Side Loading Windows 8 Apps
At the Columbia Windows 8 DevCamp this weekend, the topic of side-loading apps came up in a few different scenarios, but it was particularly appropriate during the app showcase. We had a number of developers working in the lab room, all competing to come up with the coolest app at the end of the day. During the showcase where developers pitch their apps to the audience, it works best to have all the apps on the same machine. Here’s the best way to do it without having to copy source code/solution files:
From within Visual Studio, select Project > Store > Create App Packages:
In one situation, where there happened to be multiple projects in the solution, these options were disabled. Why I’m not exactly sure, but you can also create the app packages by right clicking on the project in solution explorer, and selecting Create App Packages in a similar way:
On the dialog windows that pops up, select No to build packages to upload to the store, as we’re not doing that:
On the next screen, configure any path/build options (defaults are usually ok) and click Create:
Once the packages are created, you’ll see the following folders:
We can ignore the .appxupload files for now. For loading on another machine, we’ll need to copy either the x86 or ARM (or both) to the target machine (for the devcamps, we just pass around a USB key and have everyone copy the files there).
On the machine you’d like to install the apps, run the PowerShell script (right click file, select Run with PowerShell). Of course, if you’re on a Surface or other ARM device, you’d need to run the PowerShell script from the ARM folder, otherwise use the x86:
Once running, you may be prompted to install a certificate and need to accept a UAC prompt. You’ll then see the app install:
Viola! The app should be installed on the Windows 8 Start Screen.