Opera Add-ons

Extensions, Unite and skins for the Opera desktop browser.

Increased focus on Opera extensions and ending support for Unite applications and Widgets

,

Today we are announcing the beginning of the end for two of our current Add-on platforms. Starting with the upcoming Opera 12 release, Opera Unite and Opera Widgets will be turned off by default for new users. The two Add-on platforms will be completely removed in a later release expected before the end of this year.

Over the last six years we have learned a lot from our work on Opera Widgets and Opera Unite, and when we later built the extension platform for Opera 11 we benefited significantly from this experience. Our extension technology has been a great success, with millions of monthly downloads, and so far completely dwarfing the other platforms. Recently, Opera also shipped a labs version with extension support in Opera Mobile, investigating a fully cross-platform extension environment.

Moving forward we want to focus on one high quality Add-on platform across our products, rather than spending resources on maintaining legacy systems. The know how and and technologies from Unite and Widgets are already being reused in other Opera products. An example is the recently announced UPnP support in Opera Dragonfly.

To provide your feedback about use cases for Opera Unite or Opera Widgets you want to transfer other Opera products, please visit to our forum.

If you are a Widget developer you might be interested in how to convert Widgets to extensions.

Catalog update!Jazz up Opera

Comments

Alexodius PrimeAleksOD Tuesday, April 24, 2012 3:28:45 PM

Good decision, in my opinion. yes

PengePenge4 Tuesday, April 24, 2012 3:29:13 PM

I loved Opera Unite. My acquaintances/clients using MSN, Skype, Google Talk and other IM services which I don't want to install. The Unite (Lounge) was a great solution for that problem. They didn't need to install anything (just a browser), they didn't need to open ports in the firewall in the workplace (only HTTP protocol) and they even didn't need to sign up to any website. (and I didn't need to struggle with stupid adware/spyware/autorun softwares, frequently update them, etc. just because I need to use IM occasionally.

Any alternative solution for this without Unite?

Any alternative solution for UJS Manager? When will support Opera the FileWriter API? Months? Years?

The File Inbox had also been useful, especially nowadays when the Megaupload and other (which isn't crap) was closed. I didn't use the rest, but I saw potential in the Gridnite if it would have been finished. sad

Alexodius PrimeAleksOD Tuesday, April 24, 2012 3:35:30 PM

Originally posted by Penge4:

The Unite (Lounge) was a great solution for that problem. They didn't need to install anything (just a browser), they didn't need to open ports in the firewall in the workplace (only HTTP protocol) and they even didn't need to sign up to any website. (and I didn't need to struggle with stupid adware/spyware/autorun softwares, frequently update them, etc. just because I need to use IM occasionally.


http://lmgtfy.com/?q=chat+online p

Also, Gmail chat is great, but you would need to sign up for Gmail for that (which is not that bad).

Xombiemubaidr Tuesday, April 24, 2012 3:45:02 PM

Good decision, now i think extension API support should be updated smile

Paul GeorgeWolfHook Tuesday, April 24, 2012 3:59:44 PM

Unite had so much potential, I remember reading about it the first day of launch. However I never found a consistant use for it and it remained a "cool feature" rather than being something I depended on.

Oh well, makes sense in the long-run to consolidate efforts.

Daned4n3 Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:04:24 PM

I hope you're working on a File API for extensions in Opera 12, otherwise some Unite functionality is not feasible.

Rafał KłysWhut Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:15:12 PM

And what about standalone widgets that I use, for example RMF RDS Widget - online radio stations player, or so simple but useful for me things like the Ruler?

Sharing photos with friends with Unite, only with friend, not also with some hosting company was also great.

I understand that widgets and unite where not so popular, but still, is it really so hard to just keep them working and available for anyone who want to use them? Is it so expensive for Opera that it is better to drop them and made me missing them:) ?

MossMan Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:15:50 PM

Ironically, I *did* use some Unite services and widgets but *never* extensions!

Wonder if my clock widget can be extensionised...

