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    How to get your free student Windows 8 store account

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    The Windows 8 store is open for individuals to publish and students can get a Windows store account for free through the DreamSpark program, here’s how you do it.

    Microsoft announced this week, that the Windows 8 Store is open to individuals and that they will be providing free accounts to students through the DreamSpark program, the same awesome deal we got for the Windows Phone marketplace. That means the only thing standing between you and an app in the store is some time at your keyboard geeking out!

    How do you get your free marketplace account, go here and follow the instructions, the rest of this blog provides more detailed instructions on how to create your marketplace account.

    You must

    1. Verify you are a student
    2. Get your registration code
    3. Register at the Windows Store
    4. Get Coding!

     

    1. Verify you are a student

    Already got a DreamSpark account?

    Then jump to step 2 and Get your registration code!

    Don’t have a DreamSpark account?

    You need a DreamSpark account in order to get a registration code. It’s the registration code that allows you to create your store account for free. Only students or educators can create DreamSpark accounts. If you are a student or educator and do not have one yet, create a DreamSpark account.

     

    2. Get your registration code

    Go to DreamSpark and Sign in with your DreamSpark account, now from the top menu select Students | app development

    Select Windows 8 Learn more

    Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Get Your Registration code

    You will be brought back to the top of the screen. In the box with the title Get Registration Code. Select Get Code Now.

     

     

    After you select Get Code now a code will be displayed in the box. Write that code down. That’s the code that will allow you to create your Windows Store account for free. Now you can creating your Windows Store account!

     

    3. Register at the Windows Store

    Go to the Windows Store

    • If you already have a Windows Phone store account you can link the accounts and keep the same publisher display name for both accounts or you can start over and create a new Publisher account for your Windows 8 Store account.
    • You will be asked to confirm or enter information about your store account including your Publisher display name. This is the name that will appear in the store as the publisher for all your apps.
    • You will have to accept the application developer agreement.
    • Enter your registration code in the registration code box so you don’t have to pay the $49 account fee.image

     

    • You will now be asked to enter your credit card information.
    • Yes, even if you get a free Store account you are required to enter credit card information. Pre-paid credit cards won’t work. That’s because this is another way of confirming your identity. You enter credit card information and a small amount is charged to your credit card and then reversed. You will need to look at your credit card statement to find the transaction in order to be able to verify your Store account.

    • After you enter your credit card information you will see a confirmation screen you can use to double check your information before you create your account by clicking the Purchase button. DONT FORGET TO READ THE SMALL PRINT THAT EXPLAINS THE FINAL VERIFICATION OF YOUR CREDIT CARD!

    image

      Now that your account is created, you need that credit card statement! It may take a day or two for your online bill to show the transaction. If you are in a hurry, you can try calling your credit card company to get the information sooner. If you do not have online billing, you will have to call the credit card company or wait until you get your credit card bill in the mail.

      Once you have the credit card bill with the transaction information return to the Windows Dev Center, Sign In, select Dashboard from the menu, and select Verify your payment method.

      At the bottom of the screen you are asked to enter the 3 digit code that appears in the transaction description OR the transaction amount that was charged (and will be refunded to the credit card!)

      Verify payment

      Once you have entered that information, Congratulations! You are ready to submit your first app to the Windows store! Whenever you are ready return to the dashboard and choose Submit an app to get started! 

      4. Get Coding!

      Go reserve the name of your app (before someone else nabs it! Better to be Timer than Timer74) and get coding! Here’s a few resources to help

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      Building a great Windows 8 app Step 4: Pick your programming language

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      Windows 8 start screenWhat’s the best programming language for your Windows 8 app? .NET, JavaScript with HTML/Canvas, or C++?

      This blog is part of a series, you can see the rest of the series here.

      If you want to develop for Windows 8, you need to decide which programming model best suits your needs and skills and find some resources to help you get started with your chosen model. Don’t forget in Canada, any app you publish before end of March 2013 can earn you rewards through the Developer Movement, and students building apps can enter them in Imagine Cup!

