One of Microsoft’s features in its Edge web browser is the Sidebar. When you enable it on the right side of the browser, you can find some extra functions like searching on the web page you are viewing, opening and using Office apps, or more recently, accessing the Bing Chat sidebar for a conversation with an AI chatbot.

This week, Microsoft announced it is allowing third-party developers to create Edge extensions that will allow them to make their own Sidebar extensions. The blog post states Microsoft has added three new extension functions for this new feature:

Default sidebar on every site: Set a default sidebar to display consistent content or extensions across all opened tabs. Default values persist across sessions, ensuring a seamless experience. Find the sample code available here.

Sidebar enablement on specific sites: Make your extension to open in the sidebar on a specific site using sidepanel.setOptions(). Customize the experience for your users based on their preferred websites.

Switching to a different sidebar: Welcome your users with a dedicated sidebar using runtime.onInstalled(). Seamlessly transition to the main side panel when they navigate to a different tab. It’s all about providing a personalized touch.

Microsoft says that the current Edge extensions can still be found and downloaded from the Edge Add-ons store.

In addition, Microsoft says that developers of progressive web apps can adapt them so they can run next to browser tabs “for a side-by-side co-browsing experience.” It adds:

We plan to help users discover and install sidebar apps as they browse the web, providing great discoverability for your app with just a simple change to your web application manifest file. This is a great option if you want to reuse your existing web app for the sidebar in Microsoft Edge and make full use of the web capabilities that are available to PWAs.

Developers can offer feedback on these new Edge Sidebar extension features at Microsoft’s Edge Extensions Github forum.


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