Introducing Opera 12 alpha

October 13th, 2011

The last months Opera 12 snapshots have received two major updates of its JavaScript engine, Carakan, which make it more memory efficient and fully ECMAScript 5.1 compliant. Last week the new HTML 5 parser Ragnarök was added. Today Opera 12 alpha introduces another major technological milestone: full hardware acceleration with WebGL.


WebGL in combination with new ECMAscript features like type arrarys makes it possible to develop and run games with high quality graphics in your browser. To demonstrate the possibilities of these new technologies Opera has ported the game Emberwind to HTML5. There are several other demos like Formula 1 and Don't click.

Full hardware acceleration

Opera aims to give the best possible performance for all users. This is why we already have a "software accelerated" backend in Vega. However with the new hardware accelerated backend Opera will draw the whole user interface using the GPU, not just specific elements of the webpage like the canvas element. This will offload the CPU significantly and make it possible to accelerate the rendering of all webpages. On systems with outdated drivers or buggy graphics cards, Opera will fallback to the heavily optimized Vega software rendering engine.

Currently hardware acceleration is in an alpha stage and only uses an OpenGL backend. We would like to get your feedback about how well it works for you. Opera 12 alpha works best with modern graphics cards and up to date drivers. In future snapshot we'll add support for DirectX and more graphics cards. Be aware that testing Opera 12 alpha can trigger bugs in your graphics card and in worst case blue screen your computer.:faint: :insane:


Opera 12 makes it easier than ever to personalize your browser. It's now possible to create simple lightweight themes based on a nice photos or other graphics. It's also easier to install and try out new and existing themes (previously called skins). Try them out here! They are currently only available for Windows and Mac (more information for Linux/FreeBSD users).

Check out what's new in Opera 12 alpha and have fun test driving Opera 12 alpha! :knight:

WARNING: This is an Opera 12.00 Alpha build: It is not feature complete and may have severe known issues, including crashes, and data loss situations. If you are uncomfortable with this, please use the latest stable Opera instead.