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The importance of app submission notes in the Windows Store

Pete Brown - 10 December 2012

Windows Store apps go through both automated tests and human testing. The automated testing uses a process similar to what you use on the client in the form of the WACK tool. This tool verifies the basics: does it crash? does it have the right images? does it spin up in time? etc.

No one likes to waste time by going through the submission and certification process multiple times. Many apps also require additional credentials or specific information that users of the apps would normally have access to. This is one spot where we see rejections that could be very easily avoided.

When submitting apps to the Windows Store there is a section titled "Notes to testers". This section is absolutely crucial to help ensure your app makes it through certification testing. In it, you need to provide:

  • Usage notes if the app's usage isn't obvious (also: reconsider your UI if this is the case)
  • Every userid/password required in the app. For example, I recently saw an app where the initial login information was provided, but the user needed a PIN to access an account beyond that. You need to have test accounts set up for every part of the app, and provide the information required to access them.
  • Every piece of crucial test data to make it through a scenario. (For example: if a phone number must be in a particular set of area/country codes, provide that information)
  • Ideally, don't make the tester create a new account. Give them login credentials for a dedicated dummy account, pre-populated with test data.

Remember, humans read the instructions. If you're unsure what information is needed, give the app to a friend who has never used your app (or the back-end services it uses) and ask them to go through each page. Write down everything they ask you to provide, and then include that in the notes.

For more information on submitting your apps to the store, see the App submission checklist on MSDN.

posted by Pete Brown on Monday, December 10, 2012
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2 comments for “The importance of app submission notes in the Windows Store”

  1. James Chaldecottsays:
    What are you supposed to do (as a hobbyist) if your app connects to a physical device (on the local network)?

    I have a WP7 app that controls a DVR (TiVo, actually) over the network that I want to port to Windows 8. It actually made it's way through the WP7 certification process without anything to connect to, but Windows 8 looks like it has more strict rules.

    I could expose my own TiVo to the public internet, but:
    a) I'd rather not have the Store testing guys randomly messing about with my TiVo (esp. whilst my wife is watching TV!).
    b) Even if they did, they wouldn't be able to verify that it was responding correctly without a return video feed from my TV.

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