Sometimes an app is more than an app

I just released my first app in the Windows 8 App Store.

As far as apps go, this one is about as simple as one could be. It creates (rolls the dice) for Dungeons & Dragons characters and has a second screen that lets you roll dice in any combination you want.

Not exactly the kind of thing to brag about on my resume, or at programmer gatherings. It’s not going to save the world, and it doesn’t do anything really tricky or interesting.

However, I wrote this app for reasons other than the riches we all expect to earn from our work.

The purpose was to get everything in place for my future apps, start building a checklist for my future apps, and see how the submission process works – along with where I might have problems. For that, the app was a big success.

What did creating this app do for me?

Now I have my Microsoft Dev Center account, ready for my next app.

I have a Microsoft pubCenter account, so I can create more ad-supported apps.

I know that I need to create support and privacy policy pages on my site for the app, and that I can use regular WordPress pages (along with the Contact Form plugin, for support).

I know what I need to include in the privacy policy for an ad-supported app (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/advertising-windows-store-submission%28v=msads.10%29.aspx).

I know that ad-supported apps need to be marked as requiring Internet access and have an age rating of 12+.

I know the sizes and formats of the images I need for the app, and that I can use Fiverr.com to get some decent graphics at an affordable cost.

I have the latest Windows App Certification Kit installed, ready for my next app.

I know that my app can pass in the App Certification Kit, but still get an error when I create the app package in Visual Studio (which, for some reason, ran the WACK about ten times slower than when I ran it outside of Visual Studio). When I uploaded the app, it passed Microsoft’s certification, so I guess I didn’t need to worry about the extremely slow test within Visual Studio.

I found a blog post that has great instructions on submitting your app to the Windows App Store.

What do I expect to earn from this app?

Realistically, nothing, as far as money.

I certainly won’t mind if it is downloaded thousands of times and generates some ad revenue. But I’m prepared for it to be a complete failure – as far as generating income. If I earn any money from it, that’s “icing on the cake”.

My payoff was the knowledge I gained.

That’s how my first app store app was more than an app.

Update – 09 May 2014: I’m removed this app from the Windows Store. It only made a few cents from ad revenue. Plus, I want all my apps to follow some common standards – which this one doesn’t.

 

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