Opera Software has released the beta version of Opera 12, codenamed “Wahoo”, and it is the latest entry in Opera’s line of desktop web browsers. Opera 12 is both smarter and faster than its predecessors and introduces new features for both developers and consumers to play with ahead of the final launch. An added feature in Opera 12 is themes. Themes gives you an easy way to change the look of Opera to suit your tastes or your mood. Just select a new theme and your new-look browser awaits. To try a theme for Opera 12 beta, click this link. Themes are also easy to make. If you want to try your hand at making a theme for Opera, learn how to do it here.

Plug-ins are a leading cause of browser instability, so Opera has now given them their own process. This way, when a plug-in crashes, it doesn’t take Opera down with it. Furthermore, there are a few speed improvements as well due to optimizing the network SSL code and using smarter tab loading to accelerate start-up and shut-down times. Opera 12 shows some of the new tricks available to web developers by supporting getUserMedia, an API that allows web applications to use hardware like your computer’s built-in web cam. To try some demo applications, click here 

With new themes!

With new themes!

Now users can also layout webpages like a book with pages that can format automatically to the screen size. The project was formerly known as Opera Reader, but they have opened it up for standardization as CSS3 Generated Content for Paged Media. Opera upgraded its security badge to make it easier to understand the security and privacy policies of the sites you visit. With Opera 12, you can quickly see if a site is using your location information or wants to turn on your web cam. Opera 12 will come in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Hebrew thanks to new support and a remodeled interface for right-to-left scripts. The Opera extension platform now becomes more powerful with the introduction of Windows and Tabs APIs that allow extensions to control the windows and tabs in the browser.

A few other features have also been introduced :

  • 64-bit versions for Mac and Windows
  • Support for the Do Not Track header
  • CSS3 Animations and Transitions
  • HTML5 Drag and Drop
  • Support for CORS — not the beer, but rather Cross-Origin Resource Sharing
  • Opt-in hardware acceleration and WebGL

“Woo-hoo! After months of hard work, we’re nearing the finish line on Opera 12,” said Haakon Wium Lie, CTO, Opera Software. “There are so many new things to try. The paged media project has the potential to change the way browsers handle content, and camera support shows just how web applications can compete with native apps. With so many new features, especially for developers, Opera 12 is a platform to build upon. We’re excited to share it with the world and see what people can create.”

More information on Opera 12 is available here.

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