Category Archives: Apps

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Updated Microsoft Store App Developer Agreement and Microsoft Store Policies

The Microsoft Store team has updated the Microsoft Store App Developer Agreement and Microsoft Store Policies as of February 14th.  
The new version (8.2) of the Microsoft Store App Developer Agreement is available here. This update is particularly relevant to developers based in New Zealand or Australia who sell apps and/or in-app products. For more info, view the change history. The next time you log in to the Dev Center dashboard, you may be prompted to accept the new agreement, depending on your account location. 
We’ve also updated the Microsoft Store Policies, which you can view here. The updated policies clarify the requirements for storing or transmitting personal information, and add a new requirement stating that apps using app-specific authentication can only be published from company accounts. For more info, view the change history.   
If you have feedback on the policies, please let us know by commenting in the Microsoft Store forum. 

Windows Developer Day Returns on March 7th!

Windows Developer Day is back! Join us via livestream on March 7th starting at 9:00 AM PST to find out what’s being released in the next Windows 10 Update. Tune into the keynote by Kevin Gallo, Vice President of the Windows Developer Platform, and live Q&A session to be the first to hear about the newest features and updates.
Learn what’s coming for developers in the next Windows 10 Update 
No matter what you’re working on, you’ll find new features and improvements to make your software more compelling:
Building for the modern workplace – Upgrade and redefine your code. We’ll discuss improvements on how we’re evolving our platform to make it easier than ever to update your existing Windows applications with new functionality.
Making your applications part of the intelligent edge – The ability to have software quickly make complex calculations and inferences is critical for building applications in a fast-changing market. Learn how you can enable your application to be a native part of the intelligent edge.
Windows Developer Day is the only place to find out what’s coming for developers in the next Windows 10 Update, so RSVP today!

#ifdef WINDOWS – Progressive Web Apps

Jeff Burtoft from the Web Apps team at Microsoft dropped by to share how web apps on Windows have evolved, all the way from regular web sites, to packaged web apps in Windows 8, Hosted Web Apps in Windows 10, and finally adopting Progressive Web Apps with support for Service Workers and native APIs.
We also covered the top 3 necessary components needed to build a PWA and the top 4 things developers can do to make sure their PWAs are successful on any platform. Check out the full video above and feel free to reach out on  Twitter or in the comments below for questions or comments.
Happy coding!

Target Surface Hub and Windows 10 S on a Snapdragon processor with your UWP apps

When submitting your UWP app or game to Microsoft Store through Dev Center, you have the flexibility to choose the device families on which customers can acquire your app. By default, we make your app or game available to all device families which can run it (except for Xbox, which you can opt into as appropriate if your packages support it). This lets your apps and games reach the most potential customers.
Recently, we’ve added new options that let you offer your submission to customers on Surface Hub. You can now also offer ARM packages to Windows 10 S on a Snapdragon processor (Always Connected PCs).

To target Surface Hub when submitting your UWP app to the Microsoft Store, simply ensure that the box for the Windows 10 Team device family is checked. This is generally the case if you upload packages targeting the Universal or Team device family.
If you include an ARM package in your submission that targets the Universal or Desktop device family, this package will be made available to Windows 10 S on a Snapdragon processor (Always Connected PCs) devices as long as the Windows 10 Desktop device family box is checked.
The example above shows three packages that target the Universal device family, x64, ARM and x86. The boxes for Windows 10 Desktop, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 Xbox, Windows 10 Team, and Windows 10 Holographic are selected. This means that customers on any of those device types can download this submission.
For more about device family selection, check out our documentation.

App packaging and testing
App packages are configured to run on a specific processor architecture. We highly recommended that you build your app packages to target all architectures whenever possible, so your app will run smoothly on all Windows 10 devices. To learn more, visit our app package architecture documentation.
We highly recommend that you test your app on all device families that you plan to support to ensure the best experience on all devices. To learn more about steps to take before packaging and submitting your UWP app, read our documentation.

