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Submitting to the Windows Store

Once your app is finished, you can submit it to the Windows Store via items on the Store menu in Visual Studio Express, or via the Project, Store menu in other editions of Visual Studio. The Visual Studio integration works in concert with pages on the Windows Dev Center website to help you complete your submission. Before doing this, however, you have some tasks to complete:

  • Set up your developer account at http://dev.windows.com, get it verified, and fill out your payout and tax information. This can take a couple of days for an individual account, or a couple of weeks for a business account.
  • Reserve your app name with the Windows Store, as it requires each app’s name to be unique. You can reserve names at any time, and you have up to a year to submit the app before losing each reservation. You can also reserve additional names for other languages.
  • Download, install, and run the Windows App Certification Kit (WACK) from the Windows Dev Center. This tests your app for violations that cause it to fail the Windows Store certification process, so running it in advance can save you a lot of time.

The Windows Store certification process consists of three parts:

  • Technical checks. This is simply running the Windows App Certification Kit on your app. If you pass its tests before submitting your app, you should have nothing to worry about here.
  • Security checks. This ensures that your software isn’t infected with a virus, which again should not be a concern for most developers.
  • Content checks. This is the trickiest part of the process and, unlike the other two, is performed manually by human reviewers. Reviewers ensure that the app does what it claims to do and follows all the app certification requirements published in the Windows Dev Center.

The very first certification requirement is that the app “must offer customers unique, creative value or utility,” so HelloRealWorld is bound to fail this requirement. This requirement may be obvious, but there are some requirements that often surprise people and cause many apps to fail certification:

  • If your app requires a network capability, you must write a privacy statement that explains what data you collect, how you store or share it, how users can access the collected data, and so on. Requirement 4.1 in the Windows Dev Center helps you figure out how to write one. Furthermore, a link to the statement must be reachable from the Settings pane for your app, and the same link must be included in your listing in the Windows Store. See Chapter 21, “Supporting Charms,” for information about adding content to the Settings pane.
  • You must select an appropriate age rating, using guidelines from the Windows Dev Center. For example, most apps that share personal information must be rated at least 12+. Regardless of your app’s rating, its listing for the Windows Store cannot contain content that is considered too mature for a 12+ rating.
  • You must provide descriptions and screenshots for every language you support. If your app is only partially localized for some languages, you must mention this in your listing.

If you fail certification, you must address the issue(s) and resubmit your app. When you do so, it goes through the entire process again, at the end of the line. Fortunately, at the time of this writing, the average length of certification is only about 2.5 days.

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