Publishing to the Windows Store
One of the main motivations for building a Windows Store app is to sell your app in the Windows Store for either fame or profit. In this section, I discuss the steps you need to follow to publish your Windows Store app to the Windows Store.
Register as a Windows Developer
Before you can publish an app to the Windows Store, you must first register as a Windows Store developer. You can sign up at the Windows Store Dashboard on the Windows Dev Center by selecting the menu option Project, Store, Open Developer Account within Visual Studio (see Figure 1.30).
FIGURE 1.30 Register as a Windows Store developer
The sign-up procedure is painless. Currently, it costs either $49 (for an individual account) or $99 (for a company account) a year to become a registered Windows Store developer, or it is free with a MSDN subscription.
Submitting Your App
After you register, you can access the Windows Store dashboard and submit a new app. The process of submitting an app is broken down into 8 steps (see Figure 1.31).
FIGURE 1.31 Submitting an app to the Windows Store
One of the most important steps is selecting the name for your app. You can reserve an app name in the Windows Store even before you have finished creating the app. Picking an app name is similar to picking a domain name—so I recommend that you acquire the name that you want as soon as possible.
You also need to decide on how much you want to charge for your app. Currently, you can charge anywhere from $1.49 to $999.99. Or, you have the option of providing your app for free. You also have the option of providing your app with a limited free trial or making your app free with advertising.
When you reach the sixth step, the Packages step, you can upload your finished Windows Store app to the Windows Store. Within Visual Studio, use the menu option Project, Store, Create App Package to package up your Windows Store app (see Figure 1.32). Next, you can click the Packages step to upload the package.
FIGURE 1.32 Creating your app package
Passing App Certification
Microsoft must review your app before it gets published to the Windows Store. In other words, your app must go through a certification process. Part of this certification process is automated and part of the certification process must be done by a human.
There are many requirements for certification. Some of these requirements are obvious. For example, your app can’t contain programming errors that cause it to immediately crash and your app cannot simply be a big ad for your business.
You can use the Windows App Certification Kit to run the automated certification tests on your app before you upload your package to the Windows Store. The easiest way to run the Windows Certification Kit is to package your app within Visual Studio by selecting the menu option Package, Store, Create App Package. The last step in the Create App Package Wizard enables you to launch the Windows App Certification Kit (Figure 1.33).
FIGURE 1.33 Launching the Windows App Certification Kit
When you run the Windows App Certification Kit, the App Certification Kit launches and runs your app and then, after your computer does crazy stuff for a while, a report is generated that details whether your app passes or fails (see Figure 1.34).
FIGURE 1.34 A (successful) certification report generated by the Windows App Certification Kit
After your app passes all the certification requirements—after it has been approved by Microsoft—your app appears in the Windows Store and you can start collecting money. When anyone buys your app, money is added to a payout account, which you set up on the Windows Store dashboard.