As we anxiously await for Windows 10's official release in 29 July, we started ramping-up on the developer material to help us bring our app experiences to Windows 10 and the Universal Windows Platform. The new operating system will have a new enhanced store to distribute your apps and have users download and review them. The end users will experience the new store but as developers in the background we will mostly interact with the Dev Center and the dashboard to manage the apps and publish them. Currently, we have 2 dashboards, one for Windows Phone and another for Windows 8/8.1. Microsoft has been making a lot of progress at unifying the dev center resources and documentation and access to these dashboards but now with Windows 10 we will have a fully unified Dev Center.
Thew new dashboard has already been made available in "Preview mode" for developers and app publishers who will need to starting preparing for the upcoming migration of their accounts and apps so that they can target Windows 10. Once you navigate to the Dev Center you will notice a prompt to choose a dashboard until the accounts and metadata have been migrated, as the following image shows:
If you navigate to the new dashboard, one of the most important difference that you will notice is that there is now one unified dashboard. From this dashboard we will be able to submit and manage new and existing apps with Windows 8.x packages, Windows Phone 7.x and 8.x packages, as well as Windows 10 packages; all from a single dashboard. Moreover, we will be able to manage Microsoft ads and app promotions will to move from pubCenter to the new Dev Center. Eventually, there will be a single place to manage apps.
The unified dashboard will also allow the reporting and payments to be integrated and hence we will no longer need to enter the app’s description and other metadata in two separate places. If the developer has linked apps that share identity in both Windows and Windows Phone Stores today, these will be managed as a single app with multiple packages (for example, one app with a package for Windows Phone 8.1 and a package for Windows 8.1).
For the time being, "preview mode", the ability to create a new app on the new dashboard is disable while the work is completed but nevertheless, you can view new reports there that are available for read-only preview.
PS: Microsoft will be transitioning the accounts to the new unified dashboard experience in waves over the coming months and developer/app publishers will receive an email communication for that matter to guide them through the process and a notification when their accounts have beeb migrated.
In the meantime, changes are happening for all Windows and Windows Phone apps that app developers need to be aware of:
- Apps that are not linked yet, and developers would like to display these as one app on the Windows 10 store should start linking them now before the account is migrated. By linking these apps, app publishers will have the opportunity to upload a Windows 10 package for the same app that can be distributed to all Windows 10 devices – PCs, tablets, and phones.
- Desktop app listings will no longer be supported in the unified Dev Center. The desktop app listings previously submitted will remain published in Windows Store for customers on Windows 8 and 8.1. These will not appear in the new dashboard preview, but developers can still access them from the current dashboard. It is recommended that these Desktop app listings are reviewed and updated now. Because, once the account migrates to the new Dev Center, developers cannot modify the listing. However, they will be able to file a support ticket to have the listing removed by Microsoft after migration
- Payout information will be unified, so if the payout information is different in Windows Dev Center and Windows Phone Dev Center, when the account is migrated to the new dashboard, the data used for your payout payment instrument will be from the Windows Dev Center. If the account only has Windows Phone payout information, that will be used. So it is recommended that app publishers review their payout information to confirm it has the values they want to use once your account is migrated.
- App count view is updated and the total app count in the unified dashboard preview could be different from what you see in the current Windows dashboard and Windows Phone dashboard:
- Only published apps and in-app purchase products will appear
- Most Windows Phone beta apps have not been migrated
- Updates published in the current Windows and Windows Phone dashboards take about a day to appear in the unified dashboard
- New app categories will appear with Windows 10 and existing ones will be adjusted and expanded to accommodate new user types and associated content types. As a result, current app categories will be mapped to the new Windows 10 category list. Developers might want to take a moment to review the mappings listed here on a single page to understand where the apps will appear in the Dev Center and ultimately in the Store on Windows 10.
- The indicator (‘Get once, download on compatible Windows devices too’) used for Linked apps that are published in both Windows Store and Windows Phone Store and designated to share the same identity will no longer exist in Windows 10. Alternatively, these apps will be managed as one single app in the Dev Center. If there are packages for both Windows and Windows Phone today, these will be combined into a single app with device-specific packages.
- App descriptions from the Windows Store app will be shown to the Windows 10 Insider Preview customers, when descriptions are available from both the Windows and Windows Phone Store in the same language.
- App Screenshots will be migrated. Moreover, the appropriate screenshots are displayed to the user based on the Windows 10 device they are using. However, all Windows 10 devices will see the app descriptions that were provided for the Windows app. The only exception being if app descriptions were not provided for a specific language for the Windows app. In this case, the Windows Phone descriptions will be used on all Windows 10 devices.