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Windows Store Apps Submitting Process Detailed; Windows 8 Built-in PDF Reader App; Firefox with Metro UI in Development

In a February 13 blog post, Jonathan Garrigues, Program Manager on the Developer Experience team, describes the Windows Store app submission experience posted “For the Windows Store to be successful, we understood that we needed to create tools that would enable developers to be successful–at creating great apps, listing these apps in the Store, keeping track of how the apps are doing, and updating the apps over time. We approached the submission process by looking at developers as our partners, sharing a common goal of connecting people to as many great apps as possible.”

Windows Store App Submission

Adding, Garrigues says, “We established that setting time and complexity expectations up front is important and that we needed to provide a straightforward path toward submission while still offering flexibility in how developers explore and consider their options. We also learned that the process of thinking through the options for publishing an app–basics like markets, price, trials, and in-app offers–frequently inspire developers to add new features and change some code.”

He notes, that Microsoft’s key goals designing the App store includes:

  • Encourage developers to visit the Store developer portal before they start coding — so, that developers can reserve a name for their app before they actually submit.
  • Help developers comply with the Store technical requirements
  • Reduce concepts and repetition by pulling information directly from the app package

The Store provides full support for trials, including both a built-in time based trial and an easy method of including feature-differentiation for trial users. Using in-app purchase, users can unlock new app capabilities without losing context. Coding these trial and purchase-based features is easy–but it needs to be planned and tested.

Using Visual Studio, you can authenticate to the Store, view a list of your apps, select the app that you’ve already defined on the Store portal, and create a package that aligns with all of the app-specific and developer-specific details that the Store requires. The process to fill out all of the required forms can take a while so Microsoft has added a way to save the progress and “go catch your bus” as Microsoft says. App developers can go back later and complete the process.

Microsoft also provide developers the Windows App Certification Kit, which allows them to conduct technical tests that the Store runs during app certification. By running this locally before uploading an app package, you can find technical issues early on, and increase confidence that your app will pass technical certification, but still don’t answer the immediate question of “what’s the status of my app?”

“You can watch your app progress through the certification process, using the same visual language that we use elsewhere on the portal to tell you at a glance how close you are to making your app available to millions of Windows 8 users. The final step is Microsoft signing off on the app with a “trusted certificate” which basically means that the app has been given its full approval by Microsoft and that consumers can download and purchase the app with no fear that anyone has tampered with it,” said Garrigues.

Windows Store App submitted notification

Here’s a quick look at what is happening behind the scenes during each of these stages.

  • Pre-processing. This is where we’ll check to make sure we have all of the appropriate details that we’ll need to publish your app. This includes checking the status of your developer account and, if your app has a purchase price or any in-app offers, we also ensure that we have all of the paperwork on file so that we can pay you. We know that sometimes this paperwork can take a few days to complete, which is why we allow you to work on your app submission right away, even if some of these forms aren’t complete yet.
  • Security tests. We’ll check everything you submitted for viruses and malware.
  • Technical compliance. We’ll use the Windows App Certification Kit to check that your app complies with the technical policies. This is exactly the same technical certification assessments that are included in the SDK and that you can run locally before you upload your package.
  • Content compliance. Our team of testers takes a look at your app to check that the contents comply with our content policies. Since there are real people looking at your app, this process can take longer than the other steps.
  • Release. This stage goes by very quickly unless you’ve specified a publish date in the future. If you request from the Selling details page to wait until a particular date before your app reaches customers, then after you pass the other tests, you’ll remain in this stage until that date arrives.
  • Signing and publishing. In this final step, we’ll sign the packages you submitted with a trusted certificate that matches the technical details of your developer account. This provides customers with the assurance that the app is certified by the Windows Store and hasn’t been tampered with. We’ll then publish your app packages to the Store, along with all of the other data that will be visible in your app listing page, so that millions of Windows 8 users will be able to find, acquire, and enjoy your app.

For more information, watch the video below demonstrating the above process:

Also, noted that Windows 8 will come with a built-in PDF documents reader, according to a PCBeta post, which also has a new Wndows 8 Start screen image that shows the Reader app (which can be seen in the Entertainment section of the Start screen) is capable of using PDF files.

Windows 8 PDF Reader App

And, fnally, Mozilla revealed today that it plans to release a Firefox that will work with Windows 8’s Metro interface, with the first public release coming as soon as February:

“The feature goal here is a new Gecko based browser built for and integrated with the Metro environment. Firefox on Metro, like all other Metro apps will be full screen, focused on touch interactions, and connected to the rest of the Metro environment through Windows 8 contracts,” Mozilla stated.

A MozillaWiki page goes into further detail for Firefox to run on Windows 8’s Metro UI, and reveals that the company will also release a version of Firefox that will run on Windows 8’s “Classic” UI, stating:

“Classic is very similar to the Windows 7 environment at this time, it requires a simple evolution of the current Firefox Windows product. Metro is an entirely new environment and requires a new Firefox front end and system integration points.”

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