Windows Store

I just got my first app posted in the Windows Store ! Unfortunately, it is made with Visual Studio because as yet, Xojo does not support Metro apps. Maybe after iOS support which is page based as well it will be easier to have a XPlat environment for such apps ?

Xojo desktop apps can be displayed in the Windows store anyway. It is not quite as straightforward as the Mac App Store, but it is possible.

Here are the main requirements :

  • Apps must be signed with Verisign code signing certificate ($499 a year)
  • Only professional developer accounts can post ($99 a year)
  • Apps must be tested for compatibility (Windows test kits are free)
  • Apps listed are not sold by the Windows Store and links must be made to the owner online sales interface

More at

I have found the Windows Store to be not that far from the MAS in terms of usage. But was pleasantly surprised by the speed of processing and review. They say it can take up to 5 days (just like the MAS), and it was done in one. Now I shall see if sales are as good :wink:

Hi Michel,

Congratulations on getting your app approved for the Windows Store!

Curiosity is killing me, what app did you post (I want to look it up) :slight_smile:

Yes, I too am looking forward to have Xojo support Metro Apps.

[quote=54347:@Eugene Dakin]

Curiosity is killing me, what app did you post (I want to look it up) :slight_smile:

Yes, I too am looking forward to have Xojo support Metro Apps.[/quote]

It’s called Elementary Fonts. Same name as my very first App Store App. Same fonts. Getting superstitious maybe.

The experience is interesting. Almost nothing is permitted in a Metro app, so I could not install fonts directly, but competitors did not do either. Writing page-based app took me back to the good ol’time when we did not have anything but CLS to change screen :wink:

Seriously, creating a metro app is very much like a web app : navigation between screens, no windows.

It would be nice to be able to use Xojo. VS is not the most flexible environment, and as syntax has changed since I used VB in the past, it was a bit of a challenge. Besides, VB for Metro has considerable differences with VB.Net, and documentation is sparce. I ordered the only book Microsoft published to build Metro apps with VB, and there is no other anywhere :frowning:

Being accustomed to Xojo, the rarity of documentation to develop for Metro Windows Store is new to me. Fortunately, they have a forum of sorts where I usually get help. It’s far from being as pleasant as here, though.

How is the Windows Store holding up? Was it worth the effort?


[quote=64206:@Tomas Sancio]How is the Windows Store holding up? Was it worth the effort?

Sales are slow. Much slower than the MAS :frowning:

Development of Windows 8 applications is rendered difficult by the lack of information, but also by the incredible poverty of simple features. For instance a simple beep is not present, and printing requires extraordinary steps (over 100 lines, plus dependencies) I had never seen before. Not to mention the worst documentation about the framework.

Altogether, looks very much like once again, MS has turned what could have been a superb idea into an abysmal idiocy. Let alone by making desktop applications difficult to sell. They are not even able to profit from their huge installed base.

Was it worth the effort ? I would have never been able to tell you without trying. And all may not be lost. What I learned may be useful for other projects. Designing a page-based interface, for instance, will be useful for iOS :slight_smile:

Good for you Michel!

I found the same abysmal documentation as well. With the XOJO Page Panel you can make any APP “look” like a metro app, but it is not truly a native app (as far as the app store is required, I assume). I am concerned based on the feedback with Windows 8 that MS will simply abandon the whole Windows Store/Metro Themed Apps, like they did with Gadgets. It sounds like you invested quite a bit of time in this.

I am wondering did you “have” to use the Windows Store? Could you not just create the app and sell it on your own site or did you feel like having it in the Window’s Store would boost marketing opportunities?

Will your APP run on Windows 7?

Difficult to know. I would be surprised that native Windows 8 apps disappear altogether. They are necessary for the Surface tablet and the phones. And those sell better. Chances are Windows 8 native applications are here to stay. Seems they simply take longer to spread than MS expected. But given previous experiences, MS has showed patience when they are really intent to gain market share.

I was not forced to sell on the Windows Store. Fact is, I have been selling on my own sites since 1998. I simply wanted to take foot on what I perceived as a new potential market. The Windows Store is twofold : Windows 8 apps, and Desktop apps. Desktop apps are simply displayed and sold on the author site. Furthermore, a desktop app must be signed with a Verisign certificate that costs $499 a year. And the Windows Store is for Windows 8 users only, so it would not do any good for pre-W8 users anyway.

So I went to Windows 8 native because it was a new platform I wanted to explore, and it did not cost anything to try. Just time, but I have plenty.

In terms of market, it was not possible to judge the opportunity from outside. I had to get my feet wet to see. So far it looks like about 1/4 the app store (I have the same apps on both sides). Maybe the market will expand : each new machine that is sold with Windows 8 creates a new potential customer.

No. But I have a Xojo version I created for Mac OS X that runs fine on Windows 7.

I have not given up the idea to sell Xojo apps in the Windows Store. Since these posts, things have evolved.

I have probably definitely given up on the Modern API apps written in VB. Support in Msdn is dismal, and it is still so raw, people who criticize Xojo iOS have no idea what MS developers have to go through…

Since the last post, it appears my apps sell much less than I thought. About ten times less than in the MAS. But it is probably due to the very bad market penetration of Windows 8.x, which account for only 18 % or so of the global installed Windows base. That said, I have been using Windows 10 Tech Preview for several months. It is every bit what 8 should have been : Windows 7 with Touch support. Since I learned it will be free for 7 users, I have found a renew interest.

