It’s Official: Opera Plans To Kill Its Own Layout Engine (Presto)

By | February 13, 2013 | 45 Comments


It's Official: Opera Plans To Kill Its Own Layout Engine (Presto)

Should have done that years ago.

After revealing Opera Ice, a WebKit based mobile web browser for Android and iOS, Opera Software today announced its plans migrate “most” of its upcoming browsers for smartphones and PC’s.

What does that mean? To put it simply, Opera browsers will use WebKit layout engine and Google’s V8 JavaScript engine as a core base.

Håkon Wium Lie, the says CTO of Opera Software said, “It makes more sense to have our experts working with the open source communities to further improve WebKit and Chromium, rather than developing our own rendering engine further. Opera will contribute to the WebKit and Chromium projects, and we have already submitted our first set of patches: to improve multi-column layout.”

We expect more details, at least about its ICE web browser, in the coming weeks.


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Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

  • apád anyád

    If they do it, I will drop Opera as my second browser for sure.

    • http://twitter.com/FavBrowser FavBrowser

      So poor site(s) compatibility is the reason you use Opera?

      • apád anyád

        I use it rarely, but I haven’t seen a single website what was displayed incorrectly in Opera.

      • sabe

        I use Opera every day with mail client and all my favourite pages works.

      • Mehran

        You can always report your problems via menus, they will try to fix it.

        • http://twitter.com/FavBrowser FavBrowser

          That’s great and all but it has been an issue for many years now. Sure, developers are to blame but blaming them did not fix the issue.

          Fixing sites one by one is a welcome effort by Opera but I’d rather get Opera features + webkit compatibility

          • Mehran

            I’ve been using Opera for a while (Not for so long, but long enough), the problem you mention are not that big, to refer to Opera like a legacy IE, I’ve always admired their fight against giants, and now they will be just a legend in the past.
            Well, at least what you like makes sense, let’s cross our fingers ;-)

  • hansfisher

    Shame we’re losing one of the few engines, I hope we won’t see new IE6 fiasco in few years. Unfortunately with Google’s pseudo-standards spam trolling and web devs laziness there wasn’t really much choice for a small company like Opera.

  • http://my.opera.com/d4rkn1ght d4rkn1ght

    I don’t know how to take this. On one hand it will help Opera to be more compatible on the web. My worry is losing the remaining features like M2, Speed Dial, Turbo, etc, and I’m still annoyed about loosing Unite.

    Already the switch to WebKit will mean the end to Dragonfly. https://twitter.com/runeh/status/301616059729969152

  • James

    Well, I guess its back to FireFox. Ugh

    • MacVities

      Until they go with Webkit too. (which is happening as been suggested from many leaks).

      We then have a universal, opensource web layout engine that all the decent browsers use, which is web standards compliant, and everyone contributes too.

      Oh and there is Internet Explorer on the sidelines with their closed source and H.264 video….

      • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

        Mozilla aren’t moving to WebKit, instead they have plans to (possibly) replace it with Servo, an experimental engine for the parallelisation of loading and rendering stuff within the browser.

        The common problem I’ve seen with WebKit browsers is that they turn out to be bloated. Two types; disk usage (100MB for Chrome which doesn’t do much?!) and resource usage (CPU and memory usage is bad in Chrome at times, especially with extensions).

        Until WebKit itself can be irradicated of these problems, and the inconsistencies between ports is minimised, WebKit should not be considered the ‘superior’ option. The prefix problem surrounding WebKit is bad enough.

        • Mehran

          A prototype software written in a prototype language ain’t something to hope for.
          Its goals which may be available in 5 years, is something Mozilla needs right now!

          • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

            For now, they’re focussing on improving their product with internal projects like MemShrink and Snappy. It’s good enough for me knowing they’re doing something to improve Firefox.

          • Mehran

            You’re right, but the war is on, and such an experimental project is far from being judged (what if they drop it?). I believe what they need is to unify their powers instead of starting multiple immature projects. I wonder how many users does SeaMonkey have, and yet users contribute! (It’s the exact opposite of Webkit Project, isn’t it?)

  • Muhammad Ubaid Raza

    If they keep all features/customize-ability, switching to WebKit will prove to be good decision.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/max1cp?feature=mhum Maxim

    This is a really bad news. However, if all features remain this might be alright for Opera in the long run.

  • Mehran

    No need to install Opera anymore!

    • jayjam

      Why would you install Opera today?

      • Mehran

        cuz… I like it?

        • jayjam

          Why do you like it? What about it do you like that will change with Webkit?

          • Mehran

            This will kill the uniqueness of Opera, and will result in being another GUI like many other browsers.

          • jayjam

            Compatibility problems is the uniqueness of Opera?

            Why is the “another GUI” bad if it’s on Webkit but good if it’s on Presto?

          • Mehran

            Although I never had such critical problems with Opera, but I don’t defy any improvements, so we will wait and see the output.
            I hope it will satisfy us all.

