Opera rolls out Carakan at Web Directions North

It’s a growing trend for applications to migrate from the isolation of the desktop to the ubiquity of the web. But without enough horsepower under the hood, web apps will sputter instead of soar.

And web apps were the focus of Web Directions North, the web development conference held this year in Denver but which got its start in Vancouver, in no small part due to the efforts of Canadian developer, designer and CSS guru Dave Shea. WDN was also the setting for Opera to roll out Carakan, its newly developed and heavily optimized Javascript engine.

“Javascript is the most important language for web applications. The trend is toward the web becoming more and mor of an app platform, and it’s necessary to provide the same level of execution speed with those apps that you can get with native code,” Opera VP of Core Technology Lars Bolstad said.

There’s a lot of competition in javascript engine creation, he added, with every browser trying to optimize their engines to tackle ever more complex web applications. And while Carakan optimizes Javascript, Bolstad said it was just as important to improve other processes within the browser in order to avoid bottlenecks.

“You don’t need this kind of power today. But we’re positioning ourselves for the future, and it doesn’t hurt to be able to execute that level of power right now,” Olstad said, and added that radical change in browser development operates on a scale of a year or less.

At present, Carakan is still under development, but Olstad said Opera hopes to put out a new build of its browser in the next few months with Carakan as the core javascript engine.