Where can you find this symbol?

The Windows 8 ecosystem provides several ways to discover app’s.

First, every Windows 8 machine has the Windows Store application.  One can find an app via promotion on the landing page, via application categories and filtering, and even via the search charm.

Second, any published app can be found via a browser and search engines. You can share the URL of a specific app page with anyone, and any browser. Finding the URL takes a little effort – I do a search like windows store + company name. As an example, BING windows store buzztap (looking for Buzztap), and look for a URL that starts with http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/….

Third, there’s a hidden little gem that I don’t hear many people talk about – but I think it’s kind of interesting.In Modern IE10 (where most Windows 8 consumers will be surfing), have you ever seen this symbol?


Well, the wrench should look familiar – it’s the wrench in the modern IE10 toolbar – which typically enables finding text on the page AND jumping to the desktop version of IE10 . But note this version of the button has an addition of a plus sign. It’s a visual indication that the current web site has a enhanced experience waiting for the consumer in the Windows Store.  More details and background can be found here, but it only takes two lines added to the HEAD element in the web page to enable this (see msApplication-ID and msApplicationFamilyName).  To see this in action, take a look at Cut The Rope site – and go ahead an install the Windows 8 game version of this while you’re there.

To take this further, the web developer can even add another line to supply additional arguments (msApplicationArguments) – so that the consumer could be taken to an existing page in the application (assuming the app is already installed on the consumer machine). That’s kinda cool too!  There are all sorts on scenarios that can be created from this.  Maybe I could jump directly to a specific item in a catalog, go directly to an artist in a music app, etc.

So, there you go. Bottom line: we want people to find your app.