Opera CTO Tells All!

Tim Pabst Expert Author Article Date: 2002-06-10

As many of you will know, Opera is ranked as the third most popular web browser in the world and is an excellent alternative when you're after a quick browser that still supports W3C standards such as cascading style sheets. In this virtual interview I talked with Hakon Wium Lie, Chief Technical Officer for Opera. In this article Hakon talks about the Opera browser, where it stands in relation to W3C standards, the Opera development team and more.

Before we jump into the interview however, take a look at Hakon's bio as displayed at Opera.com. It's truly amazing:

"Wium Lie is a Web pioneer, having worked on the WWW project at CERN, the cradle of the Web. He first suggested the concept of Cascading Style Sheets in 1994 and he later joined W3C (the World Wide Web Consortium) to further strengthen the standards.

In 1999, he was listed among Technology Review's Top 100 innovators of the next century. He's currently a member of the W3C's Advisory Board, Technology Review's "TR 100," and World Economic Forum's "Technology Pioneers."

Wium Lie holds a master's degree in Visual Studies from MIT's Media Laboratory, as well as undergraduate degrees in Computer Science from West Georgia College and Ostfold College, Norway."

Now that we've got a bit of background on one of the most influential people in relation to shaping the web, let's see how my interview with Hakon shaped up.

1. What is your name and what's your role in relation to the development of the Opera browser?

My name is Hakon Wium Lie and I'm the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Opera.

2. How many people work on the Opera browser and what does each of them do?

We have around 50 programmers working on Opera, and each of them works hard to make a better browser! We have teams working on each of our seven different operating system implementations in addition to a core team that works on developing the platform-independent kernel for Opera.

3. Which programming language is opera written in?


4. Opera has become extremely popular over the last couple of years, why do you think this is so?

Opera gives people a better Internet experience. Downloading Opera is extremely fast, the user interface lets you work faster, and the pages display more quickly. Additionally, the keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures work as a dream to speed up browsing.

5. Other browser manufacturers are constantly fighting over browser standards, etc. Where does Opera stand in relation to browser standards and compatibilities

We are actively involved in the W3C. Personally, I feel very strongly about standards on the Web. I worked for W3C from 1995 (when it was started) to 1999 (when I joined Opera).

6. Where does Opera stand in relation to displaying XHTML compatible documents?

We display XHTML documents. XHTML has more impact for authoring software than for browsers. Browsers will have to support "legacy" HTML (including HTML4, "street HTML" and others) for years, but it's encouraging to see XHTML being used more by authors these days.

7. What were you doing before you started working on Opera?

I worked for W3C (see above).

8. How, where and why did Opera come about?

The Opera project was started in 1994, because at that time there were no good PC browsers available.

9. Where do you see Opera in terms of popularity and usability in 2-5 years?

We're currently the third most popular browser on the Web, and we aim to increase our user base in the next 2-5 years. On the desktop market, I think users will want a faster, better browser. According to BrowserWatch, Opera has increased its market share in Europe markedly over the last year, and it's very encouraging to see that users are choosing a better browser with a great design.

Just recently in December 2001 we released Opera 6.0 for Windows, which supports the display of non-Western characters. We're looking forward to expanding into Asia.

It's often the simple things that are the best. Opera is my favorite web browser because of the way it supports standards so closely and because of its neat feature that lets you only have one Opera "window" open, but many pages. It supports nearly everything that the other "Big Boys" do, it's extremely fast, and has a very intuitive interface.

If you've never used Opera before, then you'll be glad to know that it's a free download. You can visit http://www.opera.com for more information or for your free download.

About the Author:
Tim is a freelance developer based in Berlin, Germany. FREE programming eBooks? Want to learn XML, Java, Visual Basic, HTML, or how to promote your site for free? Our collection of free eBook downloads might be just the thing you need. Ready to download? Visit http://www.devarticles.com/ebooks.php now!

Opera CTO Tells All