The Windows Store, Windows Phone Store and app certification
[This article is for Windows 8.x and Windows Phone 8.x developers writing Windows Runtime apps. If you’re developing for Windows 10, see the latest documentation]
Publish your app in the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store to share it with the world and reap the benefits.
The Windows Store and Windows Phone Store are the ideal way to sell or distribute your apps, for both WindowsWindows and Windows Phone devices. To get started, you must first write your app using Visual Studio (you can use the free Express version if you want — get it here: Developer downloads for programming Windows Store apps), test it, and submit it to the stores for approval. After it's certified, your app is made available to users all over the world.
Here's some great things about developing Windows Store and Windows Phone Store apps:
- Target millions more devices and users for your apps. You can code once and have a great app experience that scales across millions of devices from phones to tablets to all-in-one PCs, from 8" to 27" screen sizes.
- You get a modern UI, and new controls. Windows Store app are different from traditional desktop apps. In fact, Windows Store apps are like the apps you already develop – except they run on every desktop, laptop, and tablet running Windows 8. Windows Phone apps are modern, sophisticated apps with access to a large range of online services to take mobile computing to the next level.
- The new Windows Runtime API. You can use it to write graphically rich, easy-to-use apps that take full advantage of modern hardware like touch screens and position sensors. Apps can share data with each other, and even share the screen. Tiles replace icons and can be updated with new info in real time. The Windows Runtime API takes the best of Win32 and .NET development and creates a brand new modern development platform.
- Microsoft Visual Studio and Blend for Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 provide a hugely respected development environment. These tools are designed specifically for creating and testing user interfaces.
The info here helps you adapt your existing iOS app development skills to develop great apps for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. You don’t even need a PC to get started, as you can use your Mac to run Windows 8.1 using emulation software — see Installing Windows and the dev tools on your Mac. All the tools you need, including Visual Studio Express and Blend, are just a free download away.
To successfully create Windows Store apps or Windows Phone Store apps and to get them published in the stores, you'll need a few things:
- A developer account. To get one, go to the Windows Store Dashboard and follow the on-screen directions.
- Windows 8 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2013. To get them, do one of the following:
- A developer license for Windows 8. To get one, see Develop Windows Store apps using Visual Studio.
App certification process
Before your app can be sold on the stores, it must pass certification. The process contains several steps — see the topic Certify your app for more info — but in practice, you build your app in Visual Studio, and then select Project > Store > Create App Packages to create a suitable binary.
The certification process begins properly when you run the Windows App Certification Kit locally on your computer. (See this topic for more info on doing that: Using the Windows App Certification Kit.) This utility performs a thorough test of various aspects of your app, and once it's passed, you can then upload the file to your Windows Store dashboard for further testing.
If your app fails certification, you'll get a full report that explains what went wrong so that you can fix the problem and resubmit.
With games, you might be required to fill in some extra forms depending on the country and age rating you've requested.
As Windows 8 runs on x86, x64 and ARM architectures, there may be some extra work to do in order to maintain compatibility. For example, if your app is using a DLL compiled for x86, it will not run on an ARM-based device. Here are some useful links:
Universal Windows apps
A Universal Windows app is an app designed for both Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, built from the same solution in Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Update 2. They can share code, but more importantly, they can share an identity in the stores. As a developer, you can allow a user who purchases your Windows app to automatically get a copy for Windows Phone and vice versa.
- Building Universal Windows apps for all Windows devices
- Using Visual Studio to Build XAML Converged Apps