Rafał KłysWhut Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:16:59 PM

MossMan, me too, I use Widgets, Unite, and didn't find any useful extension for me. Ironic!

dżekdzek69 Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:20:10 PM

ending Unite? noooo sad
I'm running Unite 24/7, allowing friends to access my files (it's still the best solution to share a file to a friend - http://xkcd.com/949/ remember that?)

i bet we can't have everything sad

MossMan Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:23:51 PM

Originally posted by dzek69:

it's still the best solution to share a file to a friend



That's what I used it for a couple of times as well. Let's hope they migrate a lot of these Unite services into (properly supported!) extensions...

Rafał KłysWhut Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:25:03 PM

Here is checkbox to uncheck to make Widgets back, at least for now:

opera:config#Widgets|DisableWidgetRuntime

Here is checkbox to CHECK to make Unite back, at least for now:

opera:config#UserPrefs|EnableUnite

XenoAntaresXAntares Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:29:14 PM

CC from Desktopteam blog:

Too bad you didn't care enough about Widgets and Unite. The catalog had required a lot more of attention! There were a lot of Widgets, that didn't work correctly after Opera updates and API changes; same goes for Unite.

And that frustrates the more impulsive user. I fear for the same regarding Extensions! There ought to be a kind of quality assurance – or at least an API versioning approach.


For what it's worth, Unite-API might be capable to be integrated into the Extension's API, but functional equivalence would not be achievable without infrastructure on Opera's side of the web, ie without Opera's man-in-the-middle proxies to ensure NAT traversability.

I'd miss Unite a lot: Photo sharing without uploading everything, Media Streaming, File Inbox, Webcam, … (Always waited to be finally able to finish my implementation of a (net-to-localhost) forwarding http-server, but the TypedArray or Blob APIs have not been fully implemented on Unite-API's XHR-like interface until now… sad )

All in all I wouldn't as much blame the users for not adopting the features, than blame Opera for not putting in enough effort.


Re Voice: Looking forward for a state-of-the-art (3rd party) Voice implementation! ;p

pursanovd Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:35:42 PM

Pity that ur ending Unite sad Liked it so much..Sharing was sooo easy ..

max1c Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:40:17 PM

I think killing of Unite so soon is a bad decision...

Philee Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:55:44 PM

Originally posted by Whut:

simple but useful for me things like the Ruler?


Ruler was also what I've used frequently ;-)
I'm sure there's some standalone app as alternative though.

Keldian.-Keldian Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:58:27 PM

A true shame for those of us who trusted on the Widgets' and Unite's promises... good thing uncle Jon is not here to see this... at least from inside.

Tiago Wakabayashiozoratsubasa Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:33:46 PM

I'm very sad with that decision.

The Unite I used until now to share files of University and studies with my friends and it helped them a lot. A pity I couldn't use the Messenger app, it always have been bad. We are talking about a revolucionary tool, you should think better. If this wasn't so used is because didn't divulgued it enough, mainly for average users and making it easier to use. For what I have to do a dropbox account, for example if I have a MyOpera account I can use my own browser for that? It's easier.

The Voice for me had to have an improvement, a new voice packet, with different languages, more one option to surf on internet and to help anyone with deficiency and would need it.
Also, I liked to use the Voice to improve my English listening/speaking. For learning language is a good feature and point for Opera. You should to think it better.

Widgets, for me, the only interesting use is it would be used with no I need use the browser together. I'll miss to use the twitter widgets, they are a bit better that twitter extension. And unfortunately I won't have a chance to see a facebook version for it... I liked some games I played for it.

About removing features, and the torrent? and the Chat? Torrent need a improvement. If it has a torrent feature, I would like to use it no need another software only for that, seeding/leaching. The Chat need an improvement and bugfixes. A multiplataform (MSN, IRC, Yahoo, ICQ...) could become that feature into a long use one. I think is a nice solluction to grow up its use.

A curious question: and the Themes? Will they are at 12 version?

CrsCrsmsg Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:37:34 PM

Not a good decision no down
Opera Unite daily user here

Alternatiwealternatiwe Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:43:52 PM

One of the greatest features is about to go. sad
(I used file sharing, web server, photo sharing frequently)

icare Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:06:44 PM

I agree with Tiago Wakabayashi, the Bittorrent should have been dropped a long time ago.

