Windows 11 22H2: Leak confirms big desktop widgets upgrade

Windows 11 widgets upgrade

Windows 11 version 22H2, otherwise known as Sun Valley 2, is
set to finalize in a few months for late summer rollout.
Sun Valley 2, this would be the anniversary update for
Windows 11 and it will focus on quality improvements to polish
the existing user interface.

As you’re probably aware, Windows 11 ships with a redesigned
Start menu and taskbar experience, and several basic features
are missing. For example, you cannot easily dismiss the
“recommended” in the new Start Menu. It is also not possible to
increase the number of app icons in the Start menu.

Likewise, Windows 11’s flagship feature “Widgets” board feels
incomplete and it doesn’t support third-party widgets at the
moment. You can only manage widgets like Microsoft Calendar,
Movies & TV and Microsoft To-Do, but this is going to change
with Windows 11 Sun Valley 2 in the second half of the year.

Windows 11 third-party widgets

New developer guidelines, which appeared on Microsoft’s
website, has confirmed that a future Windows 11 update will
substantially improve the widgets panel by adding support for
third-party widgets.

The support document suggests that these third-party widgets
are going to be web-based and Microsoft isn’t planning to offer
Win32 or UWP widgets via the widget board for now, but this
could change in future.

Interestingly, it looks like third-party widgets can be
installed without the Store. As per the doc, publishing web
widgets to Microsoft Store would provide enhanced discovery in
the Microsoft Store or widget board. Developers can publish a
Windows app widget through the Store and the process would be
the same.

  • App extension manifest is used to register widgets with the
    Widget board.
  • MSI install code does COM registration and calls Widget
    Registration APIs at install time.
  • Web widgets are supported, more to come later.

Additionally, there’s mention of “Adaptive Cards” in the
documents, which are “platform-agnostic snippets of UI”
designed for integration into Host experiences like Widgets.
The Adaptive Cards are automatically styled to match the Host
experience, ensure low memory and CPU usage, and more.

It is possible that Microsoft is already working on new widgets
with a small group of developers and public testing should
begin in a few weeks as Microsoft wants this feature to be
ready for Windows 11 Sun Valley 2.

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