Microsoft adds more Windows Store publishing features for app developers

Microsoft is rolling out new Dev Center features for Windows 10 app developers, offering them more options when releasing their apps in the Windows Store.

The biggest new feature, as we reported on Monday, is the new ability for app developers to publish Windows 10 UWP apps to the Xbox Store for Xbox One console owners. In a blog post, Microsoft detailed the other new Dev Center features, including the ability to publish apps to a specific number of people:

Starting today Dev Center supports gradual package rollout to let you offer a package update only to a percentage of your customers. You can increase this percentage as your confidence in the update increases on the app's Overview page. Once you have confidence in the update, the gradual rollout can be finalized to make this package available to all devices, or halted if there are issues with the package and you want to stop distributing it and then replace it with a subsequent update.

Another new feature allows for forced app updates, for use in apps or games which might need quick bug fixes or content updates:

To use this feature, add code to your app to check for the presence of a mandatory update, ideally when you first submit the app. Then whenever you submit an update, you can indicate in Dev Center that the update is mandatory and on what day it becomes mandatory. When your app determines that a mandatory update is available, it can then take the appropriate action (for example, asking the customer to update, or allowing offline playing only until the game has been updated).

Yet another addition now allows developers to list both minimum and recommended hardware requirements for their Windows 10 application or game. There are quite a few other new additions and improvements to the Dev Center, so Windows 10 app creators should check out the blog post for the full list.

John Callaham