      Let’s look at options for different types of developers:

      • Are you a web developer?
      • Are you a game developer?
      • Are you a .NET developer?
      • Are you a Java developer?
      • Are you a C++ developer?
      • Are you an iOS developer?
      • Are you an Android developer?

      Are you a web developer?

      If you’ve been coding HTML, HTML5, CSS or JavaScript you can use those same programming skills to build a Windows 8 app. To get started check out the Roadmap for Windows 8 apps using JavaScript.

      Websites have been built with HTML, CSS and JavaScript for years. In the past few years the trend has been towards HTML5. Microsoft started to enter the HTML5 world with Internet Explorer 9. IE9 added a lot of support to HTML5 features, and IE10 took it even further. Windows 8 continues the trend of supporting HTML5. If you haven’t explored it yet, HTML5 is more than just new markup tags like <video> and <audio> it includes improvements to CSS (like media queries to handle different screen sizes) and updates to JavaScript. HTML5 has been gaining in popularity in the web space because it does not require any plug ins and every year more HTML5 features are being supported by more browsers. So if you are already developing websites with HTML and JavaScript take what you know and apply it to Windows 8 app development.

      Are you a game developer?

      There are a number of options for game development on Windows 8, what makes sense for you depends on your existing game experience and the complexity of the game you plan to build.

      C++

      I would not recommend C++ and DirectX for a beginner programmer, but, when it comes to high performance games, serious gamers turn to C++ and DirectX. With DirectX and C++ you can build great games for Windows 8. To get started, check out the Developing Games for Windows 8 or Developing apps with C++ and DirectX (scroll down to the section Game Programming in C++.)

      JavaScript with HTML and Canvas

      Easier for beginners than DirectX, you might be surprised at the games you can build with HTML and Canvas. It is growing in popularity for web games, especially with fewer platforms supporting Flash. The same HTML and Canvas capabilities that exist on the web can be used to build cool games for Windows 8. To get started here’s a good post by David Rousset called Everything you need to know to build HTML5 games with Canvas

      Have you already built XNA games?

      XNA is not included on Windows 8, however there is an open source cross platform implementation of the XNA framework called MonoXNA that you can use to build Windows 8 apps. To get started check out Tara Walker’s blog on Windows 8 development using C#, XNA and MonoGame 3.0

      Do you prefer a 3rd party tool which generates the code for you?

      There are a lot of companies out there who produce tools for beginner and experienced game developers. These products have their own development environments and generate the application code for you. Some of these tools are free, some charge you either for the development environment tools, or to publish the apps. To get started check out cross platform tools that support Windows 8

      Are you a .NET developer?

      If you are already familiar with the .NET framework, you will probably find it easiest to develop your apps in C# or VB .Net with XAML. To get started check out the Roadmap for Windows 8 apps using C# or Visual Basic.

      Are you a Java developer?

      If you have already coded in Java, you will find it pretty easy to pick up C#. Consider building your apps with C# and XAML.To get started check out the Roadmap for Windows 8 apps using C# or Visual Basic.

      Are you a C++ developer?

      Go ahead and build your app using C++ and XAML. To get started check out Building your first Windows Store app using C++.

      Are you an iOS developer?

      There’s some great resources to help you bring your knowledge of Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, and XCode to Windows Store app development. To get started check out Resources for iOS developers. If you are planning to build a new app and want to target multiple platforms you may also want to check out Cross platform tools that support Windows 8.

      Are you an Android developer?

      The platforms are different, but you can certainly take an app you built for Android and port it to Windows 8. To get started check out this article Porting Android apps to Windows 8 . If you are planning to build a new app and want to target multiple platforms you may also want to check out Cross platform tools that support Windows 8.

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      What cross platform development tools support Windows 8 and Windows Phone?

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      Want your app on multiple platforms without rewriting all the code? Here’s a summary of some of the tools, libraries and SDKs out there to support building multi-platform apps.

      Every mobile developer struggles with the decision of which platforms to support, and most end up building for more than one platform. I am frequently asked what tools are out there to make it easier to build for multiple platforms. Well, there are lots of options out there for you, everything from professional paid tools to open source libraries. I decided to sit down and put together a list for you. Information is all based on what I could find on their websites at the time this blog was posted. For the most up-to-date information I recommend you visit the product sites themselves. Each product title is linked back to their website. There are some gaming and graphic specific tools listed as well.

