You’ve done it, you have finally finished your Windows 8 app and are ready to submit it to the Windows Store. Your masterpiece can now be downloaded by the hundreds and thousands of Windows 8 users. You have made sure your code is clean, double checked your unit tests and deployed it onto another device just to triple-check. You are ready to submit your app, but are you really ready?
That is what this post will take a look at, I have created an individual account and will walk you through my experience of submitting my first app and discuss the certification process as well as common pitfalls that you can easily avoid.
Before you can submit an application to the marketplace, you will need to setup an account at http://dev.windows.com first. Registration is $49 USD for individuals and $99 for companies and requires a valid credit card number. You will also need to enter such things as: Your publisher display name and developer info. If you are planning on selling an app, then you will need to create a payout account before you can enter a tax profile. After that process is complete, you may now submit an app to the marketplace.
Now that you have access to the Windows Store app dashboard, I’m sure you are eager to submit your app to the marketplace, but there is a few steps that you can take right now in order to make your submission process successful on the first attempt.
Submitting an App
Now that you have an account that you can publish apps from, and have performed some prep work, you are now ready to submit your app. You can log into your dashboard by going back to http://dev.windows.com and selecting “Dashboard” then “Submit an app” and you will see the following screen as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: The Windows Store Dashboard to submit a new application.
One thing to point out here is that you can complete any step at any time and come back later to complete the process. This is especially important for the “App Name” as you will need to register a unique name as quickly as possible to make sure your brand name isn’t taken by somebody else.
Now your application is ready to be submitted and the waiting game begins. It goes through several stages as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: The Windows Store Dashboard to submit a new application.
The stage that takes the longest and rightfully so is the “Content compliance” stage, where someone from Microsoft will review that your application meets the certification guidelines detailed here. Shortly after your app has been submitted then you will see a certification report that says if your app passed or failed certification as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: The Windows Store Certification report with a failed content compliance.
As shown in Figure 3, we can see that my app did not pass certification due to the fact that I declared network capabilities (internet) and did not include a privacy statement in the Charms bar. In other words, I did not pass the 4.1 requirement in the certification guidelines detailed here.
It turns out that this is a common error and could have been easily avoided by reading through Jennifer Marsman’s series called, “Common certification errors when submitting to the Windows Store”. I’ve listed out all of the parts below:
This is a great series and I would recommend started from the beginning and reading your way down. Jennifer works for Microsoft and has seen it all from developers, so make that your starting place before submitting your app.
Once I fixed my error, it was time to upload my package again and I received a passing certification along with a link to where my application is located on the web which allows your user a quick way to download it from the Windows Store.
Today, we learned that building your Windows 8 app is just part of the process. You will need to go through many other steps in order to obtain a successful submission. Microsoft has put these pieces in place not to annoy you, but to make sure that every app in the store maintains a certain level of quality that gives the end-user a pleasant experience. I hope this blog post shed a light on some of my experiences and would love for you to share yours in the comments below. As always, if you have any questions, then feel free to leave a comment below or connect with us on twitter.
Thanks for reading!
-Michael Crump (@mbcrump)
Michael Crump is a Microsoft MVP, Pluralsight and MSDN author as well as an international speaker. He works at Telerik with a focus on everything mobile. You can follow him on Twitter at @mbcrump or keep up with his various blogs by visiting his Telerik Blog or his Personal Blog.