App stores are now the norm, so it makes sense that Windows 8 is fully integrated with the online Windows Store – good news for ambitious developers. After choosing a name, packaging, and submitting to the store, your shiny Win8 app can be immediately available to millions of paying customers. That can be as low as $1.49 or as high as $999. (Not 99 cents like a certain competitor.) As with any app store, developers set the price of our apps. And like others, Microsoft keeps a 30% commission for the first $25,000 of sales, 20% thereafter. Here’s a short description of the process.
Apps at User Fingertips
Today, most desktop computers and tablets are always connected to the internet. Windows 8 takes advantage of this by recommending logging into your Windows 8 computer through your Microsoft user account. That way, all your settings can be saved in the cloud. If you log into another Windows 8 computer, your settings all open up. You’ll feel right at home.
But this cloud connection also brings developers big benefits. Instead of waiting for customers to search different download sites, we can place our Win 8 software offer right at their fingertips.
You can get to the Windows Store submission process right from within Visual Studio 2012 (see a full explanation here).
Choosing a Name
A key first step is creating a unique app name, so 20 people don’t end up offering “Notepad.” Think along the lines of “Better-Best Notepad,” “Even Awesomer Notepad,” “Superduper Notepad,” etc. Word to the wise: reserve your app name before you even start building. This is simply so that you don’t spend months building your app, and branding it throughout, only to find out the day before you submitted it somebody else uploaded an app by the same name, say “World’s Awesomest Notepad.”
Certification is Cinchy
Just like other app stores, Microsoft certifies apps before making them available to buyers. This is for everybody’s protection. But what’s nice here is that Microsoft uses a tool to do the certification, and developers can run that same tool on their own development machine and pre-certify the app. That way, you don’t have to wait to hear back from Microsoft if your app doesn’t pass. Instead, you’ll know right then and there if you need to make changes. .
Application development on Windows has always included a large focus on metadata. Some of us are old enough to remember embedding resources in our project, which users could then view from Windows Explorer when clicking Properties on our executable. Today, we use metadata to provide information directly to the app store. That way, everything is right there in our package. When you upload your package, the App Store will read the metadata on such things as language and description.
Don’t Forget the Desktop
The process I’ve just described is primarily for Windows 8 apps. But Windows 8 also sports a traditional Windows-style desktop. Like previous versions, development for this desktop is possible using traditional Windows-style programming (such as .NET). If you continue to create desktop-style apps, you can still make use of the App Store, at least to a point. However, In this case, you’re limited to simply listing your app in the store and providing a link to where the user can purchase, download, and install the app—just as you did when developing for previous versions of Windows.
Before your desktop app can be listed in the Windows Store, you must still submit it to Microsoft for approval. And you must specify the price of the app. Further, you need to include the link to your purchase page and possibly two links if you have both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of your apps.
Bottom line: Selling is easy
Selling your apps for Windows just got a whole lot easier with the Windows Store. Now users can find your apps, whether you use the new Metro interface or the traditional desktop interface. And if you develop for Metro, users can purchase the apps right from the store itself. This will certainly make it easier for you to market your app and find paying customers.
To get more info and to get started, check out:
Have you submitted or sold Windows 8 apps? Share your experiences with the community below.