Is there one person in the world to use it ?

There's so many good bittorrent clients, Opera-Bittorrent is useless.

I'd love Unite to be reused as an "platform independent" application.

marsland Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:09:28 PM

I always like Unite, but it didn't make too much sense to have it built into the browser. Maybe Opera would have got more users if they'd created a small Opera Unite application that sits in the System Tray. That way users of other browsers could benefit from the technology as well. I hope that this is something they will do - just bundle the best Unite apps into a small program, Opera Unite.

PengePenge4 Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:27:13 PM

Originally posted by AleksOD:

Also, Gmail chat is great, but you would need to sign up for Gmail for that


1. Not sure that I want to give everyone my gmail address.
2. If someone using Yahoo, Hotmail or other he/she needs to sign up.
3. I can't chatting with more people at the same time.
4. Gmail is a shit with Opera due to position: fixed scrolling bug, so I have to start another browser.

Moreover, if I had to contact with a person with who I didn't want anymore I mustn't provide personal information. I just changed the Unite adress from example.nickname.operaunite.com to shfjkhfhjhfdjkhfu34r4.nickname.operaunite.com and the conversation I changed it back.

Alexodius PrimeAleksOD Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:32:54 PM

Speaking of focusing on addons - are you planning to maintain the current skin database? It really feels outdated, I can barely use the search on the skins page, and most of the themes are of a really poor quality.

Alexodius PrimeAleksOD Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:44:19 PM

Originally posted by Penge4:

1. Not sure that I want to give everyone my gmail address.2. If someone using Yahoo, Hotmail or other he/she needs to sign up.3. I can't chatting with more people at the same time.4. Gmail is a shit with Opera due to position: fixed scrolling bug, so I have to start another browser.


There are many free chat sites, try imo.im.

FransFrenzie Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:53:04 PM

Originally posted by icare:

I'd love Unite to be reused as an "platform independent" application.


+1

Also, as I said a few years ago, without X.

Charlie ClarkMuzzlehatch Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:59:50 PM

Originally posted by Whut:

And what about standalone widgets that I use, for example RMF RDS Widget - online radio stations player, or so simple but useful for me things like the Ruler?


This is a guess but I think the standalone widgets will still be around. Opera provides the widget runtime for quite a few tablets and TVs and has been visionary in pushing for widgets to be the development platform for "apps".

While I like some of the ideas of Unite, I'd agree it was too dependent upon dedicated Opera developers. Extensions are much more portable between browsers and cover most areas of use.

It takes courage to decide to drop support for features,

PMoperafan2006 Tuesday, April 24, 2012 7:24:33 PM

When need for opera extension(or something comparable to FF extensions) were being discussed in the forum 5-6 years ago, Nerds would toss those idea out(citing possible security issues, true but ..) and opera developers would stay quiet.
Good move but too little too late may be! or may be not. Good luck.

I am not sure why you would drop unite! I still think that has some promise to evolve in more refined way.

BTW. I am one of those old folks who uses opera for more than a decade (since version 4 If I recall correctly) and have seen most of its rise and falls. So I will continue to be optimistic about Opera's success.smile

Tiago Wakabayashiozoratsubasa Tuesday, April 24, 2012 7:33:54 PM

Originally posted by alternatiwe:

(I used file sharing, web server, photo sharing frequently)



I used more the File Sharing, sometimes the Photo Sharing to show some albums I have on pc, and the Web Server I was waiting an opportunity for I test it. And I loved to listen to the Media Player from my friends

Originally posted by icare:

I agree with Tiago Wakabayashi, the Bittorrent should have been dropped a long time ago.

Is there one person in the world to use it ?



I use it sometimes, when I need download something by torrent, so I don't want this be dropped.

Originally posted by icare:

I'd love Unite to be reused as an "platform independent" application.



If Opera cannot use those apps/widgets for extensions, I would prefer an independent application too

Originally posted by operafan2006:

I am not sure why you would drop unite! I still think that has some promise to evolve in more refined way.



