Opera Mini Upgrade

Opera Mini Config ScreenOpera made a significant upgrade to their Opera Mini server software last night.

Here’s the changelog:

  • Added a simple UI to the server-side preferences that exists. Go to ‘opera:config’ to configure some settings.
  • Tweaked phonenumber detection, there should be somewhat fewer false positives now, but you can now also disable the feature on the opera:config page.
  • Increased the default timeouts to 40 seconds from 20.
  • Updated the HTML rendering engine to be similar to the latest Opera 9.5 weekly release.
  • Fixed support for entering hostnames starting with a number (eg, 360.yahoo.com) as a URL without the starting http://
  • Made content folds visible even when the background is black.
  • Fixed inter-page links.
  • Fixed clipping rectangle for iframes with hidden overflow css properties, this bug caused some links inside some iframes to be unclickable.
  • Fixed HTTP basic auth for pages with non-7bit authentication realm.
  • Pages with nested tags are now somewhat easier to navigate (<a href='link'>Link 1 <a href='link2'> Link 2</a></a>), it’s now possible to follow both the inner and the outer link.
  • New WML stylesheet.
  • Various optimizations resulting in the average transcoding time to be 20% lower.

More details and discussion are on the Opera forum. Users are reporting that the latest server software upgrade has fixed some long standing issues with the desktop versions of My Yahoo and Yahoo Mail and some online forums.

The opera:config dialog, aka Power-User settings, rocks. If you go to the URL, opera.config in Opera Mini you get a screen (top image) where you can set the following options:

  • Large placeholders (Yes | No) Should the colored placeholder rectangles for images (used when not loading images) keep the original image size?
  • Fit text to screen. (Yes | No) If disabled, text will no longer be fit to your phone screen, making it much harder to read.
  • Show feedindex (Yes | No) Show a list of pagefeeds at the top of the page.
  • Fold RSS feed bodies (Yes | No) If enabled, only show the titles of RSS feed articles by default, you have to click to read the actual body.
  • Fold linklists (Yes | No) Should the transcoder try to detect long lists of links in mobile view and if one is found fold it into a single line that can be expanded?
  • Phonenumber detection (Yes | No) Should text that looks like phone numbers be converted to phonenumber links?
  • Minimum phone number length. (4-9) If phonenumber detection is enabled, a number will have to be at least this long to be considered to be a phone number.

I’m happy with the defaults except for the minimum phone number length which I bumped up to 9. I wish I could make it 10 as that’s how long US numbers are and I have no intention of making international calls which cost me $2/ minute!

The increased timeout is good but I’d like to see it increased even more or made user configurable. I still get timeouts almost every time I try to use Bloglines “Display items within the last nn hours” feature. I’m hoping Opera adds the ability to increase the timeout to the config dialog.

This is the second Opera Mini server performance enhancement in less than a month. Opera Mini was always fast but now it really screams. It helps that Opera is putting some serious resources into server hardware. Check out the Opera server room photo below showing a few of the 250 state of the art servers powering Opera Mini and My.opera.com. The article (in Norwegian) has a dozen or so pictures of Opera’s impressive server room from. A user at Esato.com summarized the main points of the article as:

  • Currently 1.5 billion pages downloaded per month
  • No one could offer enough server room cooling so Opera built their own server park
  • Most servers are located in one single rack
  • Each rack holds 96 HP servers
  • Each server is dual-core with 8 GB memory
  • Traffic increases 20% per month
  • Opera assume a doubling of servers within one year
  • Most servers are running the Linux distro Debian
  • The Opera Mini engine is developed with the Swedish programing language Pike
  • Opera have around 250 servers in this location where some of them are running the My Opera services

Opera Servers
Photo: Digi.no

Opera Mini Trivia: There are some undocumented urls that display information about Opera Mini and the server you are attached to:

debug: – displays information about the server and about your handset
server:version – more verbose server and client information
opera:about – server software “about” page
opera:cache – displays a list of cached items which always seems to be empty.

Tip: I discovered that when typing a .com url in opera mini, you can leave off www. and .com and Opera will add it for you. So you can just enter wapreview or howardforums to go to www.wapreview.com or www.howardforums.com.