Upcoming updates to loading websites in Teams tabs

Loki Meyburg

What is the Website tab?

The Website tab allows you to pin and load a website in a Teams chat or channel. You can do this today by clicking on the plus (+) button in a chat or channel on the Teams desktop or web app. After selecting the “Website” app, you will be asked to give your tab a name and enter a URL. Once the website is pinned, you can see the website loading in the Teams app.

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The website tab is different from the Teams tab apps in which developers can embed webpages in Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and Microsoft 365 using the Teams JavaScript client library.

What are the upcoming changes for Website tabs?

Starting April 2024, Microsoft Teams will be changing how the Website tab works in the new Teams client. Instead of loading the website link inside Teams, we will be opening the website link in a new browser tab. This is to better align with emerging best practices in web security and privacy while also improving the reliability of websites opened through this feature.

Why are we making this change for the Website tab?

The new Teams app was designed to use web standard best practices and to provide the recommended security and privacy that comes with it. Both the classic and new versions of Teams rely on the powerful and flexible Chromium rendering engine to power these experiences and to embed Website tabs. However, the underlying web standards in Chromium are evolving [1] to provide better security to these websites that are being embedded in Teams. Because of this, many websites are preventing themselves from being embedded in other sites, such as Teams, for valid security and privacy reasons. Users will see a blank screen when this happens but can choose to click the “Open in browser” button in the banner to open the website in a new browser tab [2].

This does not occur for Teams tab apps, such as the Planner, SharePoint Pages or Jira apps, etc., because they are built on the Teams Platform using our developer tools to provide secure experiences to end users.

What’s the new upcoming experience?

Due to changes to the underlying web standards, we are changing how the Website tab works to better evolve with changing web standards. Instead of opening links inside the new Teams desktop or web app, we will be opening these links in a new browser tab instead. The Website app will become bookmarks for web links and all existing Website tabs will be migrated to this experience.

This change does not affect pre-existing Teams tab apps – such as the SharePoint, Jira, Planner or Forms apps – but only websites pinned using the Website tab. This will mean that if a Planner website link was pinned using the Website tab that it will be migrated to this experience and we recommend that the Planner app tab be used instead.

Please note that Education users (students/faculty) will not be impacted in April and more information will be shared with the process to follow.

What other options are available?

The Microsoft Teams App Store has thousands of applications that might suit your needs instead of pinning website links. You can also create a custom Teams Tab app that wraps your web content in a secure Teams app package which can be used in chats or channels. View the developer documentation and Developer Portal to get started. Custom Teams Tabs will continue to work and be supported.

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