  • ahoj1234

    All depends on usability, UI, ability for custom settings etc… If Opera doesn’t remove/drastically change that I can’t see any problem and reason to change… WebKit is ENGINE, not an user interface nor a sniffing tool (as chrome has) or whatever else…

  • VBV

    Opera should have rather thought of a Dual Engine Browser (Presto + Webkit). Its not good to give up Presto Engine like that. I don’t understand why they don’t try to improve the websites compatibility with Opera Browser’s Presto Engine.

    I hate the monopoly of Google & Apple over the Internet.

  • VBV

    Opera should have rather thought of a Dual Engine Browser (Presto + Webkit). Its not good to give up Presto Engine like that. I don’t understand why they don’t try to improve the websites compatibility with Opera Browser’s Presto Engine.

    I hate the monopoly of Google & Apple over the Internet.

    • jayjam

      “I don’t understand why they don’t try to improve the websites compatibility with Opera Browser’s Presto Engine.”

      You mean like they’ve always been doing and still web developers ignore Presto?

    • Mehran

      They are moving toward Webkit in order to NOT TO DO what Webkit developers are currently doing, so they can be of help in other fields (and sharing their knowledge), You don’t think it’s logical to keep working on both of them when One is really enough?
      Presto is not as handy as Trident in handling CRAPPY webpages, thus it won’t be necessary when it’s dropped.

  • Guest

    You know what they say, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings… OH WAIT

    THE FAT LADY IS SINGING FOR OPERA’S DEATH

    • jayjam

      Opera has more users than ever and record profits and revenues. How is it dead?

      • Mehran

        Grammatically speaking, he is using “present continues” and he is mentioning death of Opera as an inevitable cause in the near feature, so we have to go with a “going to-future clause” like ”’Opera is going to die soon”’.

        • Mehran

          present continuous

          Sorry ^_^

  • http://twitter.com/webtax web

    for us people that actually use opera as our main browser, let’s hope it means good stuff to come, and not losing features.

  • Opera & IE Users

    Finally a Opera browser that works with sites and Chrome with less spyware.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HC472HNLLQYOPSQ546HVNCIBQI Chris Lu

    Kinda shocked, I mean all those years, the desktop browser was always in the single digits, but they stubbornly kept at it.

    Now, Firefox’s mission takes even more importance, especially in mobile. A mobile web with just webkit browsers is bad.

  • Guest

    http://blog.methvin.com/2013/02/tragedy-of-webkit-commons.html

    ” jQuery Core has more lines of fixes and patches for WebKit than any
    other browser. In general these are not recent regressions, but
    long-standing problems that have yet to be addressed.”

    Only retarded people use a Webkit browser. They’re part of the new IE6 problem.

    • http://twitter.com/bricky149 Shane Bundy

      I’d blame the actual WebKit Project for not addressing these issues as well as the growing prefixes problem it has.

  • operator

    opera has been stagnating since the founder left. it’s quite understandable that without technical leadership, they’d chose the easier path of using an existing engine instead of developing their own, and focus more on sales.
    Another innovative product killed by short-term profit seekers..

    • jayjam

      Stagnating since the founder left? That’s an interesting take on Opera’s accelerated user growth and constant profit and revenue records.

      Also, it was during the founder’s reign that they came up with stuff like widgets and Unite instead of doing extensions.

      So I’m not sure where you are getting the stagnation part from.

      And how will switching to Webkit give them short term profit? It must surely be the opposite: Throwing away all that work, and building something new based on Webkit. That takes time and money. Once again you’re not making sense.

  • Shaman

    I believe the next great news about Opera, after switching to Webkit will be ‘Opera to fire dozens of Developers”
    They shouldn’t be caring about standards today, then why did they accelerate supporting new HTML5 features in a rush since Opera 11.50? They could have switched at the time. This is a corny Joke: -Opera on Webkit- It won’t bring any good to the community and will scatter the remaining Opera users. If one likes to use webkit, why not the Chrome itself (I personally hate Chrome and prefer Comodo Dragon), but trust me, it will be another nail in the coffin of Opera.

    • Shaman

      And as a designerdeveloper, I won’t be using features that only Webkit supports barely today, until 5 years from now, so what’s against not using Webkit cutting-edge standards when you know more than 70% of your visitors can’t use them and you have to put fallback for them? You tell me!

    • jayjam

      What makes you think they could have switched earlier? Maybe they didn’t think Webkit was good enough yet.

      Also, what makes you think people choose their browser based on the engine? They don’t. People don’t care about the engine.

      • Shaman

        No brother! in fact normal people don’t know what an engine is and what it’s supposed to do except moving their cars! I meant when a developer uses a cutting-edge HTML5 or CSS3 feature that is hardly supported in newest versions of Chrome (sometimes not even latest Safari could render them), then why we, the developers should use them? when they will just lead to break our code? (and aren’t we in a world that IE67 is still in use!?)

        and about moving to Webkit, it’s on them, but if it’s a decision that is taken over a night, then they should have underestimated the consequences.

  • Larry Wong

    As long as they keep their wonderful UI I have no problem with it.