23 Jun 2007

Uh oh, the Browser Radar™ has been twitching again. I have high hopes for Kestrel, the codename of Opera 9.5, soon to be available as pre-release weekly builds. Aside from the CSS3 support, the section under ‘Platform integration’ caught my eye (emphasis mine of course):

To make sure that Opera remains the best choice on your platform, we spend a lot of time 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.

I’ve been impressed with Opera abilities since about v8, and especially with 9, but the ‘Opera Standard’ interface looks more Mac-like than the ‘Native Macintosh’ skin to me. I use Opera Mini on my mobiles all the time, but it’s never made the leap to my desktop due to its look and feel. I believe that 9.2 introduced proper system-drawn OS X widgets which is a step forward for sure, but with Leopard on the horizon, Opera feels as if it’s still clinging on to a Jaguar look. Sadly, I’ve never had the time to have a go at making my own skin – the process seemed too daunting.

So, I’m quite looking forward to seeing this ‘nice new visual look and feel’, and hoping that it won’t be a disappointment. If anyone at Opera just happens to be reading this, any chance of posting a few screenshots to sate the curiosity?

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