#ifdef WINDOWS – LottieUWP – Native Adobe After Effects animations in UWP apps

Lottie is a client library that parses Adobe After Effects animations exported as json and renders them natively on the client. Alexandre maintains the UWP port of the library (LottieUWP), and stopped by to discuss why developers should use Lottie over other formats (such as gifs) and the benefits of a natively rendered and accelerated animations.
Check out the full video above where I learned how to get started with LottieUWP, and more importantly, where to discover existing animations that can make your apps more beautiful and responsive. And feel free to reach out on  Twitter or in the comments below.
Happy coding!

Now Available: Offer Add-on Subscriptions with Automated Recurring Billing in Your UWP Apps

Today we are extremely excited to announce that subscription add-ons are available to all UWP developers. You can use subscriptions to sell digital products in your app with automated recurring billing while giving your customers a seamless purchase experience. One thing to keep in mind is that the Store fee for recurring billed subscriptions differs from other business models in Microsoft Store. For any add-on subscriptions in apps (but not games), you receive 85% of the subscription price, minus applicable taxes. For game add-on subscriptions, you receive 70% of the subscription price, minus applicable taxes. Please read the Microsoft Store App Developer Agreement for further details on Store Fees and other terms relating to subscriptions.
Creating a subscription add-on
To enable the purchase of subscription add-ons in your app, your project must target Windows 10 Anniversary Edition (10.0; Build 14393) or a later release in Visual Studio (this corresponds to Windows 10, version 1607), and it must use the APIs in the Windows.Services.Store namespace to implement the in-app purchase experience instead of the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace. For more information about the differences between these namespaces, see In-app purchases and trials.
1) Create an add-on submission for your subscription in the Dev Center dashboard and publish the submission.
For Product type, ensure that you select Subscription.

When offering subscription add-ons to your customers, you can choose to offer a subscription period of 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or 2 years. You can also add a free trial period of 1 week or 1 month so your customers can try out the add-on before they commit to purchasing.
2) In your app, use APIs in the Services.Store namespace to determine whether the current user has already acquired your subscription add-on and then offer it for sale as an in-app purchase.
3) Test the in-app purchase implementation of your subscription in your app. You’ll need to download your app once from the Store to your development device to use its license for testing.
4) Create and publish an app submission that includes your updated app package, including your tested code.
For a complete overview of add-on subscriptions and how to implement them into your UWP app, please visit our documentation.
Customer management
Customers can manage their purchased subscriptions from the services & subscriptions page for their Microsoft account. Here they’ll find all the subscriptions they have acquired, with options to cancel a subscription or change the form of payment associated with a subscription.
Offering add-on subscriptions can be a great monetization strategy for your apps and games. As you go through the implementation process, please provide us with any feedback via the Feedback link in the upper right corner of the Dev Center dashboard.

Dev Center’s Year in Review: 2017

In 2017, the Dev Center Team has been hard at work bringing new features and programs to the Windows developer community. Our goal is to deliver features that will help you, as a developer, attract new customers, engage with your current Windows 10 customers and monetize your apps and games on Windows.  Today, we want to share all the new and exciting things we’ve brought to the community within the past year. Below are just some of the improvements we’ve made:
The Dev Center experience:
Experience a modern and efficient Dev Center dashboard

Use the Import/Export feature to quickly create and update Store listings
Schedule the precise date and time that your app will be available in Store
Flexible sale pricing and configuration to help promote your app

Monetization opportunities:
Xbox Live Creator’s Program – now any developer can integrate Xbox Live into their game and publish to Xbox One and Windows 10

Offer In-app purchases subscriptions with automated recurring billing (Dev Center Insider Program feature)
Desktop Bridge – bring existing apps and games to the Microsoft Store and UWP
See how Evernote used the Desktop Bridge to bring their app to Microsoft Store

Customer engagement:
Create more engaging Store listings with video trailers that could drive more acquisitions

Offer personalized content to specific segments of your customer using targeted offers
Use search terms to help optimize how your app shows up in customer searches
App & game analytics:
View near real time health analytics for your apps
Filter health data with new filters; OS release version, architecture, Sandbox and PRAID

Download CAB files for app failures in the Health report that occur on a Windows Insider release
See how many customers viewed you Store page, acquired, installed and used your apps by viewing the Acquisition funnel
View your app reviews grouped according to categories with Review insight categories to see where you should focus improvement efforts

See how your customers are engaging with Xbox features in your game with Xbox analytics
Understand the impact of any Xbox Live client errors through the Xbox Live service health tab

