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Microsoft Build took place earlier today, and one of many announcements was that Microsoft will soon allow third-party developers to create widgets for Windows 11.

Windows 11 introduced an (optional) widgets button in the taskbar, which opens to reveal a customizable panel with weather, traffic information, to-do items, news, and other data. However, all the widgets are currently made by Microsoft — there’s no mechanism for non-Microsoft apps on your computer to add their own widgets, like apps can on iPhone, iPad, and Android. That’s finally changing, though.

Microsoft revealed in a blog post, “we’re energized by the customer feedback on Widgets to date, people are enjoying the quick access to content most important to them in a way that is seamless without breaking their flow. Beginning later this year you’ll be able to start building Widgets as companion experiences for your Win32 and PWA apps on Windows 11, powered by the Adaptive Cards platform.”

image of Widgets on Windows 11
Widgets on Windows 11 Microsoft

There aren’t many details about how third-party widgets will work, besides that they can be connected to standard Windows applications like Chrome and Word (Win32), or Progressive Web Apps that are “installed” to your PC. Microsoft is using the same Adaptive Cards framework that already powers interactive elements in the Timeline on Windows 10 (which is no longer supported), Skype bots, and Actionable Messages in Outlook. Presumably, they will work like widgets on mobile platforms, where installing an app gives you the option to add a related widget to the widgets area.

Microsoft didn’t mention if the new third-party widget support will extend to desktop widgets. The company just started experimenting with widgets on the desktop in recent Windows 11 Insider builds, starting with a search bar in the center of the screen. However, that’s still an experiment, so Microsoft might be waiting for feedback before deciding if other developers can join in on the fun.

Source: Windows Blog

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Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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