Publish An App In The Windows Store: Win A Trip To TechEd Australia With Lifehacker And Microsoft

FINAL ROUND! Good news developers: you still have tonight to complete and submit your app and chase the dream. Simply submit your new app to the Windows Store (even if it's an Android or iOS port) and you could win the chance to present your app to thousands of industry-types at Microsoft's TechEd 2013 on the Gold Coast. Then there’s the HP laptops, Xbox bundles and Microsoft peripherals that we’re also giving away...

Success image/s from Shutterstock: 1, 2 3


Here's how the competition works: Simply register above then finish coding! Quality is important, but your app doesn’t need to be 100% perfect. Each round’s winner will have time to update their app before major prize judging.

As Nokia’s dev guru (and one of our judges), Vaughan Knight, will tell you: “If you’re not in the Store, you don’t exist. Just get it in there...for every app that’s built and submitted, there are probably 20 that are created but not submitted.”

The cool part: We'll send you out a confirmation email and you'll be able to ask Microsoft questions and get helpful input from Microsoft app gurus Lachlan Hardy and Nick Hodge!


Registering Is Easy...

    As the prize for TechEd Australia 2013 is an over 18 prize, we will need to restrict the age of entrants.


There will be six rounds for entries (we're now in round 6) and we’ll be selecting a finalist for each round based on app potential, design, uniqueness of idea, and audience appeal.

Your entry can be a new app idea, or as mentioned, ported from another platform such as Android or iOS.

However, it must be the first time the submitted app has been published to Windows Store.

The good news: You can submit as many apps as you like! Full terms and conditions here.


How To Craft A Strong User Experience

Technical design guru Shane Morris is the Creative Director at Automatic Studio, one of the final judges in this comp and all round good guy. He’s built Windows mobile apps for Qantas, NAB and Dimmi plus Windows 8 touch-enabled apps for Westpac, Webjet and NineMSN’s Jump-In.
Less is more, explains Shane: “Avoid the temptation to cram more features into your app assuming that will make it more popular. In our experience, an app that has a limited set of options, and does so with confidence, tends to be more appealing.”
“And if you’re not a confident designer, don’t get too ambitious too early. Stick to the Windows design language templates. If users open your app and see consistent styling and navigation, they’ll immediately be much more willing to explore.
“Navigation style is key to crafting an authentic app experience. Games can be different, but for regular apps – don’t be fooled that designing for Windows is just typography, white space and blocks of colour. There are helpful Windows 8 and Windows Phone guides on MSDN.

7 Great Tips for Sumitting Windows Store Apps

1. If you haven’t already done so, then register on Windows Store now. If appropriate, personal registrations are easier with less verification needed than a company registration.
2. Keep initial feature set simple and quality high, especially if this is your first app; you can always add additional features in future updates.
3. Read this "Preparing your App for Store Submission"
4. Ensure you have installed the latest Windows App Certification Kit (WACK) and other SDKs from Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows 8.
5. Ensure you run the "Windows App Certification Kit" tool before submitting your app to the Store.
6. Read the Windows App Store Guide. And read the "Avoiding common certification failures"
7. Allow time for you app to go through the App certification process. May take 5 to 7 working days.


Check Out These Great Prizes!

The finalist from each round will win an awesome HP ENVY X2 convertible ultrabook valued at $999 RRP and an $80 RRP Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse. One runner-up in each round will also receive an Xbox 360 4GB Kinect bundle (worth $300 RRP), an Arc Touch Mouse, plus a Microsoft Wedge Mobile keyboard valued at $100 RRP .

Note: The finalist from each round moves into final judging for the major prize; the runner-up does not.

The major prize: is a trip to TechEd Australia 2013, including the opportunity to present the winning app! We're talking conference ticket, accommodation for 5 nights, and airfare (economy) up to the combined value of $4000! Not bad, right?


Judging & Rules

Judging each round's entries will be Lifehacker's Chris Jager and Microsoft Australia app guru Lachlan Hardy. The major prize will be judged by a panel including Lachlan, Lifehacker editor Angus Kidman, in addition to Vaughan Knight from Nokia, Shane Morris from Automatic Studios and Tom Frazier from HotHouse Interactive. The app must still be in the store to be judged on popularity, downloads, design, and innovation.

Your entry can be a new app idea, or as mentioned, ported from another platform such as Android or iOS.

However, it must be the first time the submitted app has been published to Windows Store.

The good news: You can submit as many apps you like! Full terms and conditions here.


Entry Deadlines

Round 6 — NO theme — submit any app you like!: 9:30am AEDT Friday 10 May to 11.59pm AEDT Monday 20 May.


Helpful Online Resources

LaLaNinja Developer Community: lalaninja.com.au

Windows 8: w8.msdeveloper.com.au

Windows Phone: wp.msdeveloper.com.au

Azure: azure.msdeveloper.com.au

Virtual #Appfest If you’re still looking for help to get an app finished and into the store for publication, then check out Virtual #Appfest for an extra helping hand. It's a two-hour open virtual session, that allows you to ask all the questions you want to ask, leap any coding hurdles, and get your app published.

The Virtual #Appfest will be a weekly event, so check LaLaNinja for scheduling. The first event on Tuesday 12 March will be led by Nick Hodge, and will feature two platforms in two hours.


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