Developing and publishing apps overview for Windows Phone Marketplace

[This documentation is preliminary and is subject to change.]

July 25, 2012

Applies to: Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview | Windows Phone OS 7.1

When your app is completed, you can sell it on the Windows Phone Marketplace. Consumers can buy and download apps from a centralized location and payments are automatically handled for you. For general guidelines about marketing your app in the Windows Phone Marketplace, see Best Practices for Application Marketing.

This topic guides you through the steps of submitting your app for distribution through the Windows Phone Marketplace. The Windows Phone application development lifecycle consists of the following general steps:

  1. Register as a Windows Phone Developer

  2. Develop and Test Your Application

  3. Assemble the Prerequisites for Certification

  4. Submit Your Application for Certification

  5. Link to Your Application in the Windows Phone Marketplace Catalog

  6. Updating Your Application in the Windows Phone Marketplace

  7. Support

Note Note:

If you want users to interact with the Windows Phone Marketplace from inside your app, see Launchers for Windows Phone.

App Hub is the website where you register for membership as a Windows Phone developer. App Hub is also where you submit and manage your apps for distribution through the Windows Phone Marketplace. You should register for membership as a Windows Phone developer before you begin creating apps because some development tasks, such as installing your app on a physical phone for testing, require App Hub membership.

For step-by-step instructions about how to register, see the App Hub Registration Walkthrough. For frequently asked questions about registration, see the Registration for Windows Phone FAQ.

Now, you are ready to start developing Windows Phone apps. The topic Getting started with developing for Windows Phone contains links to all the information that you need to get started. Samples for Windows Phone provide you with a jump-start to implementing new features, and the Education Catalog provides a wide variety of articles, tutorials, and utilities to help beginners and experts alike. For the full Windows Phone SDK documentation, see Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Developer Preview.

Developing and Testing Your App

You can use both the Windows Phone Emulator and a physical Windows Phone device to develop and test your app. For more information about the Windows Phone Emulator, see Windows Phone SDK tools. For information about how to unlock your phone for development and testing work, see Deploying and testing apps on your Windows Phone.

Preparing Your App Icons

Images that represent your installed app on a user’s phone include the tile on the Start screen and the tile in the installed app (or game) list. These files exist in your Windows Phone app project. When you submit your app for certification, these files are part of your .XAP file. For more information, see App artwork for Windows Phone.

The Marketplace Preparation Test Kit

The Marketplace Test Kit provides a suite of automated, monitored, and manual tests to help make sure that your apps are accepted in the Marketplace the first time you submit them. The Marketplace Test Kit enables you to test your app against the certification requirements right from Visual Studio. For more information, see Windows Phone Marketplace Test Kit.

The following two subsections explain the key prerequisites that you need before you submit your app. For a checklist of requirements, see the Application Submission Checklist.

The .XAP File

When you finish your app and build your project in Visual Studio, Visual Studio creates the .XAP file for the app. The .XAP file contains the executable file and all the resources needed by your app. The .XAP file is the only app file that you need to upload in the submission process. For more information, see Upload your Application.

App Artwork

When you submit your app for certification, you provide the artwork that represents your app in the Windows Phone Marketplace catalog. For more information, see App artwork for Windows Phone.

After you have assembled the prerequisites, you are ready to submit your app to App Hub for certification. For the full list of certification requirements, see the App certification requirements for Windows Phone. After the app has satisfied the certification requirements, you are notified. If you chose the automatic publication option during the submission process, your app is automatically published, otherwise you can publish it manually on the App Hub dashboard. You can review your app submissions at any time on the App Hub dashboard.

For step-by-step instructions about how to submit your app, see the Application Submission Walkthrough. For frequently asked questions about certification, see the Certification FAQ.

After your app is published, it appears in the Windows Phone Marketplace catalog. You can create links that to allow users to jump directly to your app in the Windows Phone Marketplace catalog. These links can be used in emails, text messages, and apps. For more information, see How to link to Windows Phone Marketplace content.

After your app is published, if you want to make changes to your app and release the new version to users, you must submit an update. For more information, see Updating apps in Windows Phone Marketplace.

There are many places that you can get help with any stage of the Windows Phone app development lifecycle. App Hub provides Community Forums where you can ask questions, give advice, or just discuss the finer points of Windows Phone programming.

You can also find help and information at the following places:

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