The Opera web browser really puts the other guys to shame when implementing open standards. I wholeheartedly agree with Doug that it's a shame that I can't customize Opera's chrome the way I can with Firefox (you can only go so far with User JavaScript and widgets) - it would easily become my default browser (and not just the browser I test advanced features in). Anyway, those guys at Opera have released a development build of Opera 9.5 that supports video in the browser. This is a big step forward for the open web.

I remember a couple years back when people scoffed at the idea of SVG 1.2 containing a <video> element. The argument went something like "SVG is for Vector Graphics so that's ALL it should do - how dare you!". Meanwhile, Macromedia had been expanding its reach in areas of streaming media and HTML was stagnating.

Now, thanks to the WHATWG, HTML is undergoing a rejuvenation of sorts. Version 5 of everyone's favourite HyperText markup language is likely to contain a <video> element, an <audio> element, a Canvas object and other non-hypertext related things.

Anyway, those guys at Opera have released an experimental build of Opera 9.5 that supports not only HTML video but SVG video too.

What's fascinating about video inside SVG is that you can do a lot with it. It's just another region of graphics to the "SVG engine" so you can scale it, shear it, flip it, apply filters to it, put graphics on top of it, etc. Some of their demos are really cool. Like this reflect one. And oh yeah, this Trace Edges one (check out the greyscale too). Can Flash do that? (I honestly don't know).

I'd like to make a screencast of this so that the truly lazy among you could see the effects without downloading it - but that requires me to re-install the screencasting software - and you really should just go and download it for yourselves anyway.

Now I've noted some problems just with these two demos yesterday: In one instance, I couldn't get the video to stop playing, even though I had closed the tab or navigated away from it (in other words, the audio was still audible) However, I'm sure these kinks will be worked out before the final version of Opera ships.

Go Opera!

§406 · November 9, 2007 · Opera, Software, SVG, Technology, Video, Web · · [Print]

Leave a Comment to “Opera 9.5 Beta: Now With Cracklin’ Video”

  1. Can you please make a screencast for us who can’t use a Windows build ?-)

    Oh, wait, you can count me towards the truly lazy who don’t bother testing it with wine.

  2. Rob says:

    +1 for the screencast. I’ll get around to installing it eventually but a screencast would be so much easier for me. And isn’t that what being truly lazy is all about?

  3. IceArdor says:

    If you’re running a Windows computer, which you are, you can use the PrintScreen button on your keyboard to take a screenshot. This stores a copy of your desktop onto your clipboard that you can paste into MS Paint. I’m kinda too lazy to download it and try it out for myself, because I have little use for ogg theora on my computer at the moment (though in several years, that might change).

    Also, Opera released their first video build on March 29th (, and this is their second video release.

  4. non-troppo says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Which bits of the UI chrome do you want to change? Is it a specific extension you crave or just a general tweak? I assume you do know all of Opera’s buttons can be rebuilt and its menus rewritten. Javascript can be embedded in either so you can, for example make buttons which use bookmarklets to perform complex functions. Opera has an internal language of several hundred actions, and the whole UI is nothing more than those core actions interfaced through configuration files.

  5. @non-troppo: These are the Firefox extensions I use on a regular basis:

    – Adblock – right-click on an advert and block it going forward.

    – AdSense – see # of clicks and revenue in the status bar for today, updates every so often (the values are shown right in the status bar without me having to click anything)

    – GMail Notifier – a red envelope icon in the status bar tells me I have Gmail, updates every so often

    – FXPointer (my own) – right-click on a web page to copy an XPointer link to that section

    – Firebug – status pane at the bottom of the page provides numerous debugging benefits to web designers (see XHR, see DOM, execute JS, etc)

    – Get Directions – select an address, right click, choose “Locate on Google Maps” and a tab opens up with that address shown in Google Maps.

    – Scrapbook – save a complete page offline, organize them into folders, bring a browseable “scrapbook” up in a sidebar, click to read those pages offline

    I’m curious (since I’m not that versant in restructuring Opera’s menus and buttons). How much of that could be done in Opera in the same convenient way? If it could be, why isn’t it as easily downloadable and installable as Firefox extensions?

    I don’t think strict Opera fans really realize how useful Firefox extensions could be.

  6. @IceArdor: A screenshot is not the same as a screencast. Specifically, if I want to show video/animations to someone, I need to make a screencast…

  7. And i thought Flash was the best way to show videos in a browser …

  8. What exactly is a screencast, and what program do you use to make it?