Of All three, drop the Unite and Voice, for me, are the worst decisions

a11u Tuesday, April 24, 2012 7:37:18 PM

Unite?! Oh, nooo =(

William E. Taylorweconsultants Tuesday, April 24, 2012 7:38:21 PM

I can not believe you are dropping Unite. I run it 24/7. I share over 1,000 photos and over 18,000 epub files. I do have an isp where I can write PHP to do the same but I think you are MAKING A BAD MISTAKE. Now it makes sense that there were no Opera Unit support people making any comments in it's forum for last 1.5 years. bigeyes

Tiago Wakabayashiozoratsubasa Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:08:05 PM

Funny, about the Widgets, I was hoping almost nobody would miss them, but I hope the extensions or at least some specific get the "standalone" characteristic from Widgets.

About Voice, there is a person here with problem, any disease, work accident, I don't remember, but he said that Voice helps him on Opera. Voice is not useless how some people think.

FransFrenzie Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:13:38 PM

Presumably a separate screenreader software might do a better job?

Wojciech EysymonttNasty Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:32:11 PM

I want to say that I am deeply saddened and disappointed with decision about dropping Opera Unite. It has unique features and is very user-friendly, which is also of great significance.

I have given a detailed comment on the forum you asked to post on - please take a look there - I will not copy-paste it here, as I guess it would be improper.

PengePenge4 Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:44:21 PM

Originally posted by AleksOD:

There are many free chat sites, try imo.im.


1. I have to register to imo.im
2. I have to register to MSN, Skype, Gtalk, etc. one by one.
3. I have to make as much account per services as much categories I have in my contact base. So clients circle 1, clients circle 2, clients circle 3, etc. Furthermore, friends, close friends, family, acquaintances, work, other work, etc. I don't want to mix these groups.

Konstantinzxcat Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:15:26 PM

Are you sure? I'm using unite too..
Any alternatives?

Ryan Morillosrart Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:02:18 PM

Without an extension to cover file sharing and file inbox, I will be loosing major functionality. I use them for work (I am a sys admin at a major provider) and the ability to download something from my work machine to a customers without having to moving it to a third point like our proxy servers is a great convince.

Photo sharing and media player are nice too, but they aren't as big a deal for me.

JamesSharkfinUK Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:27:01 PM

Originally posted by WolfHook:

Unite had so much potential, I remember reading about it the first day of launch. However I never found a consistant use for it and it remained a "cool feature" rather than being something I depended on.


Same here. Sad to see it go but I agree with the strategy.

Unrealmirakulix Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:34:01 PM

Originally posted by SharkfinUK:

Originally posted by WolfHook:

Unite had so much potential, I remember reading about it the first day of launch. However I never found a consistant use for it and it remained a "cool feature" rather than being something I depended on.


Same here. Sad to see it go but I agree with the strategy.

+1

d4rkn1ght Wednesday, April 25, 2012 2:35:12 AM

no down ... Unite is the number one feature I use all the time. It's what make Opera special and different from any other browser. awww

This is going to leave a big hole for those of us that depend on Unite for daily task. Sad day. cry sad

Witold Barylukmovax Wednesday, April 25, 2012 3:34:50 AM

sad

Unite is unique and it will be really sad if removed. I agree, there is not so much Unite applications, but they are of quite good quality and always there is place for new ones. Definietly do not remove it, if similar things are not possible with extensions!

As of widgets, well there is even more widgets than unite applications, but I essentially never used them. I do not know why, maybe because most of them are useless, or are just some games. Both things do not need actually being separate apps. We keep our browser working all the time, so just having separate tab for them is better than whole separate process which is used rearl, and needs finding in start menu or in akward place.

How about updating widgets webpage, and repackaging all widgets to be a standalone packages, with last supported opera version? This will make them essentially real applications!

As of widgets, I also blame Opera, because not so long time ago, around 11.50, lots of widgets stoped working due some bugs in Opera! Then this is not a mistery that less people is using them!

Maybe bad, maybe good for widgets.

Bad for unite.

