Opera Stays Ahead of the HTML5 Curve
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Since it was announced as an open source video codec at Google I/O, the VP8 component of WebM is becoming the widely favored technology for the HTML5 video standard. This is because the codec is better than Ogg Theora (the other open source choice) and it's royalty-free, even for commercial use (unlike H.264). Because of the strong disagreements on the proper codec for the HTML5 video standard, no codec is mandated by the standard yet. While browsers like IE9 and Safari support H.264 video, Opera and Firefox only support Ogg Theora (and more recently, WebM). Chrome supports all three.
A new icon-instead-of-thumbnail change in the alpha release two weeks ago
Besides WebM HTML5 video support, Opera 10.6 has added HTML5 Offline Web Applications in today's build. This feature enables the creation of web-standard applications that provide a manifest for the files that are needed for offline functionality. You can see Opera's new offline capabilities in this demo.
The Geolocation standard has been partially implemented on FreeBSD and Linux in this build, but more support will be added later for this implementation. Web Workers is another standard that has been added in today's build. The API facilitates the spawning of message-passing workers running in the background, parallel to their main page. This enables thread-like operation without threads. There is a Web Workers demo here.
Other changes include a major update for Cross-Document Messaging (demo), specific fonts for CJK sites, and bugfixes for Linux/FreeBSD. Mac plugins should also perform better. Bing has been made the new Speed Dial search engine, but it can be removed in the Manage Search Engines box.
Keep up with new Opera releases and download builds at the Desktop Team's blog.