Also, some statistics about the Windows Store sales have been available :

From what I see, education which my products target with school handwriting is at the low end of sales. That may explain the relatively low sales. I believe business and finance, or utilities, have a much better chance. Last year, there was that huge gap between kind of old fashion desktop apps, and Metro apps. Especially when Metro apps were full screen and desktop had windows. Now both execute in windows. I think there is a potential market for Xojo apps redesigned to comply with Microsoft Design Guidelines, that look and react to touch like Metro apps

Now there are about two dozen of Windows 8 tablets listed at Amazon, including pure tablets, and transformers (notebooks with detachable screen). I just ordered the Asus T100. That will be the occasion to design Windows app for touch, and verify my assumptions.

Since last, Microsoft has added the possibility to sign up for a desktop account with a Digicert Authenticode. It is much less than Verisign : $223 a year, about half. It remains more expensive than the Apple Store, but it becomes doable. Even with low sales, it will be reimbursed in a lot less time.

There is indeed going to be change in that desktop apps are very likely to be accepted directly into and sold via the Windows Store. Now that Windows 10 boot straight into the desktop on a standard pc and notebook and now that modern app run in a windows on the desktop, Microsoft has woken up from their mistake to restrict the Windows Store to only modern apps. By now, they should know that that path is deserted and leading to a cliff. The fact is staring at them loud and clear that their hardware partners offer a downgrade to Windows 7 for the Windows 8 machines they sell.

The common controls in Win32 API will remain for sure. If Microsoft remove them, a lot of existing desktop apps will stop working. And that will sure kill off Windows forever. What is needed are “improved look” versions of these controls that make desktop app look more up to date, not dated. This may be difficult for Xojo to do it without irking the Mac-only camp. Maybe 3rd-party developers can?

I will not be surprised that in time to come, modern apps will all become desktop apps. Except for Windows phone but this is a dying product line.

Michel, where do you go to get information on this? I’ve got my OSX version code signed, but have not r3eleased a Windows version of the same Desktop application. One of the Hurdles I still have left to do was to get it digitally signed (ort whatever the Windows world of code signed is) so that the Operating System doesn’t bark when they try to install. Do you have to join some type of developer program? Is there some place that you get the certificates?

@Merv: I am using kSign Tool & Certs This helps a lot to get rid of annoying UAE warnings and is a proof for quality.

Windows Store is a different story…

Here is the page where you can sign up for a desktop/hardware developer account :

That is precisely where they require an authenticode code signing certificate from Verisign or Digicert. The Comodo certificate I currently use won’t work (I verified).

All you need to get all information (see Get started on the signup page) is a Microsoft ID. You have that when you purchased any Microsoft product. But you can also simply register.

[quote=167261:@Cho Sing Kum]

The common controls in Win32 API will remain for sure. If Microsoft remove them, a lot of existing desktop apps will stop working. And that will sure kill off Windows forever. What is needed are “improved look” versions of these controls that make desktop app look more up to date, not dated. This may be difficult for Xojo to do it without irking the Mac-only camp. Maybe 3rd-party developers can?

If what is in the blog gets confirmed, that is fantastic news for Xojo Windows developers, as well as for Microsoft. Indeed as it stands, sales of modern API apps are awfully slow, and Windows 8 itself is a humiliating experience for MS. With a gigantic base of desktop programs, that store could be vibrant. I do not think it will in any way dispense from the need for an Authenticode digital signature per today’s requirements for desktop apps.

Modern API (Metro) UI controls are not at all different from what has existed until now. Actually, modern API is based on .NET and as such, almost all controls are identical to what VB contained back in 2002. And essentially identical to what Xojo brings. The only really different control is the buttons, made larger for touch interface, but easily emulated with a canvas. Or even if transparency is not needed, by a bevel button.

The improved look is largely the result of applying these controls in a more modern way,

I do however find their Metro Style user interface at to be exactly what I talked about : the design is all it is. And it can be emulated easily with canvases

I already touched on that in

Thanks Michel and Thomas. I never really needed to do this with the old VB6 apps we sold, but since I did this with the Mac when I switched to using Xojo, seems like a good time to finally look at this for Windows. I’ll check into it. Thanks again.

For many years I sold less Mac apps than Windows on my web sites. I thought that was simply due to the smaller installed base. Then Apple launched the Apple store and as soon as I started selling there, Mac sales grew larger than the Windows ones.

For so many years, the Windows market have relied on try before you buy evaluation packages, distributed through behemoths like CNet and others who trusted the evaluation programs. Pretty much like MacUpdate for Apple apps. There are brilliant successes for that model, and no real reason for it to go away. Especially for big companies who have all the marketing power needed to promote their stuff. Problem is, what do you you do when you are an indie, elbowing to reach the customer through a crowd of programs of extremely variable quality, ranging from excellent to dismally crappy ? It is just as bad on the user side. It happened to me so many times : having to go through a collection of deceitful descriptions, smapware and spyware crammed installers that highjack my browser, programs that no longer work if they ever did, and generally a very frustrating experience. It is often said free is good, I think it is all too often BS. And when burned enough, customers will shy away. I’ll say they are probably right.

What the MAS has proven is that for a serious author, much more can be attained with a rigorous review process, and an efficient online store. For the customer, it means the assurance that what he buys complies to a minimum standard of quality. For the author, it means there is no risk to see his evaluation packages modified and repackaged in spamware installers that make him look bad. Most importantly, for the author, it is a regular and reliable income, without having to invest precious time in other chores, such as making sure the archives are in every shareware archive.

My hope is that the Windows Store will do the same for my Windows programs. So far, the half dozen modern API programs I have in there do sell, if not as much as I had wished. But that is on 18% on Windows users that have fallen for Windows 8. If Windows 10 penetration is any better, and with free upgrade moves over enough Windows 7 users, not forgetting all new Windows machines sold, the number of potential customers could jump 3 or 4 times. Well designed Windows versions of the most popular apps I have in the MAS should have a reasonable chance to sell.