View acquisition reports for your Office add-ins on Dev Center
Health and Install reports for Windows desktop applications (available through the Windows Desktop Application Program)
Microsoft Ads Platform:
Join the Windows Premium Ads Publishers Program which curates a list of best in class apps and games in terms of usage, engagement and experience

Utilize the Microsoft Ad Monetization Platform that provides ad mediation service ensuring that ads from different networks are delivered to developers from a single SDK
You can now use interstitial and native ads through the Microsoft Advertising SDK
We’ve added new ad networks (Taboola, Outbrain, Revcontent, SpotX and Smartclip) to our platform to help increase fill rates and revenue
We would like to thank all the Windows developers, publishers and partners for continuing to invest in the Windows 10 ecosystem. We look forward to continuing our work to help make you successful in 2018!

The UWP Community Toolkit v2.1

We are extremely excited to announce the latest update to the UWP Community Toolkit, version 2.1!
This update builds on top of the previous version and continues to align the toolkit closer to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK. Thanks to the continued support and help of the community, all packages have been updated to target the Fall Creators Update, several controls, helpers, and extensions have been added or updated, and the documentation and design time experience have been greatly improved.
Below is a quick list of few of the major updates in this release. Head over to the release notes for a complete overview of what’s new in 2.1.
DockPanel
This release introduces the DockPanel control that provides an easy docking of elements to the left, right, top, bottom or center.

#DockPanel is now part of #UwpToolkit get the pre-release from here https://t.co/ccEz8R6qSa thanks to @metulev & @dotMorten for their review pic.twitter.com/Gfp566kFAE
— Ibraheem Osama (@IbraheemOM) November 2, 2017

HeaderedContentControl and HeaderedItemsControl
There are now two controls, HeaderedContentControl and HeaderedItemsControl that allow content to be easily displayed with a header that can be templated.

<controls:HeaderedContentControl Header="Hello header!">
<Grid Background="Gray">

</Grid>
</<controls:HeaderedContentControl>

Connected and Implicit Animation in XAML
There are two new sets of XAML attached properties that enable working with composition animations directly in XAML
Implicit animations (including show and hide) can now be directly added to the elements in XAML

<Border extensions:VisualExtensions.NormalizedCenterPoint="0.5">

<animations:Implicit.ShowAnimations>
<animations:TranslationAnimation Duration="0:0:1"
To="0, 100, 0" ></animations:TranslationAnimation>
<animations:OpacityAnimation Duration="0:0:1"
To="1.0"></animations:OpacityAnimation>
</animations:Implicit.ShowAnimations>

</Border>

Connected animations can now be defined directly on the element in XAML by simply adding the same key on elements on different pages

<!– Page 1 –>
<Border x:Name="Element" animations:Connected.Key="item"></Border>

<!– Page 2 –>
<Border x:Name="Element" animations:Connected.Key="item"></Border>

Improved design time experience
Added designer support for controls, including toolbox integration and improved design time experience by placing properties in the proper category in the properties grid with hover tooltip.

Added @VisualStudio Toolbox integration to #UWPToolkit: https://t.co/SZ6Tf3b0cf #DragNDropLikeItsHot pic.twitter.com/G4s73wXUsi
— Morten Nielsen (@dotMorten) August 31, 2017

New SystemInformation properties
SystemInformation class now includes new properties and methods to make it easier to provide first run (or related) experiences or collect richer analytics.

The #uwptoolkit got some new SystemInformation properties fresh from the oven thanks to @mrlacey. What would you use these for? https://t.co/cFjGWSBxPX pic.twitter.com/Pft6nWbx0M
— Nikola Metulev (@metulev) October 13, 2017

Easy transition to new Fall Creators Update controls
To enable a smooth transition from existing toolkit controls to the new Fall Creators Update controls, the HamburgeMenu and SlidableListItem have new properties to use the NavigationView and SwipeControl respectively when running on Fall Creators Update. Take a look at the documentation on how this works.
Documentation
All documentation is now available at Microsoft docs. In addition, there is new API documentation as part of .NET API Browser.
Built by the Community
This update would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the community support and participation. If you are interested in participating in the development, but don’t know how to get started, check out our “help wanted” issues on GitHub.
As a reminder, although most of the development efforts and usage of the UWP Community Toolkit is for Desktop apps, it also works great on Xbox One, Mobile, HoloLens, IoT and Surface Hub devices. You can get started by following this tutorial, or preview the latest features by installing the UWP Community Toolkit Sample App from the Microsoft Store.
To join the conversation on Twitter, use the #uwptoolkit hashtag.