Unite still have lots of the potential, especially with IPv6 proliferation, it will make more devices connected directly without any proxy or web services. Also automatic detection of other Unite Opera services in LAN is wonderfull, and often used by me and my friend. Reconsider it.

GrahamGort Wednesday, April 25, 2012 4:01:05 AM

Never really cared for widgets, seeing them as compromised extensions, neither here nor there. Good to see extensions getting more support, which should have been done years ago. I think Opera missed out a lot by not taking extensions that seriously (although Opera does so much that extensions aren't as vital to the browsing experience compared to other browsers). Saying that, I only use one extension (and have only done so recently), so maybe I need to eat my own words. wink

As for Unite, I have never used it, but I can see why it would be of use for others. Maybe the torrent and chat clients need removal instead. Maybe sticking to the browser, email/newsgroups/RSS and Unite would be the better option.

Vladimyr IvanovVladimyr Wednesday, April 25, 2012 4:03:48 AM

would be acceptable, if you provide a replacement extension
for most popular widgets, as well as Unite extension.
Otherwise, big disrespect to Opera. down

mrd Wednesday, April 25, 2012 4:13:25 AM

Mixed feelings about this. The functionality that was exposed in both Widgets and Unite was almost great. Both needed some love which they never really got. The best would have been a combined add-on platform and I still think that's the case.

However the move gets rid of some of the product differentiators between Opera and "the rest" and given how Opera isn't the fastest or most lightweight (memory/cpu) browser now, there are less reasons to stick with it.

I really hope that it's not just lip service about taking lessons learned from Widgets and Unite to put into extensions and you actually bring a lot of the functionality across to give people the same level of power, albeit through a unified platform.

As it stands for me, the things that keep me with Opera are Link, Speed Dial and the implementation of mouse gestures (though there was that horrible period in the 11 release time when mouse gestures were truly broken). I can get Link and Speed Dial analogues elsewhere so that is getting to the wafer-thin stage and given I've been using Opera since 2000 it's a little sad (to me anyway).

This isn't a pity-poor-me whinge by the way. If I leave, I leave. There will still be many millions more, and even if I do leave, the other side might not be as comfortable (the old slippers syndrome) as Opera and I'd be back.

Jirayu Yingthawornsukjirayu16563 Wednesday, April 25, 2012 4:18:06 AM

Please, Please,

I need Panel Apps.

Atomic1fire Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:56:34 AM

I think that a good idea would be to take some of the ideas from widgets and Unite and carry them over to the new addons platform.
e.g perhaps include support and management for Mozilla's Apps store, and maybe allow the creation of widgets with extensions instead of requiring a separate install?

beiren Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:33:36 AM

I don't care about Widgets (although the Soma.fm widget is damn awesome), but removing Unite?! I've used it so much, especially photo & file sharing, also media player. Like this one time I showed to mre knowledgeable friend a set of broken bicycle parts, asking if they could be mended. And the media player was fun so friends could listen to my music collection whenever I was on computer and give comments about it. The file sharing was pure golden for groupwork.

I really don't feel like having a middleman in "cloud services", it kinda feels like going back to dark ages. :/

Alternatiwealternatiwe Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:51:37 AM

"I think that a good idea would be to take some of the ideas from widgets and Unite and carry them over to the new addons platform."
And what about the fact, the extensions are some javascript addons which are running in the background every time. The unite apps are startable/stoppable addons which could access my files, can do more then js, and provide commincation between client machines. It's a quite big different I think.

Alex Kuzinkuzzzma Wednesday, April 25, 2012 10:01:21 AM

Not Unite! It was the most easy way to share files and photos with friends and collegues!

Sami Serolaserola Wednesday, April 25, 2012 11:51:29 AM

I recommend putting the experience on something useful like improving Opera Link. Good bookmark system also offers tags and social sharing. It would be for example nice to combine it with MyOpera. So, one could share her/his browser bookmarks only between MyOpera friends or make them public. Currently I'm almost abandoned also Opera Link because it does not have possibility to add and search using tags and it does not have option to share the bookmarks.

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