Microsoft announces the release of Windows App SDK version 1.2 (WinApp SDK), which will allow you to create widgets for Windows 11. You will need Visual Studio 2022, .NET 6+, and WinRT.Runtime.dll version 2.0 or greater to build applications using WinAppSDK 1.2.
The latest stable version of Windows App SDK comes with a set of new features. Here’s what has been changed and improved in Windows App SDK (WinApp SDK) version 1.2.
What’s new and improved in Windows App SDK 1.2
Widgets for third-party applications
The main highlight of Windows App SDK version 1.2 is the ability to create 3rd-party widgets for Windows 11 Widget Board. By creating widgets for your applications, you can enable your customers to easily and seamlessly stay up to date with the information that matters to them.
For those who don’t know, Microsoft introduced the widgets board in Windows 11 to feature content curated by Windows. It provides a glanceable view of important information with one-touch access from the taskbar. If you are using a tablet PC, you can swipe from the left side of the touch screen to view the Widgets Board.
Audio/Video calling experience using the latest WinUI controls
Windows App SDK 1.2 also enables developers to use WinUI 3’s latest media playback controls (MediaPlayerElement and MediaTransportControls) to play audio and video. You can also take advantage of Microsoft’s Azure Communication Services to add voice and video calling capabilities to your WinUI 3 applications. Microsoft Teams uses this technology for providing calling experiences.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Auto Color Management (ACM) through the DisplayInformation class are now supported via Windows App SDK version 1.2. It will enable you to monitor display-related information for an application view.
Support for Visual Studio Arm64
If you are using Visual Studio 2022 version 17.3 Preview 2 or later, you will be able to natively develop applications with WinAppSDK on Arm64 devices. To get started developing on an Arm64 device, check out the Windows on Arm and Arm64 Visual Studio docs from the Microsoft site.
Trimming for .NET apps
You can now trim your Windows applications built with Windows App SDK before publishing.
With CsWinRT 2.0, the C#/WinRT projections distributed in the WinAppSDK are trimmable, says Microsoft. When you trim an app before publishing, it will reduce the disk footprint of your app by removing any unused code from trimmable binaries.
Your app may also see a startup performance improvement. With a basic Hello World app, we have seen a ~80% disk footprint improvement and a ~7% startup performance improvement when published trimmed. With WinUI gallery, we have seen a ~45% disk footprint improvement, claims Microsoft.
Dynamic Refresh Rate
Microsoft introduces Dynamic Refresh Rate (DRR) in Windows 11. Based on what users are doing on their system, this feature enables the devices to seamlessly switch between a lower refresh rate and a higher refresh rate. This helps to balance performance and power consumption.
As part of WinUI 3 in Windows App SDK 1.2, Microsoft.UI.Composition will now support Dynamic Refresh Rate on devices that opt-in to the feature.
In Windows App SDK 1.1, Microsoft introduced the ability to create and send notifications from your application or a cloud service. With the release of WinAppSDK 1.2, the company now added AppNotificationBuilder which is an alternative to XML payload to simplify creating and defining these notifications.