      Don't forget good design of your app also makes it easier to implement on multiple platforms. Using a Model View ViewModel architecture makes it easier to re-use your code. Check out this MVVM Light Toolkit or Okra (formerly Cocoon) to help you get started with the MVVM model pattern in XAML. This is great when combined with portable class libraries which allows you to share code between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 apps.

      appDesigner

      • Platform support: Windows 8, iOS
      • Price: Revenue from published apps is split 50/50
      • Coding language: HTML5
      • Development Environment: appDesigner
      • Description: Use AppDesigner to create an interactive app with drag and drop images, video, and audio files to prototype. Once you’ve finished upload to AppDesigner.com. The business development team reviews your app concept and provides and upload code to build the finished app. When you receive your upload code, you upload your app concept and the technicians build a native app for the store.

      Xamarin.Mobile 

      • Platform support: Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 support, iOS, and Android
      • Price: around $999
      • Coding language: C#
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio, or MonoDevelop IDE on PC or Mac
      • Description: A library that exposes a single set of APIs for accessing common mobile device functionality across iOS, Android and Windows platforms. This increases the amount of code you can share across mobile platforms making app development easier and faster. They currently abstract contacts, camera, and geo-location. Future plans include notifications and accelerometer services.

      Trigger.io

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android
      • Price: starts at $19/month pricing varies based on Number of developers and number of apps
      • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
      • Development Environment: Trigger.io Toolkit or use your own IDE
      • Description: Build apps using the best of HTML5 and native. Forge is a development framework which enables you to create native apps for multiple platforms from a single HTML% codebase. It consists of a JavaScript API that exposes device functionality and UI components such as the Camera, SMS, Contacts, Topbar and Tabbar navigation and a cloud build service to compile your app for each platform that you want to support.

      Appcelerator

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 (coming early 2013), iOS, Android, mobile web
      • Price: packages listed on website but not prices
      • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
      • Development Environment: Titanium Studio
      • Description: Appcelerator is the first application development mobile platform to combine the flexibility of open source development technologies with the power of cloud services. Develop using a JavaScript based development platform. Leverage experiences like push notifications with the cloud services.

      Marmalade

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 8 (end of 2012), Windows 8 (early 2013), iOS, Android, BlackBerry
      • Price: There is a free license for students and educational institutions. Community license is $149, Indie license is $499
      • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio
      • Description: Tool that allows you to develop cross-platform native games and apps in C/C++ and deploy to both mobile and desktop with a unified toolset. You can submit your games and apps to stores like Steam and you can now mix HTML5 with native platform code.

      Apache Cordova (formerly known as PhoneGap)

      • Platform support: Windows Phone support, Android, iOS, Blackberry, QT, WebOS
      • Price: Open source
      • Coding language – HTML, CSS, JavaScript
      • Description: Set of device APIs that allow a movile app developer to access native device function such as camera or accelerometer from JavaScript. Combined with a UI framework such as jQuery Mobile or Dojo, this allows a smartphone app to be developed with just HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Because these JavaScript APIs are consisted across multiple device platforms and built on web standards, the app should be portable to other device platforms with minimal to no changes. Apps using Cordova can be made available from the device’s app store

      Sencha Touch

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 8 (coming soon), iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire
      • Price: There are free options, but it depends on licensing model
      • Coding language – HTML, CSS
      • Development Environment: Sencha Cmd
      • Description: A high performance HTML5 mobile application framework. With over 50 built-in components, state management, and a built in MVC system, Sencha Touch provides everything you need to create universal mobile web apps.

      Embarcadero RAD Studio XE3

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Mac OS,
      • Price: There are special programs for academic usage, editions but not prices are listed on the site
      • Coding language: HTML5, C++
      • Development Environment: RAD Studio XE3
      • Description: A way to build data rich visually engaging applications for Windows 8, Mac, Web and mobile.

      appMobi

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, Open Web
      • Price: For hobby developers free but no cloud services, for money making apps charges based on monthly active users
      • Coding language: HTML5
      • Development Environment: appMobi or your own IDE
      • Description: A complete ecosystem to support cross platform mobile app development and deployment using HTML5. appMobi augments HTML5 by providing functions that HTML5 lacks: device and OS interface, user authentication, in app purchasing, rich media push messaging, gamification, social networking, live app updates. From a single HTML5 code base, store ready apps can be built for a variety of platforms.

