UA (Universal Apps) with Web App Bridge and publishing to Windows Store

Well that was easy. I liked being able to pin my favourite website to the windows 10 start menu, but it never really felt like an app. With the UA Web Bridge, I was able (without any development), to create a universal app that wraps my website into a package such that it can be installed on windows 10 devices (desktop or phone). I won’t go through the steps here because there are plenty of other places you can follow that, like the video here. Obviously the app doesn’t work like my mobile specific version which has offline capability – this was just a proof of concept.

Submission to the Windows store was easy, the SDK comes with a tool to do the verification checks to make sure your app has everything it needs and won’t misbehave (in my case this is just a hosted web app so not much to go wrong there). Once the UA package has been built for distribution, you submit via the portal, making sure to have all the right image data and commentary to support the manual verification and store presentation. The review process was reasonably transparent, there were 4 steps, and it shows you which step you’re on and roughly how long each step should take. The app was approved within about 4 hours, and within 24 hours it’s appearing in the search within the store for download.

Now the app feels like a real one, in fact you can’t tell that it’s not a web app – it’s installed and available through the start menu tile, and runs up with a splash screen, appears in the task manager, runs independently from my browser instances and other apps… Couldn’t believe how simple the whole process was. Next step, to re-do the mobile version and add live tiles, push notifications… when I’ve got some spare time perhaps!