Dev Center Tip #4 looks at sideloading and enterprise app distribution

Kareem Anderson

Windows Store for Business

As the Windows team gears up for another busy summer with the release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the group has taken some time to address the enterprise market it seemingly compartmentalized during the initial Windows 10 release in July of 2015.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is bringing a host of industry concessions and features, many of which are centralized around security and the Windows Store for Business. Even though the Windows team would like to funnel traffic through its more secure Windows Store for Business, the team understands the need for IT Pros and developers who have to distribute line-of-business (LOB) apps to their organizations.

For those who do, the Windows team has a tip on how to go about issuing those LOB’s and avoiding the Windows Store for Business in the process.

Sideloading packages is an effective way to rapidly manage deployment of an app to a small number of users. This is typically done during initial development of the app. It requires the users to get the package and sideload it to their devices.

To take advantage of sideloading, you create a package in Visual Studio, then share the physical package with your users on a thumb drive or fileshare. Only users who have put their Windows 10 devices in developer mode can sideload the app.

However, for those uninhibited by the Store process of distribution, the Windows team also walks through the steps to do so:

The organization must first sign up for the Windows Store for Business and set up an association with your developer account. You then submit a package in Dev Center as a line-of-business app for the organization’s exclusive use. The IT manager in the organization distributes the packages internally via the organization’s private store.

As the packages for your line-of-business app don’t go to the public Windows Store, there are no public-facing listing pages, which preserves the confidentiality of the app.

IT Pro’s and Developers in charge of app distribution for their companies can be assured that the Windows 10 Anniversary update will afford them several methods for getting the job done, efficiently and securely. The Windows team has also been offering several other tips regarding publishing to the Windows Store, Package flighting and third-party and legacy distribution options, on its Building Apps for Windows Blog.