      RhoMobile

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 7, Windows Embedded, Windows desktop, iOS, Blackberry
      • Price: Couldn't find any pricing information on the site
      • Coding language: HTML5
      • Development Environment: RhoMobile Suite
      • Description: Let's you create flexible OS independent applications that look, feel and act the same on every supported device. device type, operating system and screen size doesn't matter. You control how applications behave on different devices.

      jQuery mobile

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian
      • Price: Open Source
      • Coding language: HTML5, JavaScript
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio
      • Description: A unified, HTML5 based user interface system for all popular mobile device platforms, built on the jQuery and jQuery UI foundation. Lightweight code with a flexible easily themable design

      3D Graphics and Gaming

      Yo Yo Games GameMaker

      • Platform support: Windows Phone 8, Windows 8,
      • Price: Studio (Free), Standard ($49.99 can export to Windows 8), Professional ($99.99 can export to Windows Phone with $199.99 add-on), Master ($499.99 can export to all supported platforms)
      • Coding language: Drag & Drop and GameMaker Language (GML)
      • Development Environment: GameMaker Studio
      • Description: Caters to entry level novices and seasoned game development professionals equally allowing them to create casual and social games for mobile, desktop and the web. Developers can create fully functional prototypes in just a few hours, and a full game in just a matter of weeks. When you’re done GameMaker will produce an app store ready app for different stores from the same source code.

      Unity

      • Platform support: Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (coming soon), iOS, Android
      • Price: Unity Pro is $1500 + add-on for different marketplaces
      • Coding language – C#, JavaScript, Boo
      • Development Environment: Unity Pro
      • Description: Unity allows you to create and market high quality games with less time, cost and effort. They have an entire mobile game development ecosystem: powerful rendering engine, continuously updated development toolset that includes real-time shadows and dynamic fonts; in-depth documentation; thousands of ready-made assets.

      Construct2 by Scirra

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 (added Nov 30, 2012), iOS, Android, Facebook, Web, Desktop
      • Price: Free edition to make games supports windows 8 app but has limited events, layers and effects, If you plan to make money you need personal version is 70 British pounds, if you plan to make serious money (over $5000 USD) the business edition is 259 British pounds
      • Coding language – drag, drop, click
      • Development Environment: Construct 2
      • Description: A code free 2D game engine that allows you to add physics effects to your games, special effects, and is extendible with a JavaScript SDK

      monogame

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Android, iOS, Mac
      • Price: open source
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio or MonoDevelop
      • Description: If you are comfortable developing with XNA, this is an interesting option. MonoGame is an open source implementation of the Microsoft XNA Framework. Their goal is to allow XNA developers on Xbox 360, Windows and Windows Phone to port their games to iOS, Android, Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows 8.

       Cocos2d 

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 7 (with XNA) iOS, Android, BlackBerry
      • Price: Open Source
      • Coding language: C++, C# (for Windows Phone 7)
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio, Eclipse, xcode
      • Description: An open source mobile 2D Game framework. Mobile games can be written in C++, Lua, or JavaScript. The goal of this open-source project is to allow users to create cross-platform code.

      SharpDX

      • Platform support: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, .NET Framework, Windows
      • Price: Open Source
      • Coding language: .NET
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio
      • Description: SharpDX is a free and active open source project that delivers a full featured Managed DirectX API under the .NET Platform. It is used to make games, advanced rendering or multimedia applications. Develop multimedia applications for desktop, WinRT and Windows Phone with the same API

       

