Developers can now start making and testing third-party Windows 11 widgets

We’re one step closer to support for third-party widgets on Windows 11, and the latest SDK lets developers create and test them.

We’re one step closer to the availability of third-party widgets on Windows 11. Microsoft today released version 1.2 of the Windows App SDK, and it’s the first version to come with support for creating app widgets for the Widgets board on Windows 11.

Third-party widgets are something Microsoft promised alongside the announcement of Windows 11 last year, but it’s taken a long time to become a reality. Currently, in order to test these widgets, you need to be a Windows Insider running build 25217 or higher. Indeed, while developers can now create these widgets, they’re still only meant to be tested locally with an Insider machine. You can’t publish an app with widgets to the Microsoft Store for others to try, though that should be coming sometime soon. Microsoft specifically mentions you can create widgets for “packaged Win32 apps”, so not every app can support widgets, either, at least for now.

Considering all the existing widgets are based on web content from Microsoft, the prospect of third-party widgets being closer to release is very positive.

That’s not all that’s new in this release of the Windows App SDK, however. Microsoft has also added support for devices with dynamic refresh rate displays, which means apps can now take advantage of the dynamically-adjusting refresh rate on devices like the Surface Laptop Studio or Surface Pro 9. In turn, that means your app can now use higher refresh rates when needed, and switch back to a lower refresh rate to save power. By default, apps will use a higher refresh rate for scrolling and other interactions without requiring any changes to the app, as long as the user has Windows 11 version 22H2.

Other improvements in this release include new media playback controls with an updated design for Windows 11, and the ability to build in voice and video calling in apps using Azure Communication Services. There’s also support for HDR and Auto Color Management through the new DisplayInformation class, a new AppNotificationBuilder for testing notifications for your apps, and support for trimming for .NET apps.

If you’re a developer, you can get started with the Windows App SDK, you’ll need to have Visual Studio 2019 or 2022, and you can download the required tools here.

Source: Microsoft