Yesterday, we released a significant update for the Windows Central App for Windows 10. While the app brought substantial improvements in performance and a decrease in crashing it did introduce a few other bugs, which are now being addressed.
Version 1.3.1 should now be live in the Store. Luckily, the changes are reflected in our new 'What's new' splash screen, but to recap what to look for:
Windows Central v1.3.1
- Fixed an issue that could cause the live tile count to be off by 15 - Thanks Darren
- Fixed an issue that was preventing users from responding to comments
- Fixed an issue that was preventing users from responding to forum posts in the Participated section
- Fixed white background when loading an article
Needless to say, some of those issues were a tad annoying if you leave a lot of comments. They should now be fixed.
We'll be addressing the 'white system bar' on the What's New splash screen in the next update. For those who had log in issues, that was not our app but an issue with tokens on our server. Those errors (CSRF_Token mismatch) should be gone for now as we rolled back the server change.
Where are Web to App links?
In an interesting developer story, we announced yesterday our app now supports Web to App links. That means that within our app when you click a link to another Windows Central article it should keep you within the app. Also, clicking a link from an email or SMS should bring you to the app instead of the website.
During development this feature worked flawlessly for us when testing side-loaded apps on our phones and PCs. However, once it hit the Store and was live for the public the function stopped working, much to our surprise. Since you cannot test an app after going through the Store until it happens, that is where we are at.
Without going into too many details, the issue appears to be a problem with Microsoft's tools and their verifier being broken. We're working with them on it to try and understand why it works one way and not through a Store submission. As far as we know, this affects all app submissions that try to enable this feature, which may be why we have not seen any apps that support it yet.
For now, we are offering a solution for those who want this feature now: sideload our Appx file.
The process is simple:
- Uninstall the previous Windows Central App from your Phone or PC to ensure proper installation/reduce issues
- On your phone or PC go to Settings > Update & security > For developers > Enable Developer Mode (can probably work with Sideload Apps too)
- Download this AppX file from our OneDrive (WindowsCentral_188.8.131.52_x86_arm.appxbundle)
- Open the AppX bundle from the Edge Downloads area by tapping it
- When asked to Install app? select install
For PC you should see an installation screen. You may also need to dismiss and bypass the SmartScreen security feature. However, on the phone there is no progress indicator for the installation. Installation could take 30 to 60 seconds at which point you won't see anything happen. After some time, you should see the app return to your App list on the phone. Head to About to check the version number and make sure it matches 1.3.1.
Once installed, there is not much to do. If you click an external link to our site, you should see a dialog asking if you want to open it with our app or Edge. On Mobile, the icon for our app is gone for some reason (another Microsoft bug, perhaps), but on PC it should look like the below image. Same with browsing links within the app.
Note: This Appx file and the one in the Store are exactly the same. The only difference is one went through Microsoft's checks (and lost Web to App) and the other did not. This is why they are both v1.3.1.
Once we figure out with Microsoft the issue for Store submissions and this feature, we'll push out an update and notify users. There is no need to remove the app. When a new update from the Store comes out, your PC or Phone will see the update just like any other device as it is based on release numbers not the method of installation (e.g. sideloading). The Store update will simply overwrite the earlier build.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.