      Ogre3D

      • Platform support: Windows 8 (community created), Windows Phone 8, more…
      • Price: Open Source
      • Coding language: C++
      • Development Environment: A C++ Compiler (e.g. Visual Studio)
      • Description: An open sources graphics rendering engine. An open source easy to use OO interface designed to minimize the effort required to render 3D scenes and to be independent of 3D implementation (i.e. Direct3D/OpenGL). It is not a gaming engine, just a graphics engine. You need to know how to program, Ogre is not a game shell or scripting language. It requires more knowledge to use properly, but it is also more powerful tha a scripting kit will be. There are wrappers that offer the possibility to use other programming languages that C++ but they are not officially supported by the Ogre Core Team. (MOGRE is the .NET version)

      Axiom 3D

      • Platform support: XNA & DirectX (so Windows Phone & Windows 8)
      • Price: Open Source
      • Coding language: .NET
      • Development Environment: Visual Studio
      • Description: The Axiom 3D rendering engine is a Object oriented 3D graphics engine using C# and the .NET platform. It is an easy to use, flexible, extendable, and powerful engine that allows for rapid development of games and other graphical applications. The core of Axiom is a port of the OGRE Graphics engine.

      Game Salad

      • Platform support: Windows 8, iOS, Android, Mac
      • Price: To publish to the Windows 8 store or Android store you need the Pro edition which is $299/year, they advertise student pricing available
      • Coding language: drag & drop
      • Development Environment: GameSalad Creator
      • Description: GameSalad Creator provides a visual drag and drop interface and complex behavior library to provide almost limitless freedom to game designers. Create games fast with no coding. Their web publishing system allows for cross platform game publishing.

      I’m sure there are some I missed, feel free to add comments to point out any good tools and tips for cross platform development that you have discovered. Don’t forget in Canada when you publish your app you could earn rewards through Developer Movement!

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      Some useful keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8

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      Many of us don’t have touchscreen devices (yet) so here’s a few good keyboard shortcuts.

      Even though I do have a touchscreen laptop, I still use keyboard shortcuts. Just like CTRL+C and CTRL+V come to you without thinking, a few of these shortcuts are sure to make their way into your collection after you install Windows 8 and start coding apps. If you haven’t downloaded Windows 8 RTM yet. Check out our blog post with instructions on how students can download Windows 8 for free!

      Moving between Metro and Desktop

      <Windows> Brings up the Metro start screen. You can start typing to search for an app, just like the Win7 start menu.
      <Windows> + <B> Go to the Desktop from the Metro Start Screen
      <Windows> + <D> Brings you to Windows desktop from the Metro Screen

      Snapping

      <Windows> + < . > snap right
      <Windows> + <Shift> + < . > snap left
             

      Switching between applications

      <Windows> + <Tab> Opens the Metro application switcher menu, switches between applications.
      <Windows> + <J> Switches focus between snapped Metro applications.
      <ALT> + <F4> Close an application
      <Windows> + <R> To bring up the run window from the desktop, so you can type in an application name to run

      Semantic Zoom

      <CTRL> + <+> Zoom in
      <CTRL> + <-> Zoom out

      or hold down <CTRL> and use Mouse Wheel to zoom in and out

      Displaying App & Charms Bar

      <Windows> + <C> Brings up the Charms menu, where you can search, share, and change settings.
      <Windows> + <Z> Opens the App Bar for the current Metro application.

      All the other shortcuts I could find!

      <Windows> + E – Launch Windows Explorer with Computer view displayed.

      <Windows> + F – Brings up the Metro File search screen.

      <Windows> + H – Opens the Metro Share panel.

      <Windows> + I – Opens the Settings panel, where you can change settings for the current app, change volume, wireless networks, shut down, or adjust the brightness.

      <Windows> + K – Opens the Devices panel (for connecting to a projector or some other device)

      <Windows> + L – Lock PC and return to Lock screen.

      <Windows> + M – Minimize all Windows on the desktop

      <Windows> + O – Locks device orientation.

      <Windows> + P – Choose between available displays.

      <Windows> + Q – Brings up the Metro App Search screen.

      <Windows> + R – Switch to the (classic) Windows desktop and display the Run box.

      <Windows> + U – Switch to the (classic) Windows desktop and launch the Ease of Access Center.

      <Windows> + V – Cycles through toasts.

      <Windows> + W – Brings up the Metro Settings search screen.

