The Opera Desktop Team just announced a new experimental build of the desktop version of the Opera browser. The version that they are currently working on is 9.2 and when released it will have a few new features, including a usage report collection as mentioned a few weeks ago.

The new feature this week is a set of developer tools that will open in a pop-up window for the website that you are currently viewing. I tried it on our site to see how well it works and it is nicely laid out to help developers quickly troubleshoot problems. Here is a screenshot of what it looks like:

Opera Developer Tools

I briefly used this tool and it would undoubtedly help to troubleshoot layout problems with Opera, but it isn’t anything extravagant especially after having used the Firebug extension for Firefox. The Opera Developer Tool is just a JavaScript pop-up window with a tabbed interface, so it also doesn’t integrate very well into the browser like I would have expected from Opera. This is just a pre-release version so I can’t be too quick to judge, but I would have expected this to be something located in the sidebar (or at least an option to dock it). Using Opera’s built-in cascading/tiling capabilities you could always make it act like a sidebar though:

Opera Developer Tools

For my primary development tool I’m going to stick with Firebug right now because it seems to be more powerful and feature-packed. However, when designing sites I always ensure that they fully function with Opera and if I end up running into any problems this will definitely help. Thanks to the Opera Team for the nice addition!

Download the latest Opera weekly build to see this for yourself.