Windows 8 Start ScreenIf you want a token for the Windows 8 store, you need to attend an app excellence lab.

There is no question that the Windows 8 store is a significant opportunity, and getting in early will improve the chance of your app getting noticed. In Canada, your first chance to get a token to put your app in the store is by completing an app excellence lab. Bring your completed or nearly completed Windows 8 app to the lab and spend up to 4 hours with a trained Microsoft services engineer. They will help you get your app up to snuff, answer questions you may have, and give you tips on how you can improve your app.

In this post I’ll explain

  • What is an app excellence lab?
  • How do I register for a lab?
  • Where can I learn more about building Windows 8 apps?
  • When are the app excellence labs?
  • What if I don’t live in a city with an app excellence lab?
  • Does my app have to be 100% complete to attend a lab?

What is an app excellence lab?

The lab is an up to 4-hour engagement with a trained Microsoft Services Engineer. This engineer will run your app through a series of tests based on a quality checklist to ensure your app is (or will be) in top-notch shape when you submit. You will also get a chance discuss ways to make your app even better and you will get answers to any questions you might have.

When you schedule your slot, you receive a detailed survey with questions about your app, useful advice, links to guidelines, etc.  The survey is not the only criteria we use at the labs, but if you follow the preparation given in the survey, you will likely have a high-level, great app.

If your app meets the criteria, you will  receive a token to register your developer account. Once verified, you will be able to submit your app to the Windows store. If your app does not meet the criteria, nothing is lost. You will still end up with a much better app and you will be able to submit it when registration opens for all developers.

How do I register for a lab?

Attend a Windows 8 Developer Camp, Windows 8 Design Clinic or Windows 8 Hackathon (upcoming cities and dates at the bottom of this blog post)

AND/OR

Review the app-building content from the Windows Developer Centre to learn the fundamentals of building a great Metro-style Windows 8 App.

Create a Windows 8 Metro-style app (or game) TODAY.  Get it ready as if you were submitting it to the store for certification.

Read through all of the great UX Guidelines online in the design section of the Windows Developer Centre.

Contact win8cdn@microsoft.com and include the following information:

  • Your Name
  • Your Address information
  • A brief application description (no binary, optional screenshot, but only send if the screenshot is not confidential)
  • Wait for Thomas Lewis to respond letting you know where and when the closest lab will be, at which point we’ll schedule a time slot that is mutually beneficial.

Where can I learn more about building Windows 8 apps?

Vancouver

Montreal

Ottawa

if you can’t attend one of the Windows 8 events, you can still learn about how to build Windows 8 apps online at the Windows developer center and bring your app to the labs.

When are the app excellence labs?

Toronto May 22-25; May 28- June 1

Montreal June 4 – 8

Vancouver June 11-15; June 18-22

What if I don’t live in a city where there’s an app excellence lab?

Excellent question, well if you live nearby, your best bet is to drive to the nearest city where there is a lab, Ottawa to Montreal isn’t that far. But, if you live in Halifax or Edmonton that could be a challenge, let alone Yellowknife or St John’s. So, just submit your app information to win8cdn@microsoft.com as described above and register for a remote session using Skype or Lync during one of the lab weeks listed. Don't wait until the day before to request a time please, so we can address capacity issues.

Does my app have to be 100% complete to attend a lab?

Another good question, If your app is 100% complete then there is much higher chance that you will get a store token when you leave the lab. But there is still value in attending the labs with an app that is not completely finished. Up to 4 hours with a Microsoft engineer is sure going to help you figure out what little thing you need to add to finish up your application with the confidence that when you are finished it will be store ready. So, no your app doesn’t have to be 100% complete, but the closer to finished you have your app, the more you will get out of the app excellence lab.

So what are you waiting for? Get coding Canada! I can’t wait to see what you build!