      <Windows> + X – Launch Start Menu.

      <Windows> + Y – Temporarily peek at the desktop.

      <Windows> + Page Up / Down – Moves tiles to the left / right.

      <Windows> + , (comma) – Aero Peek at the desktop.

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      How to publish your Windows 8 App to the Store

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      storeReady to submit your first Windows 8 app to the Windows Store? Read this walkthrough to guide you through the process

      Publishing your app requires a series of steps, we’ll try to walk you through them here!

      Log in to the windows store

      Submit your app

      Log in to the Windows Store

       

      Before you can publish your app, you need a Windows Store account. Go to the Windows Store to register. Remember if you are a student you can get your Store account for free, you can find instructions on how to do that here.

      After you log in to the store with your live ID (the one you used for your store account),  go to “Dashboard

      If this is your first time logging in since you created your account, you may see a message that says “Before we can list any of your apps in the Store, you’ll need to verify your payment method. Verify your payment method.” When you created your account you entered credit card information. A small amount was charged and then reimbursed on your credit card to validate the card. You need to find your billing statement (or call your credit card company) to find out the transaction amount that was charged.

      Select the Verify your payment method link and you will be taken to the Payment account verification screen. When you get there scroll to the bottom of the screen. using the information from your credit card billing statement, enter the amount that was charged or the 3 digit code from the transaction description and select Next.

      image

      Once you see the message saying “We successfully verified your payment account” You are ready to begin submitting your app!

      Submit your app

      From the top menu, select “Dashboard” then select “Submit an app” from the menu on the right.

      Use the dashboard to see all the applications you submitted and their status in the store certification process. It can take as little as 2 days or as much as 2 weeks for an app to be published after you submit it.

      10-31-2012 5-59-14 PM 

          There are 8 sections to complete, let’s break them down one by one!

      App name

      Your app name is important! It is the first thing a customer sees when they find your app in the store. Be creative! Make sure you don't use names that are trademarked by others or those who own the trademark could ask to have your app removed from the store.

      Enter the app name you wish to use and select Reserve App Name. If you get a message back informing you your app name is already in use, you will have to enter a different app name.

      NOTE: The app name you enter here must match the Display Name in your app manifest.

      image

       

      TIP: You can just do this first step to reserve your app name before you have the code ready to publish. Your name will be reserved for 12 months.

      10-31-2012 6-16-56 PM

      Selling details

      Price - This is where you set the price of your app, and your free trial options. If you choose to charge for your app, pricing can start at 1.49 USD. The price you select may include a sales tax that the customer must pay. Your proceeds will be based on the pretax amount.

      TIP: Apps with free trials of some sort usually get more downloads, you can either limit the duration of the trial, or in your code you can limit the features available on the trial version. Use the license Information class to determine if a trial has expired, or if a user is running a trial version. You can find more information about handling trials in your code here.

      Markets - Select the countries where you want your app to be available. Selecting a country does not guarantee your app will be published there. There is some content and features that is restricted to certain regions, you could be using a feature that is not available in a particular region yet. You might want to consider the primary languages spoken in a particular country when deciding which countries you select.

      TIP: When publishing a game, the countries Korea, South Africa, Brazil, and Taiwan require a game to be rated by a rating board and certified to prove the age rating of the game. If you do not have certificate files to prove you have completed that process, make sure you do not select those markets or your app will fail certification.

       

       

      10-31-2012 6-19-26 PM

       

      Release Date - If you want your app to be published as soon as it is certified select the first option.

       

      date

      Category - Now, select the category that best matches your app, this will affect where your app will be listed in the store, so consider your choice carefully. If a Windows user was searching for an app like yours in the store, which category would they choose to search? It's important to make it as easy as possible for users to find your app in the store. Picking the wrong category can also result in failing certification, because the testing team may not feel the category is appropriate for your app.

      Hardware requirements – If your app has minimum RAM or DirectX requirements, you can specify that here.

      Accessibility – Only select this check box if you have gone through all the accessibility guidelines and tested your app to ensure it is accessible. Accessibility includes testing for users with low vision or screen readers.

