/speed dial sync?

      Also, something like 1/3 of Opera’s total income is pure profit and they have lots of cash in the bank, so I’m not exactly sure that they are desperate for money…

  • CSS4!?

    • Yep – don’t expect decent cross-browser support just yet!

  • Opera keeps up to speed pretty well – I’m continually impressed with this browser.

    Chrome has been continually adding some nice features too – not as user friendly as Opera, but if you get past that it’s hard to compete with.

  • James

    Unfortunately it seems to have broken the “check all mail accounts” button (on my mother’s machine and mine)…

  • After upgrading in Linux Mint 9 I only had 4 items on the speed dial, one of which I can’t remember was onlinebooking dot com (tourism-related). May it be that they also count your current speed dial items and add new ones based on a ratio? That would be kind of geeky. :P

    Anyway, no actual harm done and I must say I’m glad to find such good news about Opera. Strangely enough I can’t move to Opera because I don’t feel comfortable enough with it like Firefox managed to grab me from the IE user-base a long time ago but it’s like a breath of fresh air to have some developers actually inventing features instead of copying from others.

    Why Opera continues to fail at winning large numbers of new users is beyond my understanding. God knows I lived through many bugs and issues with Firefox and it still is my favourite. Is Opera cursed or just poorly marketed?

    • ghhhn

      Opera doesn’t have Google or Microsoft’s monopoily, that’s what.

      It’s big in some parts of the world, though, like Eastern Europe.

      • ghhhn

        That was supposed to say “monopoly.”

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