Build 2022: Third party widgets are coming to Windows 11, powered by Adaptive Cards

Kip Kniskern

Microsoft has tried and tried again with some form of “widgets” for Windows. From all the way back to Desktop Gadgets in Windows Vista, the company has been working on various ways to introduce small bits of information in a contained visual style to Windows. They’ve been trying again with Widgets in Windows 11, so far consisting mostly of News and Weather widgets that provide a quick look at the latest updates (and provide a convenient link to help bolster Bing and Microsoft Ads numbers).

Today at Build 2022 Microsoft is announcing the first steps in an expansion of the Widgets project, and will allow developers to “start building Widgets as companion experiences for your Win32 and PWA apps on Windows11,” powered by Adaptive Cards. These cards, written in JSON, can provide bits of information to a wide variety of devices and formats, allowing developers to create one set of information and deliver it to Android, iOS, JavaScript, ASP.Net, .Net WPF, Windows, and ReactNative without dealing with the complexities of styling the cards for each presentation type.

Adaptive Cars are built on a “universal card exchange network,” and while the cards currently work on the Windows Timeline, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Cortana Skills, and Microsoft’s Bot Framework Web Chat, they can also be added to other networks, as Cisco has done with WebEx Teams.

So far, details are light on how developers will be able to introduce their apps in to Windows 11 Widgets and have them show up on the desktop, and Microsoft is promising more news “later this year.”

Stay tuned to OnMSFT for all the news from Build 2022 and Microsoft.