Opera 9.5 is coming

Details on the next release from Opera has just been released. Opera Software will in the next few weeks release the first builds of Opera 9.5 currently named Kestrel. This major update features new functionality, improved functionality , bug fixes and improved support for web standards.

So what has changed?

A blog post from the companies “desktop-team” further enlightens the curious mind about the improvements in the Opera rendering engine. More than one year of development will provide enhanced support for CSS 3 and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and also a brand new JavaScript-engine with better support for ECMAScript 4.

Opera 9.5 - KestrelThe picture shows how Opera 9.5 performed in the CSS-Selectors-test at the CSS3.info website. KHTML and Konqueror 3.5.6 passed this test in January already.

The original picture also includes a GUI detail that Opera doesn’t want us to see yet 😉

Opera 9.5 will also manage more websites with bad coding compared to the recent version.

Improved Accessibility

Based on userstats Opera Software will try to make the most used functions more available and more equal to the location in other browsers. The forthcoming release will also provide better support for people with physical disabilities (read: Accessibility) by introducing screen reader support , improved keyboard navigation and more consistent keyboard shortcuts.

Better Performance

Opera 9.5 will be much faster, both in benchmarks (without cheating ;)) and most important: on real web pages. The user interface will also feel snappier and more responsive, for example switching tabs is now a lot faster on UNIX.

Platform integration

To try make Opera the best choice on your platform, a lot of time was spent making Opera feel more integrated with your platform. Mac users can expect a nice new visual look and feel. Opera for Linux will add a QT4 build, so you can easily adjust the skin to match with desktop. There will also be 64-bit Linux/FreeBSD packages made available.

Putting the pieces together

It’s a tough crowd out there. It will be interesting to see if Opera can gain market shares with their new release. Fighting against Firefox, IE and the recently released version 3 of Safari (for both Win and Mac) will most definitely not be easy. Good luck, and thanks for continued focus on web standards! Only wish Microsoft would do the same…

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