Ad Monetization Tips: Maximizing your App Ad revenues for the holidays using the Microsoft Ad Monetization platform

Did you know that app developers make the most money from Advertising during the holiday season than at any other time of the year? Advertisers spend huge sums promoting their brands through Digital Ad campaigns during this period.  Are you ready to take advantage of this and maximize Ad revenues for your Windows apps this holiday season?
If you haven’t already,  join the tens of thousands of Windows app developers using the Microsoft Advertising SDK and the Microsoft Ad Monetization platform as their Ad monetization solution. Integrating the SDK into your app is straightforward and you should be able to get up and running in just about a day. The Microsoft Ad Monetization platform provides higher fill rates and better eCPMs on a variety of Ad formats including Banner, Native and Interstitial Video Ads. The platform uses Machine Learning to maximize App Ad revenues by selecting the potentially highest yield Ad response on every Ad request. Also, with a single integration to the platform through the SDK, you get access to the growing portfolio of our Ad network partners such as SpotX, Smartclip etc. without making additional code changes when new networks get added.
If you are already using the Microsoft Advertising SDK for Ad monetization, here are the top five tips to maximize Ad revenues for your apps for the holidays.
1. Check the placement of your Ad in your app (link).
Placing the Ad in the right place on the app increases user visibility and click performance of the ad unit, which directly improves monetization. Advertisers are likely to bid higher if the Ad viewability scores are higher for your app. Optimize for viewability and clicks and see your revenue increase.
2. Switch from ‘Manual’ to ‘Automatic’ in Mediation settings for your Ad units.
By choosing the ‘Automatic’ option, you let the Microsoft Ad Monetization platform choose the best mediation settings to maximize the yield for your app. This is done using Machine learning algorithms that take into account several app, user and environment features to pick the optimal order of Ad networks to maximize Ad yield.
3. Use interstitial banner as fallback for video (link).
Video ads are a great way to monetize but when a video ad request is not converted into an impression, a great option is to use Interstitial banner as a fallback and make the most of the opportunity to monetize that ad space.
4. Check your app’s COPPA settings (link).
If your app does not target children under 13, then Targeted Ads are a great way to maximize your Ad monetization potential. Incorrect classification of your app as ‘directed at children under the age of 13’ while in reality it is not, can cause Ad revenues to drop as the Ads returned in this situation are not targeted/relevant. Also, Ad requests for such apps are not sent to Ad networks that are not COPPA compliant, thereby causing Ad fill rates on your app to drop.
5. Consider using high yield Ad formats in your app.
Have you considered adding in support for Ad formats such as Interstitial Video (link) and Native Ads (link) in your app? These richer Ad formats have higher yield than standard banner Ads and can make a considerable difference in your App Ad revenues especially during the holiday season.
Implementing these very simple steps is a great way to ensure you are maximizing the Ad monetization potential for your apps and setting yourself up for higher Ad revenues during this holiday season!

Microsoft Store app and game submission deadlines for the holiday season

Every year the Microsoft Store sees an increase in the number of customers downloading and purchasing content during the holiday season. During the holiday months of 2016, the Microsoft Store saw more than a 30% increase in the number of downloads when compared to the rest of the year.
To take advantage of the holiday momentum, you’ll want to update or submit your app or game no later than November 14th for Thanksgiving (US) and December 14th for the Christmas holiday. You can see the full list of submission deadlines below. Updating or submitting your app early ensures that they will be available during the holiday season!

Holiday

Submission deadline for app publishing for these holidays

Date

Thanksgiving
Thursday, Nov 23
Friday, Nov 24
Tuesday, Nov 14
Christmas
Monday, Dec 25
Tuesday, Dec 26
Thursday, Dec 14
New Year’s
Monday, Jan 1
Monday, Dec 18