I can’t believe it is time! For the past 17 steps we have been working on a small Windows Store App together, and it is now time to submit it to the Windows Store. Let’s have a look at what we have to do to do that.
To be able to publish an app you need a developer account, and the exact steps for that are very well explained here: Publishing your app to the Store (Windows)
Costs – or the lack of them
To just develop Windows Store Apps there is no cost, you can even use Visual Studio Express for free, just make sure you have an msn account (free to register one).
Once you want to actually publish an app you will need to do your developer registration, it costs $49 dollars for individuals and $99 for companies. This is for two years!!
Right now there are even some promo events in the US where you can get back your fee if you publish an app between December 20th 2012 and March 2013. There are also prices you can win, besides getting the fee back.
We will go through most of those steps (except registering an account- we will be using an existing account that I have). I will also show how you update an existing application with another release.
Running the WACK tool
There are quite a few requirements for an app to be approved for the store. To make sure that many of those are met prior to submitting the app there is a tool you have to use as a developer. This tool is the WACK tool. This tool, the windows app certification kit, validates the applications compliance with certain requirements, and the application must pass all those requirements to be listed in the Store.
You can run the tool in a few different ways, by using the tool directly. Open the WACK tool, select Windows Store App, select the app to be tested, and run the tool. But, there is an easier way to go about it if you are also submitting the app to the Store and we will go through those steps.
If you have problems running the WACK tool, either failing to do so through the Visual Studio shortcut or by launching the WACK tool directly, I’ve written up a nice how to guide with step by step pictures on how to use PowerShell to run the tool.
Running the WACK tool using Powershell 2012 in Windows 8 to test a Windows Store App
- First of all, make sure the app isn’t in debug build, but release build! (Common reason for failing the test)
- Right click on the project, select Store and Create App Package
- Sign in to your account, make sure you are online before you do this
- If you haven’t reserved any names, or if you don’t have an app that you are making a second release for – then click to create a new app name, which basically means you are reserving a name. As soon as you choose reserve name, the name will be displayed as an option. Choose the app to associate the app packages with, and proceed.
- Select which app packages to create
- The WACK tool will then be launched, let it run- and please make sure you let it run in please. It will take a few minutes, so be patient.
- The result will then be displayed. If it fails I would recommend opening the result of the test in VS and have a look where it failed. A very common thing is forgetting to build in release mode, and getting a Debug configuration test FAILED
The testes, what they mean, and what to look out for, are found here:
Windows App Certification Kit tests (Windows)
- After you are done, log in with your account and navigate to the app. Fill in all the required details by following the steps explained there. Make sure you spend some time doing this, it will be worth it.
- I would also recommend that you supply the non mandatory promotional images, which will be used if your application is chosen as one of the few lucky ones to be promoted in the Store. You never know, so spend those few extra minutes! Don’t forget to also add those screenshots we took in the last step.
- Once you are done you can follow the certification status. The first time I submitted an app it took one day, the next time a bit over one week, and this second release took two days. So the time it takes does vary, and all apps are actually manually tested.
Here you can see the app listed in the Store! Download it and play around with it, and make sure you review it and leave some feedback 🙂 I already have a smaller list with things that need to be fixed for the next release, as always – and application is an ongoing process as it is hard to spot all the problems before a release.