Microsoft has been liking the idea of desktop widgets for a long time now. They appeared initially on Windows Vista and they continued on Windows 7 but they disappeared on Windows 8 and Windows 10 as they were replaced by “Live Tiles”. Windows 11 gave up on the Metro UI interface which included the active icons, and a new widget drawer has been implemented. Microsoft announced that soon developers will be able to create new widgets for Windows 11.
The only widgets currently available in Windows 11 were developed by Microsoft and integrated directly into Windows. Microsoft announced that the company wants to allow independent developers to build widgets and they might be able to attach panels into the official Windows 11 drawer.
It appears that Microsoft is planning to attach widgets to Windows apps as we’re currently seeing for iOS and Android applications, but these apps will not be limited to a single type. Whether developers will choose to launch apps in the classic “win32” format with regular executable or they will choose to create apps for Microsoft Store in PWA format, they will be able to integrate widgets.
“We are happy with the feedback we have received so far regarding widgets because users get access fast to the most important content in a fast way, without taking time from usual tasks. Starting this year developers will be able to create widgets as additional experiences for Win32 and PWA apps on Windows 11 with the help of the Adaptive Cards platform” Panos Panay said.
With the opening of the Adaptive Cards platform it is possible for widgets to be placed directly on the desktop or in Start Menu and not only in the dedicated drawer as they work now.