10 Tips When Building a Windows Store App

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Building Windows Store apps on the surface may seem quite easy; however, there are a lot of tricks of the trade things you should watch out for. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details quite often and easily overlooked. I hope you find the following 10 tips helpful in both improving your app and reducing the chance of running into approval issues with your app.

Windows Store App Tip # 1: Don’t Forget A Privacy Policy

If your application makes use of the Internet, be sure to include a privacy policy. A link to your Privacy Policy must be included in both the Windows Store under Privacy Policy in the Description section and under the options for the app. Failing to include the Privacy Policy link will cause your app to be rejected from the store

Windows Store App Tip # 2: Use a Unique Name

Each application in the Windows Store must have a unique name. As such, you should reserve an application’s name in advance. In fact, the name can be reserved a year in advance before needing to submit the application.

Windows Store App Tip # 3: Remember Responsive Considerations

When building your application, make sure to keep your application responsive by taking advantage of the asynchronous programming techniques available in Microsoft .Net 4.5. While asynchronous programming with async/await statements may seem a little bit different, it is important to learn how to use them effectively as many of the built in APIs now take advantage of it.

Windows Store App Tip # 4: Think About Data

Plan your data storage needs in advance. Windows Store apps have access to two basic types of storage, application settings for Key/Value pair settings as well as data storage for files. Within the data storage your application has access to three locations: local, roaming and temporary. Since Windows Store apps don’t include a native database such as SQLite your application will most make use of XML Serialization.

Windows Store App Tip # 5: Use Native DLLs with Caution

Windows Store applications can run on x86, x64 and ARM; however, you may be tempted to use native dlls such as those for SQLite; however, doing so will limit your application to only running on one of the platforms and not all three.

Windows Store App Tip # 6: UX Guidelines are Important

Take advantage of the UX Guidelines from Microsoft. Microsoft provides a lot of information available to assist developers in building apps, which have consistent interactions.

Windows Store App Tip # 7: Don’t Forget Snap Mode

Windows Store apps have the ability to operate in a snapped mode, which allows your app to be displayed next to another application on the screen. In snapped mode, your application will utilize only a small sliver of the display, which limits the amount of information you will be able to display. Apps usually display a vertical list with limited information.

Windows Store App Tip # 8: Add a Trials Mode to Paid Apps

If you are building a Paid app implement trial capabilities using the LicenseInformation class. Using the LicenseInformation class you can build a single app and control the options available to users in Trial mode. At the end of the trial period, the user can purchase the app and enable additional features without the need to reinstall.

Windows Store App Tip # 9: Niches Can be Good

With the Windows Store being relatively new there are a lot of markets and big niches wide open for you to capitalize upon. Don’t be afraid to do a little searching to see what’s out there. Other apps in the store can be a great resource to pull from for user interface and design inspiration.

Windows Store App Tip # 10: Blend and XAML

Become a Blend and XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language) expert to improve the look of your app and add animations. It’s common knowledge that apps that provide a little bit of sizzle in their user interface tend to be more popular. While Blend is a very different tool for developers to get used too, learning how to take advantage of it can make the difference in the appeal of your app.

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