In 2.8, we added the Material Editor, which can be fully used to edit materials without using the Properties. Except for just a few things: The Options and Viewport Display panels are missing in the sidebar. We should add these panels here to complete the Material Editor.
I wonder how the material slots would work there. Thinking forward for the eventual asset manager, it would have to show the slots when you want to work with a selected object, but not when just working with a material from the asset manager