Welcome to the ‘Windows 8 Store Application Development Simplified’ series. In meeting with startups, I’ve come across several common questions around application development for the Windows Store. This is a five part series where I will cover five key topics that relate to application development for the Windows 8 Store.

This blog post was written by Sonal Mane, Startup Technologist for Microsoft in Chicago.

First things first. You need to get a Windows 8 developer account. And no, you don’t need to pay the ~$99 subscription fee for businesses. As long as you are part of a startup that is less than five years, less than a million dollars in revenue and privately held; you can join BizSpark and get a free developer subscription for your first year!

After you submit your app, you are kept up to date about exactly what happens to your app as it goes through the certification process. Here’s what that your app’s tile will look like as soon as you submit your app on the developer portal.

 

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Clicking on ‘Status’ will take you to details of each step and you can see your app going through the certification process.

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Let’s walk through what each of these steps mean,

1. Preprocessing – This is the step where your package is queued for automated testing.

2. Security Tests – This is the step where you app package is tested for malicious viruses and malware. You can run the latest antivirus software on your system and rebuild the package to avoid failing at this step.

3. Technical compliance tests – This steps runs a bunch automated tests on your app. You can run them too with the certification toolkit! Make sure you test your app with the Windows App Certification Kit.

4. Content compliance – This is the step where your app is installed and reviewed by the certification test team. You can adds information to the Notes to testers page so the team is updated on everything they need to validate your app. Visual content, complexity of the app and number of apps affect the processing time at this step.

Certification report – At this step, you will get a certification report stating whether or not your app passed. For failed apps, the report will indicate failed tests or certification requirements that were not met. You can refer to this article on Resolving certification errors to help fix problems and re-submit the app. If the failure was due to your app crashing or becoming unresponsive during testing, you’ll receive crash report data to help you identify and resolve the problem.

5. Release – When the app passes the certification process, it will move into the signing and publishing process. To expedite submission to the store, it is best to release the app as soon as it is certified unless you want to specify that it should not be released until a certain date

6. Signing and publishing – App packages are digitally signed to protect them against tampering after release. At this step, you can no longer cancel submission.

After your app has completed all the six steps in the certification process, it will show up in the Windows Store. At this time, you will also be able to link to the app’s web page for users to be able to easily discover it online and then launch your app in the Windows Store.

Here are four tips to get your app certified quickly,

1. Publish a privacy policy when required (e.g. if your app is network-capable)

2. Submit apps that offer a unique and creative value-prop

3. Submit complete apps and avoid misleading descriptions

4. Properly localize the app for all languages including localized screenshots

 

Happy coding!