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Windows 11's widgets panel will open its doors to third-party developers later this year

Windows 11 Widgets Hero
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know:

  • Third-party widgets are coming soon to Windows 11.
  • Developers will be able to add them to Win32 or PWA apps.
  • Microsoft will share more details later this year.

Microsoft has announced during its Build 2022 developer conference that starting later this year, third-party app developers will be able to begin building interactive widgets as extensions of Win32 and PWA apps on Windows 11, which users can find and utilize in the Widgets panel.

Third-party widgets will be powered by Microsoft's Adaptive Cards platform, and developers will be able to use said platform to extend their app experiences and provide useful info in the Widgets panel, even if the app is closed. 

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For the end-user, third-party widgets will be automatically added to the Widgets panel whenever you install an app that has a widget on offer. Up until now, the Windows 11 Widgets panel has been exclusive to Microsoft's own apps and services, so it's good to see the extensibility of the panel being opened up to all devs.

Microsoft hasn't committed to a release window for when third-party widget support will arrive. The company says developers will be able to begin building those experiences "later this year." Still, it doesn't say whether that will be as a preview feature or the final production version.

In related news, in a video posted by the Windows Developer Twitter account (embedded above), Kevin Gallo, head of the developer platform at Microsoft, remarks, "we're also exploring other places where widgets could appear in Windows." That sounds like Microsoft could be considering widgets on the desktop, which was also suggested in last week's Insider Dev Channel release. A desktop Bing search bar ("widget") is being tested for user feedback in that build. It sounds like there could be more to come.

Be sure to check out all the news coming out of this year's developer conference on our Build 2022 page!

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.