WEB BROWSER DEVELOPER Opera Software has released its first public version of its Opera web browser that uses the Webkit rendering engine.
Opera Software's decision to ditch its own rendering engine and go with Webkit caused a stir earlier this year due to fears that a web monoculture would take hold. The firm didn't wait long to issue its first production release, with Opera 15 available for Windows and Mac OS X.
Opera Software has also shifted its web browser development cycle to a rapid release mode, similar to that of rival browser outfit Mozilla. The firm highlighted some of the more superficial changes in Opera 15, including a revamped Speed Dial page and the new user interface that it claims is tightly integrated with the underlying rendering engine.
Opera Software's Sebastian Baberowski said the firm is busy working on the next version. "Right now, we are focusing on synchronization (aka Opera Link), enhanced tab management (visual tabs and so on) and support for themes - and these are just a few of the features you can expect to find soon in our next releases," he said.
The firm is taking a lenient approach to migrating Opera 12 users. Baberowski said the firm is not asking or forcing users to upgrade to Opera 15, adding that it will continue to support Opera 12 "for some time". He said however that in the future when the firm has ported more features from Opera 12 to its Webkit based web browser, it might ask users to migrate.
Opera's switch to Webkit means that Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari and Opera all use the same rendering engine, so web developers probably will spend more effort optimising for Webkit rather than Microsoft's Trident or Mozilla's Gecko. µ