300 million users and move to WebKit

On the same day as announcing that Opera has 300 million users, we're also announcing that for all new products Opera will use WebKit as its rendering engine and V8 as its JavaScript engine. It's built using the open-source Chromium browser as one of its components. Of course, a browser is much more than just a renderer and a JS engine, so this is primarily an "under the hood" change. Consumers will initially notice better site compatibilty, especially with mobile-facing sites - many of which have only been tested in WebKit browsers. The first product will be for Smartphones, which we'll demonstrate at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of the month. Opera Desktop and other products will transition later.

TL;DR

  • This will require no changes to your web development practices: keep coding to standards!
  • Opera Extensions that you've built aren't obsolete
  • Opera will contribute to the WebKit and Chromium projects
  • Our work on web standards to advance the web continues

What does this mean for web developers?

The short answer is that it shouldn't affect your day-to-day work. Keep coding to the standards, not to individual rendering engines; test across browsers - Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer; use all vendor prefixes and an unprefixed form in your CSS and JavaScript. However, it remains important to keep the following in mind:

  • Chromium, and therefore future versions of Opera, has built-in support for the WebM, Ogg Theora and Ogg Vorbis media codecs but does not natively support H.264 or MP3 media codecs (although if these are installed in a device's operating system it will allow that to render media). The correct way to check support is with HTML5 canPlayType. The simplest method to ensure all modern browsers receive the correct codecs is to encode in both WebM and H.264 and provide two <source> elements or use canPlayType to check support (see Introduction to HTML5 video for more information).
  • The window.opera object will not exist in future versions of Opera. We continue to recommend that developers SHOULD NOT use browser-sniffing; feature-detection - either using a 3rd party solution such as Modernizr or hand-rolling your own - is better.

What does this mean for extension developers?

Extensions have been the most successful Opera add-on and it's of paramount importance to us that existing extensions continue working. We've been working on a conversion tool that will take existing OEX extensions and convert them into a format that can be used by Chromium-based Opera for computers. In addition, we'll provide conversion tutorials and documentation, and we'll provide assistance through our developer forums as well. In short, we stay totally committed to our enthusiastic community of extension developers and users, and we'll do our best to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Why is Opera switching?

When we first began, back in 1995, we had to roll our own rendering engine in order to compete against the Netscape and Internet Explorer to drive web standards, and thus the web forward. When we started the spec that is now called "HTML5", our goal was a specification that would greatly enhance interoperability across the web.

The WebKit project now has the kind of standards support that we could only dream of when our work began. Instead of tying up resources duplicating what's already implemented in WebKit, we can focus on innovation to make a better browser. Opera innovations such as tabbed browsing, Speed Dial and data-saving compression that speeds up page-load, have been widely copied and improved the web for all.

We remain completely committed to improving the web through our standardisation work. We have 18 years experience in standards and making browsers. Standards that began at Opera such as HTML5, native video and Media Queries are a vital part of the modern web.

We'll continue to advance the Web by contributing to the WebKit and Chromium projects. We have great experience in making products that work everywhere. In our internal builds, we've experimented with adding support for some new standards and enhanced some features that were lacking compared with Presto (for example, multi-column layout).

In the last few weeks we've contacted the Webkit project, and contributing organisations, to discuss our intentions to work with them to make WebKit even better. By contributing patches back to WebKit, we'll enhance standards compliance across a range of browsers, not just Opera.

So, this year, we're sending two Valentine cards: our usual one to the open, interoperable web, and one to WebKit too.

A simple survey of screen sizes

Commentaires

gwarser mercredi 13 février 2013 08:07:29

WOW!

CryioAcryion mercredi 13 février 2013 08:11:06

Noooooooo. no yikes knockout faint confused

You're letting go of Presto? cry

CryioAcryion mercredi 13 février 2013 08:13:34

So what does this mean for the Next Branch? You'll stop developement after 12.20/50/60 and then release Opera 13 on webkit?

