Microsoft gives the starting signal for third-party widgets development for Windows 11

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 8, 2022
Windows 11 News

When Microsoft launched Windows 11 a year ago, it introduced a dedicated icon on the taskbar that would open the Widgets panel. Hovering the mouse over the Widgets icon is enough to display the interface. The initial release displayed first-party content only, including weather information, news, stock quotes, calendar data, and other content.

Microsoft announced back then that it would allow third-party widgets content. Shortly after the release of the first feature update for Windows 11, Microsoft gave the starting signal for third-party widgets development for Windows 11.

Microsoft released the Insider Preview build 25217 this week, and along with it came the announcement that developers could get to work. Microsoft released a new preview of the WinAppSDK 1.2, and it includes the third-party widgets platform according to Microsoft's announcement.

"We are excited to announce support for 3rd party widgets as part of the WinAppSDK 1.2 preview 2 release. Our team has been working hard to expand the Widgets board that was first introduced in Windows 11 to more developers."

For now, developers may test third-party widgets that they develop locally only. The latest Windows 11 Insider Preview build is required for that as well. Additionally, and that is the last of the requirements, Developer Mode needs to be enabled on the Windows 11 machine.

To do that, administrators need to open Start > Settings > Privacy & Security > For Developers. The option to enable Developer Mode is located there.

Microsoft published two support pages for developers. The first, Widgets Overview, includes important information about Windows Widgets, including design fundamentals, interaction design guidance, and Widget states and built-in UI components. The second, Widget service providers overview, offers information on implementing a widget provider in a win32 app and related information.

Microsoft has yet to announce when third-party widgets will become available on Windows 11. It is possible that basic support will be added as part of a feature drop update for Windows 11, or, when the next feature update for Windows 11 is released, which will be in late 2023. The company plans to offer them to users via its Microsoft Store.

What you may expect regarding third-party widgets

Every type of content that Microsoft is offering as a widget may soon be offered by different third-party services as well. This may include weather widgets using different sources, news from other providers, integration of file listings and document listings from providers such as Dropbox or Box.

There is also the chance that new types of widgets will make an appearance. Maybe an RSS feed reader that pushes the most recent updates to the widget, or media content.

Now you: what would you like to see created as a widget?

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Microsoft gives the starting signal for third-party widgets development for Windows 11
Microsoft has given the starting signal for the development of third-party widgets for the company's Windows 11 operating system.
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  1. Jek Porkins said on October 9, 2022 at 9:32 am

    I did not find much use for widgets in Vista or 7 and only used them for 1-2 days for novelty’s sake and then removed them.

    I don’t see what Microsoft sees in them or what do they expect people will gain from widgets.

    What I don’t understand is why when clicking the time in the taskbar on Windows 11 doesn’t show detailed time with HH:MM:ss like it did on previous versions of Windows. I get it that having analog clock would consume too much space and some embryos won’t know what it even is or how to read it, but not having a detailed digital clock is peak Microsoft retardation.

    1. Knievel said on October 11, 2022 at 6:46 am

      There’s a design flaw in the taskbar, there needs to be a certain amount of icons visible in the tray or else they all disappear. For example, disable MS Defender and poof, you have no taskbar tray. Insert a usb stick and boom, the tray is back. Workaround: always show touch keyboard icon or nvidia cpu icon. Why disable MS Defender? It’s garbage. All AV are garbage and useless.

    2. Vortexas said on October 10, 2022 at 5:18 pm

      You don’t need seconds because when using Windows, time stands still.

    3. FedUp said on October 9, 2022 at 9:18 pm

      Windows almost always has alternative ways of doing things. If you need to see seconds, you could create a shortcut to the Date and Time app in Control Panel.

      Right click desktop
      Choose New, shortcut
      Paste the next line:
      %windir%\System32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL timedate.cpl,,0

      Choose Next
      Replace rundll32.exe with whatever name you want.
      Double-clicking that will bring up Control Panel’s Date and Time app, which shows both digital and analog time. Digital time will be formatted lolng time, according to you system settings. If you wish to change the format, click ‘Change calendar settings’ on the lower left of the window.

      1. Anonymous said on October 9, 2022 at 9:29 pm

        You could alternatively use ‘timedate.cpl’ as the shortcut.
        You could also use a shortcut key

    4. John G. said on October 9, 2022 at 6:21 pm

      There is no reason to hide seconds. MS is the only OS unable to show them.

  2. John G. said on October 9, 2022 at 12:15 am

    A pig walks slowly towards a man and it says:
    – I beg your pardon sir, have you seen my girlfriend?
    – One moment, you meant your pigfriend, don’t you?

    This is a bad joke, like W11.

  3. FedUp said on October 8, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    Microsoft works on the basis everybody needs everything flashing before their eyes. I prefer zero distractions using the computer and disabled widgets via Registry. To me a good OS has only enough to cover needs. Wants should be optional. Opt in, not work to disable.

  4. Anonymous said on October 8, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    DOA until requiring a Microsoft account is removed.

  5. Monsieur Mosse said on October 8, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    Bonjourmadame widget incoming.

  6. Anonymous said on October 8, 2022 at 6:09 pm

    >widgets on the desktop
    Is it 2005?

    1. Dustyn said on October 9, 2022 at 1:59 am

      No. In 2005 those were called “GADGETS”.

      1. Vista 4 Life said on October 10, 2022 at 5:16 pm

        They were also recommended, by Microsoft, to be uninstalled and the whole gadget platform deactivated because of massive security risks. Any reason to believe things are different this time around..?

      2. Croatoan said on October 9, 2022 at 5:50 pm

        I use “widgets” from program called Rainmeter. Small footprint and there are many, many “widgets”.

      3. Anonymous said on October 9, 2022 at 6:11 am

        In 2005 I called them ‘useless’ and there’s still no need to rename them.

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