      Advanced features

      You only need to complete this section if your application supports push notifications (often used to update tiles), connect services such as SkyDrive and Single Sign-On, or in-app purchases. In app purchases is a popular way of making money with apps, the app is free, but a user can make in app purchases improve their app experience. For example, there are games where players can purchase weapons or armour.

      If you have not implemented any of the above features you can just leave all the fields in this section blank.

      Age rating and rating certificates

      This section is to describe the audience for your app and upload your rating certificates. If you can't decide between two age ratings, for example your app has content you feel is suitable for 12 and older, but requires an account that can only be created by users 16 or older, choose the higher age rating. Some countries requires will also require that your app be rated through a ratings board, especially for games. So check the list to see if a market you selected requires a rating certificate. If you try to publish to a market that requires a rating certificate and you do not provide the certificate file, your app will fail certification.

      Cryptography

      You must declare whether your app calls, supports, contains or uses cryptography or encryption.

      There are US regulations regarding the exporting of technology that use certain types of encryption. Apps in the Windows store must comply with these laws because the app files can be stored in the US. These rules apply even if you are a developer in Canada selling apps in Canada through the store. So if your app is doing some type of cryptography or encryption you should read up on the regulations to see if your app requires an Export Commodity Classification Number (ECCN).

      Packages

      Now it's time to upload your app to the Windows Store. But there are a couple of things you need to do first:Build your package and run the WACK test.

      Building the App package

      • In Visual Studio, change the Build type from Debug to Release and Build the solution by choosing Build | Build Solution from the menu.

      image

      • From the menu choose Project | Store | Create App Packages…
      • When asked “Do you want to build packages to upload to the Windows Store”, select Yes. and then select Sign In.
      • Sign in with the same email account you used for the Windows Store.
      • Select the app name you reserved to indicate the app for which you are creating a package. If you are resubmitting after a failed attempt to publish or to update your app in the store, you will want to select the checkbox “Include app names that already have packages” so you can see your app in the list.
      • After you select the app name, select Next.
      • Now you must choose which platforms will be able to install your application. If you pick Neutral, you will get a single package with builds that will run on any Windows 8 hardware. If you select individual builds you will get a different package for each build type. NOTE: If you are building an app which requires a lot of memory and processing power and you have not tested it on ARM, you might want to consider selecting x86 and x64 specifically and not including ARM in your release.
      • For the version number, I recommend using the Automatically increment. Otherwise you must make sure the version number in your app manifest file matches the version number on this page.
      • Make a note of the output location, because you will need to upload the file from that location to the store after the package(s) is/are created.
      • Select Create when you are ready for Visual studio to generate the app package.

      Running the Windows App Certification Kit (WACK) test

      After your package is created, you are prompted to launch the Windows App Certification Kit. This will run your app through a series of tests to chefck for issues that could cause it to fail certification. While it is running you will see the app occasionally launch and close. Do not interact with the app while the WACK test is running.

      To start the WACK test select Launch Windows App Certification Kit. This process can take 10 minutes or so. You will know when it is complete because you will see the test summary page informing you if your app passed or failed. The results window does not automatically appear in the foreground, so you may want to occasionally check your task bar and desktop to see if the test is completed..

      image

      If your app failed, select “Click here to view full report” then investigate and resolve the issues that caused it to fail, then create a new package and try again. If your app passed, you are ready to upload the package to the store.

      NOTE: Wondering what sort of issues the WACK test might catch? When I used JavaScript files from the CreateJS library in my solution, my app failed the WACK test because they were encoded as ANSI instead of UTF-8. I had to open each .js file in NotePad and do a Save As, changing the Encode to UTF-8. When I rebuilt the project and package and ran the WACK test again, it passed.

      image

      Uploading the package

      Once your package is created you will find a new folder called “AppPackages” inside your application folder. Inside the “AppPackages” folder is a file that ends with “.appxupload” extension. This is the file you will select when you upload your app.

      If you made changes to your app and rebuilt the package, make sure you pick the most recent app package, the version number in the package file name or the date created can help you identify the most recent package(s).

      Go to the Packages section in the application submission and then drag your package(s) to the app submission page. (remember if you chose to make separate builds for x86,x64 or ARM you will have multiple packages and you will need to upload all of them to the store.)