Kostia RomanovKildor mercredi 13 février 2013 08:22:29

There is no answer to the main question. What will it be for users? What`s about mouse gestures, about UI, about menus, toolbars and buttons, about wand and MDI? What`s about M2? There is no webkit-based browsers as highly customizeable as Opera. All of them are not chromium, they are cast ironums.

timmi mercredi 13 février 2013 08:30:34

awww

And you really thing this will help with site compatibility? I doubt it.

Haavardhaavard mercredi 13 février 2013 08:34:21

Yes, this will definitely help with site compatibility. There's no reason why it shouldn't. The UA string is the only potential problem, but that can be addressed.

DitherDitherSky mercredi 13 février 2013 08:38:14

Wish you open-source Presto then. Also will things like window.opera.defineMagicVariable become obsolete? knockout

timmi mercredi 13 février 2013 08:46:20

Originally posted by haavard:

The UA string is the only potential problem, but that can be addressed.



And it would not be sufficient to only change the UA?
The only problems I ever had with site compatibility could be solved by masking.

coliff mercredi 13 février 2013 08:49:48

Great decision from the Opera team. Looking forward to seeing the first webkit-powered Opera browser!

@timmi - OF COURSE it will help web site compatibility. Presumably you already code your sites and test against Chrome and/or Safari, now they will look the same in Opera.

Christian Weiskecweiske mercredi 13 février 2013 08:51:47

You've just got rid of a reason for me to use Opera.

Thiemo mercredi 13 février 2013 08:53:29

Opera stops competing and starts supporting the insane WebKit monoculture that is the cause of half of the compatibility problems we have? Is that a F*CKING APRIL 1ST JOKE??????????????????????????

Joachim Blaabjergblaabjerg mercredi 13 février 2013 08:54:10

Interesting move, but I guess it was pretty much inevitable considering how much WebKit has been surging ahead the last couple of years.

This might be wishful thinking, but I hope you'll expand the desktop team and spend more resources on UI and UX now that the UI basically is the only killer feature on the desktop. I'd love to see Opera on the innovation forefront once again!

Good luck smile

soulcheck mercredi 13 février 2013 08:57:56

Originally posted by DitherSky:

Wish you open-source Presto then. Also will things like window.opera.defineMagicVariable will become obsolete? knockout



This. Presto probably has a lot closed dependencies, but please do open whatever can be opened.

sirnh1 mercredi 13 février 2013 08:59:13

So, if I understood this correctly, then opera will use the exact same engine as chrome is using?
* Will opera use the same updater as chrome? (I personally hate the fact that each single program needs their own service to start with windows just to keep their program up-to-date)
* The chrome browser is filled with spyware (clientID, RLZ identifier, visited url's being send to google, etc...). I most certainly hope opera will NOT have those?

Opera already looks a bit like chrome and will now uses the same engine chrome uses. If I wanted to use chrome, I would already be using the 'Comodo Dragon' browser, that browser is based on chrome but without the spyware see
http://www.comodo.com/home/browsers-toolbars/browser.php ). Why would I continue using opera, if it looks like any other browser and now also acts like any other browser?

rip

mubaidr mercredi 13 février 2013 09:05:02

Originally posted by blaabjerg:

I'd love to see Opera on the innovation forefront once again!


yes

Good step for better site compatibility and better support of web-standards. up

coralie mercierkoalie mercredi 13 février 2013 09:11:08

Hmmm I have mixed feelings. I reckon I need to be convinced that this business decision will foster innovation; at the moment I fear it only will stifle it.

My chief concern resides with the future of Opera Mail. The best MUA ever. It drew me to using Opera almost 10 years ago.

In what way is Opera Mail going to change?

stephenpbarker mercredi 13 février 2013 09:13:11

I love Opera because it ploughs its own furrow, and is not just another "Clone" browser.

