Presto (layout engine)

Developer(s) Opera Software ASA
Stable release
2.12.423 / 16 March 2015 (2015-03-16)[1]
Development status Active (Opera Mini only)
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, and later used to power the Opera Mini and Opera Mobile browsers. As of Opera 15, the desktop browser uses a Chromium backend, replacing Presto with the Blink layout engine.[3]

Presto is a dynamic engine. Webpages can 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 is proprietary software only available as a part of the Opera browsers.

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. "Dev.Opera — Opera Mini server upgrade". Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  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". Opera Software. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  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". Opera Software. Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  7. Lindström, Jens (2009-12-22). "Carakan Revisited - By Opera Core Concerns". Opera Software. Archived from the original on 2009-12-25. Retrieved 2009-12-26.
  8. Fulton, Scott M. III (2009-02-22). "The once and future king: Test build of Opera crushes Chrome on Windows 7". betanews. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  9. "Surf in Bed: Nintendo DS Browser hits Japan" (Press release). Opera Software ASA. 2006-07-24. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  10. Rahul Srinivas and Jon S. von Tetzchner (2008-10-08). "Operating Systems are Less Important: Opera". Techtree. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
  11. "Play with the Web: Opera browser now available for download on Wii" (Press release). Opera Software ASA. 2006-12-22. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  12. "Sony Electronics uses the Opera browser for its new mylo personal communicator" (Press release). Opera Software ASA. 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  13. "Powered by Opera: Opera Integrated with Adobe Creative Suite 2" (Press release). Opera Software ASA. 2005-04-04. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
  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.
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