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Presto (layout engine)

Developer(s) Opera Software ASA
Stable release 2.12.388 / 5 November 2012 (2012-11-05)[1]
Development status Discontinued
Written in C++[2]
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Application framework / Software component
License Proprietary

Presto was the layout engine of the Opera web browser for a decade. It was released on 28 January 2003 in Opera 7 for Windows, after several public betas and technical previews. Opera continued to use Presto until version 15, at which point the browser was rewritten with a Chromium backend, containing the Blink layout engine and V8 JavaScript engine.[3]

Presto was a dynamic engine. Webpages could be re-rendered completely or partially in response to DOM events. Its releases saw a number of bug fixes and optimizations to improve the speed of the ECMAScript (JavaScript) engine. It was proprietary software only available as a part of the Opera browsers.


  • ECMAScript engines 1
  • Presto-based applications 2
    • Web browsers 2.1
    • HTML editors 2.2
  • Cultural notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

ECMAScript engines

A succession of ECMAScript engines have been used with Opera. (For the origin of their names, see Cultural notes below). Pre-Presto versions of Opera used the Linear A engine. Opera versions based on the Core fork of Presto, Opera 7.0 through 9.27, used the Linear B engine.[4] The Futhark engine is used in some versions on the Core 2 fork of Presto, namely Opera 9.5 to Opera 10.10.[5] When released it was the fastest engine around, but in 2008 a new generation of ECMAScript engines from Google (V8), Mozilla (TraceMonkey), and Apple (SquirrelFish) took one more step, introducing native code generation. This opened up for potential heavy computations on the client side and Futhark, though still fast and efficient, was unable to keep up.

In early 2009, Opera introduced the Carakan engine. It featured register-based bytecode, native code generation, automatic object classification, and overall performance improvements.[6][7] Early access in the Opera 10.50 pre-alpha showed that it is as fast as the fastest competitors, being the winner in 2 out of the 3 most used benchmarks.[8]

Presto-based applications

Web browsers

HTML editors

Cultural notes

The ECMAScript engines used with Opera have been named after ancient and traditional writing scripts, including ancient Greek Linear A and Linear B, Runic Futhark, and Javanese Carakan.


  1. ^ Opera 12.0 Changelog
  2. ^ Lextrait, Vincent (January 2010). "The Programming Languages Beacon, v10.0". Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Lawson, Bruce (2013-02-12). "300 million users and move to WebKit".  
  4. ^ Sivonen, Henri (2006-11-23). "Names of Browser Engines". Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  5. ^ Bointon, Marcus (2006-12-19). "SunSpider Benchmarks: WebKit Rocks". Pet Pixels. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  6. ^ Lindström, Jens (2009-02-05). "Carakan - By Opera Core Concerns".  
  7. ^ Lindström, Jens (2009-12-22). "Carakan Revisited - By Opera Core Concerns".  
  8. ^ Fulton, Scott M. III (2009-02-22). "The once and future king: Test build of Opera crushes Chrome on Windows 7".  
  9. ^ "Surf in Bed: Nintendo DS Browser hits Japan" (Press release).  
  10. ^  
  11. ^ "Play with the Web: Opera browser now available for download on Wii" (Press release).  
  12. ^ "Sony Electronics uses the Opera browser for its new mylo personal communicator" (Press release).  
  13. ^ "Powered by Opera: Opera Integrated with Adobe Creative Suite 2" (Press release).  
  14. ^ "Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3) uses built-in Opera for rendering engine". 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  15. ^ "Design Web Pages for the Desktop and Mobile Devices" (Press release). Virtual Mechanics Inc. 2008-11-18. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 

External links

  • Opera Developer Community - Presto 2.1 - web standards supported by Opera’s core
  • Opera Developer Community
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