A webkit version for iOS, understandable by the limitations set by Apple, but for the rest, be your own browser.

PS Most webkit browsers seem to be identified as Safari/Chrome, and just end up bolstering Apples/Googles percentage! For example:

http://stevesstats.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/rekonq-browser-identification.html

ClashCityRockerclashcityrocker mercredi 13 février 2013 09:21:43

I'm sure this will drive Opera to the next level, and mainstream acceptance, which can only be a good thing (unless you are the type of person that intentionally uses niche products to look cool - I use whatever's best, sometimes it's a niche product, sometimes not).

Look at it this way. Opera will become Chrome, but with all the added Opera sprinkles added (Mail, RSS, Chat, Turbo, etc etc).

It might even mean some some of Opera's best features now have some resource to get fixed and finally work to a level that doesn't make you want to punch the screen (OperaLink for example).

Here's to the next 300m users.

SteveKong mercredi 13 février 2013 09:22:40

Originally posted by koalie:

In what way is Opera Mail going to change?


I hope they finally add support for encrypting and signing mails. ;-) I totally agree with you, M2 is one of the outstanding Opera features for me!

Bruce Lawsonbrucelawson mercredi 13 février 2013 09:23:36

Kostia

we're not going to comment (yet) on features of forthcoming products. But the aim is to move focus away from playing catch-up on rendering engine, and put more focus on the kind of UI innovations that you mention

Tim Achesontimacheson mercredi 13 février 2013 09:26:22

So, Opera is now just Chrome with a custom UI. But Chrome is much better. There's now even less point in using Opera.

There's a real danger that WebKit could become like the new IE6, too dominant for its own good and doing its own thing because it can.

Spadar ShutSpShut mercredi 13 février 2013 09:26:52

I hope Opera SVG implementation will be moved to webkit as it is far superior...

Рене ҐранджKillrocker mercredi 13 février 2013 09:32:10

yikes bigeyesconfused bomb
-1 competitor in the Browser wars. I am not going to use browser with Webkit, even if it is Opera. down
Nice work. You just killed your browser:rip: . Now Opera will totally depend on Google.
I think it would be better if you had chosen Gecko.
Goodbye Opera. cry bye
P.S. After these news i changed my default browser to Firefox.

Patrick O'Reillypaddy2k mercredi 13 février 2013 09:34:21

As a long time Opera user this news both sickens and disgusts me.
Presto was an excellent rendering engine and will be sorely missed.
To be honest, I don't know how I could recommend Opera over Chrome in the future.
This won't be a magic bullet that will instantly explode Opera's install base, it's a cheap ploy that will only serve to alienate those of us who have been firmly behind Opera for years. Google, Firefox and Microsoft will still dominate the browser landscape, which Opera relegated to the dung heap along with Flock, Maxthon, etc

crash1 mercredi 13 février 2013 09:36:30

what will be with vega?

SteveKong mercredi 13 février 2013 09:37:35

Originally posted by SpShut:

I hope Opera SVG implementation will be moved to webkit as it is far superior...


+1

sirnh1 mercredi 13 février 2013 09:38:49

Another question, now that you killed the presto engine... Will you release the current engine as 'open-source' or something simular?
Since you will not be using it anymore, I really doubt you would loose anything with this.

Рене ҐранджKillrocker mercredi 13 février 2013 09:42:15

To my mind if you had made Presto Open Source it would really help you.
That was thebiggest problem of Opera. But it won`t exist anymore, the same as Opera.

Steven Pembertonstevenpemberton mercredi 13 février 2013 09:50:10

I'm with Coralie on this one; Opera Mail is the number one reason I use Opera (even though IMO its quality has deteriorated since 12.0). I hope that you retain commitment to it. And by the way, what about an inbuilt calendar? With Notes and Contacts, It's the only thing I miss.