      You will know when your package is uploaded because you will see it listed as an uploaded package.

      Uploaded packages

      Description

      App Description - This is where you describe what your app does and this is what users will see when they look at your app in the Windows store. If you want your app to be downloaded by a lot of people, make sure to take time to write a good description. Take a look at the descriptions of similar apps in the store, how will your description stand out? Make sure the first couple of sentences grab their attention. Make sure you have a short list of your app's best features. If you offer a free trial, this is a good place to explain how the trial works. There are some good tips on writing your app description here.

      TIP: If your app will require anyone to log in to complete certain tasks, you must mention that in your description or you will fail certification.

      Screenshots - After you add the description of your app, you will need to upload images of your app including a logo that the will be used to feature the app.

      If you don’t have these images already, you can create them using the simulator in Visual Studio. Change the launch option to Simulator using the drop down key in the menu.

      Simulator drop down

      When the app launches, on the right side of the simulator is a button with a camera icon which will let you to take a snapshot of the screen and put it in your clipboard. Then you can open an app such as Paint paste it and save it as a .PNG file. If your image is larger than 2 MB you may have to use a tool like Paint .NET (which you can download for free) to save it at a lower resolution. You can’t just resize the image because it must be at least 1366 x768 pixels (landscape) or 768X1366 pixels (portrait).

       

      10-31-2012 7-04-54 PM

      Keywords – If someone was searching the store, what keywords would they use to find your app? Specify these as keywords to help users discover your app.

      Copyright and trademark info – this is a mandatory field where you specify the copyright information for your application. Basically this is where you get to say, whose app is this.

      Promotional Images – If you have a great app, make sure you include some extra images so your app has the potential to be featured in the store! Being featured always results in more downloads, so if you’ve done something amazing, make sure to include all the promotional images so your app could be highlighted!

      Website – If you have a website for your app or other apps you have built, you can include a link to it here

      Support Contact Info – you must provide a way for users to contact you if they have problems with the app. An email address, or a link to a website with a Contact Us option will suffice.

      Privacy Policy - One of the main reason that apps fail certification is developers forget to include a privacy statement in the description section. You may think you do not need a privacy statement because you are not collecting email addresses or personal information. However, if your app connects to the internet, or if the app manifest says it connects to the internet (which it does if you used any of the default templates and you haven't changed it) then your app requires a privacy policy. Any app that connects to the internet fetches the user’s IP address. If your privacy statement is less than 200 words, you can put the text directly in the About page of your app and on this submission page (the privacy statement must appear in both places). If it’s more then 200 words, you need to include a URL to a website that displays your privacy statement. Below are some resources to help you figure out if you need a privacy statement, and how to add a privacy statement

      Notes to testers

      This is a place for you to add any notes you wish to share with the people who are testing your app for certification. For example, if your app requires a login to an online service, you must provide the login information for an account the testers can use. If your app is only intended for a limited audience, it is good to mention that in notes to testers as well, because your app can be rejected because it does not appeal to a wide audience. So, if you are making an app for a specific audience, make that clear in the description and notes to testers. The information you enter in this section is not seen by users of the app, it is only seen by the team who tests your app to see if it is suitable for the Windows Store.

      Submit for certification

      After you have completed all the sections you should see a checkmark beside every section. If there is a section without a checkmark, go back to see if you either missed a mandatory field, or you have a field entered incorrectly.

      image

      If every section is marked as complete you can now select Submit for Certification.

      Congratulations! You have just submitted your app to the store!

       

      Once you submit your app, it will take up to 2 weeks to get certified, you can track the progress of your app in the main dashboard. You don’t have to keep coming back here to check the status. If you fail certification, you will receive an email and a detailed error report explaining why it failed so you can correct any errors and resubmit. If you pass certification, you will receive an email with a link to your app in the store!

      10-31-2012 7-15-52 PM 

      The Windows team has created this great checklist to help you prepare and organize all the required info to make it easier to enter the info when you submit an app.

      If you are a Canadian don't forget to register for the Developer Movement to see if you can get rewards for your app!

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