Microsoft announces general availability of new features for Windows Store developers

At its Build 2017 conference in May, Microsoft made a number of major announcements related to the Windows Store. These included Office 2016 apps, offerings from Autodesk and SAP, Apple's iTunes, and Linux distros making their way to the Windows Store. It also announced the initial availability of several new features for Windows Store developers. These functionalities are now generally available for all developers.

Developers can promote their apps in more effective ways, such as in-Store video trailers. The company states that developers can now upload up to 15 video trailers on their app's Store listing along with images. Additionally, Store listing content such as description, keywords, and images can be updated by simply importing and exporting the listing, which reduces the update time to "just a few minutes", according to Microsoft.

The company is also making it easier to manage their app's price, sales, and visibility. Developers can now schedule when their apps will go live in the Store or when they will be unavailable. Furthermore, price changes can be scheduled in advance, and sales can be configured using a variety of options, depending on what the developer feels comfortable with. To fully understand all pricing tiers in all regions, an Excel sheet can also be downloaded from the Dev Center dashboard.

Microsoft has redesigned the Dev Center dashboard for increased efficiency as well. Changes include a new interface, an integrated app picker, streamlined program switching, analytics, and account-level pages. Apps can now be debugged using CAB files, however, the company notes that initially, only apps being used on Windows 10 Insider builds can generate these files.

Lastly, Microsoft has cautioned that there may be some implications if you are using the Windows Store submission API. However, there are some workarounds as well:

  • If you manage prices using the Submission API, you’ll have to use new price tiers. To do that, manually update your app or game once, so you can view the new price tiers, accept them, and then update your Submission API code to use these new price tier values, which can be found in the price table on the pricing and availability page in Dev Center, as described above.
  • The Windows Store submission API does not support all the new Store listing capabilities You can add the new assets using the Dev Center dashboard, and the submission API will be updated later in July to let you manage these new assets through the API. More details about the upcoming API capabilities, including trailers and game options, can be found.
  • If you use the StoreBroker PowerShell module to simplify using the Windows Store submission API, you can keep using it to manage the same listing asset types you are managing today. However, you won’t be able to upload the new asset types using StoreBroker until the StoreBroker team publishes an update in a few more weeks, and you pick up that update.

Microsoft has stated that all the aforementioned features and changes will be available to all developers starting today, and that the company appreciates feedback or error reporting sent through the Dev Center dashboard.

Source and image via: Microsoft

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