ClashCityRockerclashcityrocker mercredi 13 février 2013 09:52:05

Originally posted by sirnh1:

Another question, now that you killed the presto engine... Will you release the current engine as 'open-source' or something simular?
Since you will not be using it anymore, I really doubt you would loose anything with this.

I'm guessing not, there is lots of IP in there they don't want to release. It's also not the death of Presto, which is still used in loads of places (STB's etc).

ClashCityRockerclashcityrocker mercredi 13 février 2013 09:53:17

Originally posted by Killrocker:

P.S. After these news i changed my default browser to Firefox.



Good luck with that. Rumourmill is that Mozilla are moving too.

vux777 mercredi 13 février 2013 10:04:54

why would be anything changed in UI (including M2)?
M2 is part of the program code.
Downloading mails from server and displaying them got nothing to do with webkit and V8.
Am I right? confused

Рене ҐранджKillrocker mercredi 13 février 2013 10:23:57

Originally posted by clashcityrocker:

Rumourmill is that Mozilla are moving too.


Mozilla said that won`t dropp Gecko. There aren`t reasons to move.
I know that Chrome has just temporary success.

MiguelClara mercredi 13 février 2013 10:24:22

It was too late to move Presto to OpenSource....

Opera failed in that a long time ago, now they are taking the best decision! This will be great for Web developers and Mobile Web developers... Its also great for Extensions.
And Opera has in need of a better JS engine for a while now!

I agree its a shame to "lose" Presto, but now its simply to late to Open Source it, chromium is OpenSource anyway, so Isn't it better to have one more major player contributing with developing?

I support this decision! Now when can we expect the first release? Is there any beta testing?

Martin KadlecBS-Harou mercredi 13 février 2013 10:26:02

A - You will have to be very convincing to keep current desktop users

B - I personally hate Chrome manifest files so much this probably means I won't be working on Opera Extensions any more.

Tim Achesontimacheson mercredi 13 février 2013 10:27:23

One browser engine may sound convenient in the short-term at least for cross-platform developers, but it is profoundly bad news for both competition and innovation.

Erik HauboldAltarius mercredi 13 février 2013 10:30:35

i have 2 major problems with webkit (chromium) on my machines:
- compared to opera the download-sizes are huge. opera ~12mb, chrome ~22mb, firefox now even 29mb.
- the overall performance of webkit is quite bad compared to presto. my laptop has no problem running opera with 50 tabs open, but laggs to death with chromium and 10 tabs. closing chromium also increases batterylife noticably.

so i hope, some of those opera(presto)-qualities will be brought to webkit, and i wont have a problem with this transition anymore wink

Zak Adelmanzakadelman mercredi 13 février 2013 10:32:36

Originally posted by Killrocker:

yikes bigeyesconfused bomb
-1 competitor in the Browser wars. I am not going to use browser with Webkit, even if it is Opera. down
Nice work. You just killed your browser:rip: . Now Opera will totally depend on Google.
I think it would be better if you had chosen Gecko.
Goodbye Opera. cry bye
P.S. After these news i changed my default browser to Firefox.


Google does not make webkit nor have control, it only make their own UI and plugin system, it is an open source project started by Apple. You can add code to the project just like anyone else and can get denied just like Google is.
Welcome to the real world

I have to wonder how many people here actually use webkit, not Chrome which is webkit bastardized. The real thing is here : www.webkit.org

pschriner mercredi 13 février 2013 10:34:15

This is simply sad news.

If more than the engine is changed (e.g. dropping or worse mouse gestures, keyboard shortcuts, M2), I'll have used Opera for the longest time (and that is since 2.12)

whirl-wire mercredi 13 février 2013 10:40:43

I use opera since 1998 99% of the time, just used FF for some pages that lack compatibility with Opera. Reasons for usage of opera are UI (I love the gestures), M2 (best mail client I know) and built in IRC, contacts etc., Opera was first to show us some great features like tabs.
None of those rely on the rendering engine, so I am curios for the first webkit release ... although I will keep current binaries and would love to see presto as OSS.

s/ashslash4real mercredi 13 février 2013 10:44:35

Oh well, I guess that the browser that came out 8 years ago, almost achieved its purpose, Chromium being just something unexpected. Too bad its UI is sluggish..

