Windows Phone 8 : Making Money - Submitting Your App (part 1) - Preparing Your Application

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So you have registered for the Dev Center and completed the first version of your application. You are ready to get that app in the Store and start sharing your creation with users. You might think you’re ready to submit your creation, but before you get started, some preparation is required.

Preparing Your Application

After your application code is ready, you should perform some simple steps to ensure that the submission process goes smoothly. Here is a checklist of tasks you should complete before you submit your application.

To simplify this experience, the Windows Phone SDK provides an option called the Store Test Kit to package your application and run tests to ensure it’s going to be approved the first time. To get started, open the Project menu and select Open Store Test Kit, as shown in Figure 1.


FIGURE 1 Opening the Store Test Kit

When the kit is opened, you’ll see three tabs on the left that indicate the various parts of the application testing. The first tab contains the Store images you should supply when submitting your application. This can ensure that your images are the correct size for submitting to the Store. You can see the first tab in Figure 2.


FIGURE 2 Store Test Kit image validation

To create the Store Tile, I just use any image editor for my logo. But for the screenshots, I usually use the emulator and take screenshots. When running your application in the emulator, you can press the small right-arrow icon to open the emulator tools. One of the tabs is called Screenshots. Clicking the Capture button will take the screenshot; clicking the Save button lets you save the image. You can see the screenshot emulator tool in Figure 3.


FIGURE 3 Screenshot tool in the emulator

When including screenshots, you must supply screenshots for every screen resolution you support. In your WMAppManifest.xml file, you can specify which resolutions you support. By default, all three resolutions are enabled, as shown in Figure 4.


FIGURE 4 Supported resolutions

In the first tab of the Store Test Kit is a drop-down that changes the screenshots for each of these resolutions. You should supply screenshots in all three resolutions. The easiest way is to rerun your application in each of the emulator sizes.

Normally you can include these images in your project to have a common place to put them. If you do include them directly in your project, be sure to change the Build Action to “None” to prevent them from being included in the .xap file. Including them will unnecessarily bloat your application package. You can change the Build Action in the Properties panel as shown in Figure 5.


FIGURE 5 Changing the Build Action of images in your project

The next tab in the Store Test Kit are the automated tests. These tests do static analysis on the .xap package itself looking for errors. You must change the build type to “Release” before these tests can be performed. You can select the “Run Tests” button to execute the automated tests. The results will be shown in the window (see Figure 6).


FIGURE 6 Automated tests

From this window, you can also profile your application using the built-in profiler. The Start Windows Phone Application Analysis button launches this tool. This tool enables you to see how your application performs and tweak memory, CPU, and animation performance to make your application the best it can be.

The last tab in the Store Test Kit is a set of manual tests. The number of these tests varies and encourages you to perform this series of manual tests on your applications. Many of the tests are not necessarily applicable to every application (for example, VoIP tests). After you’ve prepared your application, you’re ready to submit it!

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