Home > Articles > Mobile Application Development & Programming

Building Windows 8 Apps with JavaScript: Working with In App Purchases

  • Print
  • + Share This
In-app purchases allow you, the developer, to sell app add-ons and features, or even physical products and services directly to users from within your app. In this excerpt, learn how to create in-app purchase functionality and define in-app offers in the store submission process.
From the book

In the last few sections, we’ve talked about monetizing through ads, and moving your potential users to a sale by leveraging trial modes in your app. In this section, we’ll discuss the final piece of the app monetization puzzle, in-app purchases.

In-app purchases are a relatively new concept in the world of mobile and tablet apps, but they’ve proven wildly popular on other platforms, and Microsoft was wise to include them for Win8 style apps as well. Simply put, in-app purchases allow you, the developer, to sell app add-ons and features, or even physical products and services directly to users from within your app. For example, let's say I have a simple first-person shooter game. I can sell my game in a traditional fashion, or I can choose to offer the game for free, but sell character power-ups and weapons via in-app purchases. I could even choose to sell my game for a buck or two and offer in-app purchases. Similar to enabling trials in your app, in-app purchases allow users to try out what you have to offer, and “upgrade” their experience as they get hooked.

Creating in-app Purchase Functionality

In Win8, in-app purchases give you the benefit of being able to monetize products without directing the user to the store or external site, and users get the ease of being able to purchase products or add-ons quickly from within your app, and with the payment information already on file in their Windows account.

Let’s take a look at adding in-app purchase functionality to my Tom8to application. One feature that Tom8to offers is the ability to customize the alarm sound that plays at the end of a timer. Figure 13.24 shows the default list of alarms.

Figure 13.24 Alarm Sound settings for the Tom8to App

My initial list of alarms is good for getting started, but for users who like a little more variety, I can offer an in-app purchase that unlocks more sounds. The first step I need to take in defining an in-app purchase for local testing is to add information about the feature in the WindowsStoreProxy file, which we discussed at length in the trial-mode section:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-16" ?>
<CurrentApp>
    <ListingInformation>
        <App>
            ...
        </App>
        <Product ProductId="AlarmPack1" LicenseDuration="0">
            <MarketData xml:lang="en-us">
                <Name>Timer Alarm Add-on Pack</Name>
                <Price>1.00</Price>
                <CurrencySymbol>$</CurrencySymbol>
            </MarketData>
        </Product>
    </ListingInformation>
    <LicenseInformation>
        <App>
            ...
        </App>
        <Product ProductId="AlarmPack1">
            <IsActive>false</IsActive>
        </Product>
    </LicenseInformation>
</CurrentApp>

The two preceding sections in bold define your product, or in-app offering, and you’ll need to complete the information in both sections to test this functionality. First, you’ll define the product listing information, which includes the id, “AlarmPack1”, name and price information. The Id is used for store-tracking and management in your app, and is never shown to the user—they’ll see the name value—so be sure to use a terse, descriptive and unique id here. The LicenseDuration attribute can be used if you want to time-limit your in-app purchase. For example, for power-ups in a game that only last for a few days before being de-activated. Setting the value to zero indicates that the product is not time-limited.

Once I’ve added the test data, I can query the CurrentAppSimulator for information about the product.

var buyAlarmPack = document.querySelector('#buyAlarmPack');
var currentApp = Windows.ApplicationModel.Store.CurrentAppSimulator;
var licenseInfo = currentApp.licenseInformation;

if (!licenseInfo.productLicenses.lookup("AlarmPack1").isActive) {
  // Code to wire-up the purchased product goes here
} else {
  buyAlarmPack.disabled = true;
} 

Using the same LicenseInformation object we worked with in the last section on trial-modes, I can call a lookup function on the productLicenses object to determine if the user owns an active license for my “AlarmPack1” offering. If they do, I’ll disable the “Alarm Pack” purchase button depicted in Figure 13.25. Otherwise, I’ll wire up the “Alarm Pack” button with product purchase functionality.

buyAlarmPack.addEventListener('click', function () {
  currentApp.requestProductPurchaseAsync("AlarmPack1", true).done(
    function (receipt) {
      buyAlarmPack.disabled = true;
    }, errorHandler);
});

function errorhandler() { ... }

When the user clicks on the button, I’ll call the requestProductPurchaseAsync method to contact the store and initiate the purchase UI for my app. At the time of writing, it’s not possible to locally simulate the in-app purchase experience from the user’s point-of-view[1]. Instead, the requestProductPurchaseAsync call will open a dialog window, as depicted in Figure 13.25.

Figure 13.25 The in-app purchase simulator dialog

With this dialog, I can simulate any of the possible outcomes of an in app purchase: success, user cancelation, general failure, etc. Once, I choose a code to return, my done handler will be called. Because my alarms are defined in a settings flyout that’s dismissed when the purchase is initiated, there’s not much I need to do immediately after purchase, other than to disable the purchase button. The real change occurs when the user re-opens the Settings Flyout after a purchase.

var alarms = [ 
  { name: "Arena Buzzer", value: "ArenaBuzzer" },
  { name: "Basic Alarm", value: "alarmRing", selected: "selected" },
  { name: "Boing", value: "boing" },
  { name: "Jazz Tune", value: "jazzTune" },
  { name: "Siren", value: "siren" }
]; //Existing alarms

var alarmPack = [
  { name: "Shouty Dubstep", value: "dubstep" },
  { name: "Wailing Baby", value: "wailingBaby" },
  { name: "Sinofsy", value: "steveSi" },
  { name: "R. Lee Ermey Yelling", value: "drillSergeant" }
];

function renderAlarmData() {
  var alarmSound = document.querySelector('#alarmSound');
    
  if (licenseInfo.productLicenses.lookup("AlarmPack1").isActive) {
    alarms = alarms.concat(alarmPack);
  }

  addOptions(alarmSound, alarms);
}
function addOptions(selectList, data) {
  var optionControl;
  var optionTemplate = document.querySelector('#optionsTemplate');

  if (optionsTemplate) {
    optionControl = optionTemplate.winControl;

    data.forEach(function (item) {
      optionControl.render(item, selectList);
    });
  }
}

renderAlarmData();

First, I’ll define the sounds that make up my alarm pack, using the same format as the original alarms array. Then, in my renderAlarmData function, I’ll look up the information about my “AlarmPack1” offer to determine if the user now owns a license. If they do, I’ll add the alarms from the alarm pack to the original array and pass the new array off to the addOptions function, which applies each item in the array to a template that produces an <option> tag and adds the tag to a select element. The user will now see an extended list of alarm sounds, as in Figure 13.26.

Figure 13.26 Adding additional alarms via an in-app purchase


[1] To get an idea of what the in-app purchase experience will look like to your users, check out “The in-app purchase experience for a customer” in the Windows Dev Center (http://tinysells.com/225 - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh924350.aspx)

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020