Hopefully, in the end Opera won't lose any features that has atm. I'd be dead without click1+click2 shortcuts, (the only) smooth scroll & fast UI, the Links thingy on panel, notes, M2 and so on (it would take some time/space to write about all the features smile and most important Opera's flexibility aka the whole opera:config page)..

So, will this change happen in the lucky 13 version of Opera?

subcide mercredi 13 février 2013 10:46:19

Ignore the naysayers. This is a great move for the longevity of Opera as a competitive product. Opera's strength is in it's innovative UI choices. Keep pushing that envelope. smile Looking forward to seeing what you guys can contribute.

Ide StoutjesdijkCrimi mercredi 13 février 2013 10:58:04

Great! Webkit is the best Engine out there. It has speed, compatibility, hardware acceleration and lots of other innovations. It will be a winning team together with the great Opera user interface.

nqqb mercredi 13 février 2013 10:58:40

That's bad news. Why webkit rather than gecko ?? How did you make that decision?

"Instead of tying up resources duplicating what's already implemented in WebKit, we can focus on innovation to make a better browser."

Any browser vendor can use that excuse!

I just dont get it. Especially with chromium and webkit. And you know what Im talking about... its not performance-wize.

ClashCityRockerclashcityrocker mercredi 13 février 2013 11:18:25

Originally posted by nqqb:

That's bad news. Why webkit rather than gecko ??



Because Mozilla are rumoured to be moving to Webkit too. Also Webkit is substantially quicker than Gecko, and has more development traction.

Pretty soon, the vast majority of the web will be browsed using Webkit, tested using webkit, and developed with Webkit features in mind.

alekksander mercredi 13 février 2013 11:18:50

Opera (desktop) will become "just another webkit browser". No more performance, no more security, and what about independence?... chrome is going in "wrong" direction, it aims to be idiot-proof browser for the masses... now opera is going to be the same? For a long time user, that really worries me. that's sad.

y2b4u3d mercredi 13 février 2013 11:19:24

Congrats I'm sure you have think about it before doing a move like this but what will happen to opera trubo and opera mini is this gonna disappear too?

nqqb mercredi 13 février 2013 11:21:55

Originally posted by CrashCityRocker:

Because Mozilla are rumoured to be moving to Webkit too. Also Webkit is substantially quicker than Gecko, and has more development traction.

Pretty soon, the vast majority of the web will be browsed using Webkit, tested using webkit, and developed with Webkit features in mind.


Don't try to speculate, pal. Where did you hear the rumors from ? Let's track them down?

ClashCityRockerclashcityrocker mercredi 13 février 2013 11:21:56

Originally posted by alekksander:

Opera (desktop) will become "just another webkit browser". No more performance, no more security, and what about independence?... chrome is going in "wrong" direction, it aims to be idiot-proof browser for the masses... now opera is going to be the same? For a long time user, that really worries me. that's sad.



It's just the webkit rendering and V8 javascript engine they are using, build into the Opera we know and love. I have 100% confidence that this will make Opera even better. None of the stuff we love about Opera has anything to do with the rendering or JS engine. I doubt you would even notice the difference, except more sites work the way you expect them to, and things are faster.

More time for developers to focus on the things we love about Opera that makes Opera unique.

streunerx mercredi 13 février 2013 11:23:50

Originally posted by pschriner:

re is no answer to the main question. What will it be for users? What`s about mouse gestures, about UI, about menus, toolbars and buttons, about wand and MDI? What`s about M2? There is no webkit-based browsers as highly customizeable as Opera. All of them are not chromium, they are cast ironums.



Me too. .. if any of functions for faster working removed i will switch to other.

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