09 September 2016

How shipping an UWP app update can make your app unavailable

First of all – don’t do this. You might regret it dearly.  

One might consider the fact that this is possible at all to be a bug in the Store. For the moment I am just operating on the assumption that I, a Windows Development MVP, actually managed to mess up my best paying app’s availability by being distracted and not reading the wording in the submission carefully. The sole purpose of this little blog post is to prevent you falling into the same trap.

I happily created a new version of my app now supporting the Anniversary Update, so it would be available on all clients (most notably the XBox One!) In the package page, for some reason I misread the line next to the top checkbox:


It says, now in gray print because the submission is already done:

“Let Microsoft decide whether to make this app available to any future device families”

The key error I made here was missing the word future. I had played a little with the check boxes above the platforms and then I noticed the text above, got distracted for some reason, misread it, and unchecked all the boxes thinking “better let Microsoft handle this choice”.

Wrong. Very wrong. Microsoft handles future device families, not current device families. Set the checkboxes like this – and what you end up with is a submission that is not eligible for any of the mentioned devices. And it says so if you read the legend below the package. What struck me in hindsight as odd is that the app was certified and published without a hitch with what might be considered as a completely senseless set op options. Anyway, the net result was - when you tried to search in from the store, it never showed up, and if I used the direct link ($0.99, free trial included, thank you for supporting your faithful developer) it said, in the browser:

"This app does not work on your device"

On every device.

Fortunately the good people of the Windows Store were nice enough to point out my error, so I resubmitted (just the same package, just all checkboxes checked now!). So this is how a submission is supposed to look, and it will look that way if you don’t mess with those checkboxes to begin with:


Then the Store Team still had to do something to boot my previous submission out of the queue. When that was done, the app became available again. After five days of absence.

So I guess I stumbled upon an edge for which case the people of the Windows Store could not even imagine some stupid enough to actually stumble upon. ;) Quite a sobering experience for me, both as a user and a developer – even when your users are intelligent people. somehow, some way they will find a way to click on the wrong button and mess up. Usually I am on the other side of the fence. I will never say again “how can anyone be so stupid to do XYZ” because th8ings like this happen.

This is not the proudest article of my blog, but I figured that if I could fall into this trap, there is a remote possibility other people would do so as well. Bottom line: be careful with these checkboxes, read carefully what they mean, and don’t get distracted during a submission ;)

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