Microsoft addresses third-party and legacy distribution in Windows 10

Kit McDonald

The Windows App Team have released the third blog of their newest Dev Center Tip series. The first two articles focused on publishing public releases and uploading a package for a limited audience through package flighting. Keeping with the theme, the post released today goes into the distribution of applications through alternate means such as older versions of Windows Phones or using a distributor system.

Developers often use alternative systems to upload their applications to release limited beta versions to a group of users for feedback. Hockey App is a grand example of one of these means of publishing. Setting up a version through the HockeyApp dashboard, the app is still compatible with Windows and other mobile operating systems. This availability makes it a prime idea for comparing and developing for multiple platforms.

With some applications, developers choose to limit their audience to specifically Windows Phone 8.x users. Using older versions isn’t recommended, but it is supported currently. In fact, the blog makes note that for scenarios where most of the target audience is using the older versions, it would be wiser to use hidden apps instead.

It was at Build 2016 that we saw the goals of the Universal Windows Store, including growing and evolving distribution capabilities. The Windows App Team shared on their blog today that the team is already working on the plans for managing a more limited audience with application releases.

  • Create a new app that is only visible to and acquirable by a limited set of users.

  • Gradually roll out a package update by percentage of users eligible for the new version.

  • Enable one-click customer opt-in to betas.

According to the post, developers should be seeing some, if not all of these options coming out within the year. Curious about the Build video that explains the improvements in depth? Check it out on Channel 9.