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Peter Goodman

A developer living in Auckland building software using all sorts of bits and pieces I find along the way. Originally from Northern Ireland.

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I thought I should document the experience I have had in getting an app submitted to the Windows Store. I guess this process is new but the pains in getting an app submitted can be quite extraordinary.

October 18th 2012

Created developer account.
Some issues with entering the account details of my credit card.
Used a different card, all good.

October 19th 2012 (1 Day)

Submitted the app I had been working on. Sweet! (It’s not my best work, I’m not normally a UI guy but I like to try to challenge myself and someone might find it useful, pay me for the advanced features, I dunno)

Uh-Oh. Stuck on first step as I need to verify my account details. This involves getting a code from a temporary “holding” charge on my credit card account.

No worries, lets just check the account, Hmmmm 6 charges on my account instead of one, at least they’ll all be refunded eh? Now, which one to choose…lets start at the latest one….
Second?….
(Some time later)
Ok one more attempt I am told and then I’ll be locked out of verification, lets choose the last one….
Ok. No more attempts and I am locked out of ever verifying without help from support.
From outside the U.S. you can only contact support by email or online chat if within U.S. working hours.
Lets try the online chat, Chat window opens, I am told that I am chatting with …for the sake of anonymity lets call him Dave.
Dave…Dave?

Some time passes, I try reconnecting to chat, 2 different browsers, I even get dressed go to work logon there and I still get Dave, and Dave is still not answering. What gives Dave? I assume Dave is doing something with hookers, hotel rooms and cocaine. I need to stop watching TV.

October 20th 2012 (2 Days)

I email support using the online form. I tell them that I have no more attempts to verify and therefore I cannot verify my account via the dashboard.

October 21st 2012 (3 Days)

Get a reply from support. They confirm that I need to verify my account via the dashboard. sigh. They did also say that I could send them my statement. Ok, slightly worried about security but what the hell…

October 23rd 2012 (5 Days)

Must have been a busy day on the 22nd. I send my credit card statement to MS support. I consider censoring the iTunes app charges to save their feelings but think better of it in case they think its porn.

October 25th 2012 (7 Days)

I don’t have a reply yet but I realise that I now have a 7th charge on my credit card that has been reimbursed immediately but the first 6 charges have not been reimbursed yet. Oh well, maybe I’ll get shares.

October 30th 2012 (12 Days)

Try the chat again, get through to, let’s call him Bob. Bob has a look and confirms that there is a problem with their end, he will chase it up for me. Sweet! Progress!

October 31st 2012 (13 Days)

Get a reply from support, Bob’s done the job and inserted the boot in the posterior, GO BOB!! Support ask me to clear my browser cache and try again. I get flashbacks of my days in Dell tech support, asking people to reboot their machines as it took roughly the same time then as smoking a cigarette and getting a curly wurly from the vending machine.

November 1st 2012 (14 Days)

Reply from support! Should now be solved. Click the link and be on your merry way young traveller!

Reply from me: Nope. Same error message. Tried 2 browsers, reformatted my machine and reinstalled windows.

Not that I thought it was necessary to reformat, it was due for a clean anyways, besides it put the browser cache thing to bed in a suitably drastic way.

November 6th 2012 (19 Days)

I send a prompting email asking for details on what is happening. My tone is starting to change in an attempt to invoke some empathy. You know that tone that you use when you think you are hard done by but you realise that being a dick about it is more likely to cost you, like, “I’m sure you can understand how frustrating this could be….”. I like to pretend at this point that I’m wearing a suit, leaning on a counter with my elbow and making circular movements with the stems of my glasses. I wish I wore glasses, I think I could really use the new injection of body language expressions effectively.

Reply from support, “I have a team looking into the matter”. Looks like the glasses did the trick!

Another reply from support (definitely the glasses). Try again, team says we’re good.

Reply from me: “Nope, still the same”. There may have been some desperate blubbering tone in this email. I think I’d just watched Ghost or something.

November 7th 2012 (20 Days)

Reply from support: “Thanks for letting us know…..we’ll keep you posted”

November 14th 2012 (27 Days)

I try again just for the shizzles and the gizzles and Bam! It now works!! I can proceed!

I send them an email to tell them that they resolved it and that they still haven’t reimbursed me for the 6 credit card charges.

November 20th 2012 (33 Days)

App failed submission. Needs a privacy policy and it crashed at some point apparently.

I add a privacy policy and fix some bugs that may have caused issues if the user performed a certain action inside the app. I resubmit my app.


November 21st 2012 (34 Days)

Quick response from certification. Failed again. I wonder why it was so fast this time, is it like getting a recheck on your car warrant? Anyhoo, now the problem is just that it crashed.

The thing is, there is only a PDF file attached to the dashboard notice with a bunch of placeholders for screenshots, all of which are blank. I find some testers notes that say:

”B:: This app stopped responding during the review and we couldn't complete the review of it.”

Ignoring the fact this guy has the coolest name ever, I could be mean and deconstruct the grammar here but the real tragedy is the lack of info. I mean when? on what hardware? what were you doing at the time? Did you try shaking it?

November 22nd 2012 (35 Days)

(I can’t believe you’re still reading this, well done, it gets a little better but you could just cut your losses if you’re about to miss the insult-boo/compliment-cheer roulette part of tonight’s X-Factor)

I use the online chat to ask Windows Store support folks about the lack of detail. This time I get……Brock. Brock tells me that he’ll have a look. Brock then stops talking and/or responding.

I reconnect my chat and get Randy (It’s really hard to pick a mildly amusing name without appearing culturally or racially offensive). I tell Randy everything again and he tells me that Brock’s machine crashed. I jokingly suggest it was my app, but he quite seriously reassures me that it isn’t. I guess irony is tough on chat rooms.

While chatting to Randy we figure out that the PDF certification report is trying to tell me that the app crashed on launch, that is why it failed. Randy tells me to contact technical support now as there is nothing he can do. Oh, and apparently you pay for tech support but they may not charge me and that most developers are entitled to a free issue or two.

November 25th 2012 (38 Days)

I try to raise a tech support request call using the website, after picking a bunch of filters you are told that they will charge you $259.00 per issue. I start filling out the form, telling them that I want my free issue please otherwise I’m not interested. I mean $259.00 for an event log entry seems a bit steep.

On submitting the form I am told my session has expired and I have to login again. Twice. Aghhhh!!!!! The session timeout I have estimated is around 3 minutes. I use notepad as my word processor and copy and paste as my close close friends to get around this limitation. Don’t get me wrong, I can type fast, I just change my mind often. You know, you start with mother-goat comparison insults, proof-read it, think better of it then work you way down through the Monty Python lexicon of mild insults until gradually you think that you are being relatively polite and constructive.

Next stage in the tech support issue raising dance workflow is verifying your payment method. This is a basic address verification.

I fill in my street address.

It asks me for a U.S. State. Hmmmm, lets just change the country. Wait, What? I can’t change the country. Ok, lets pick Alabama, its fun to say. Nope rejected, can’t complete the form, can’t submit a tech support support request.

Game over. Back to the forums for some witty repartee.

December 6th 2012 (49 Days)

Reimbursed for 6 erroneous charges. Thank you to the support team. I can’t say enough about how helpful they have been in the recent emails.

In the mean time I have also learned that the support team have no access to the testers. I can only assume there must be a backlog of apps to fail and they don’t want the testers disturbed by trivial things like questions about why apps fail.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that a large vector based map of the world (Yes, I know) in the background of my app could affect startup perf although I don’t really see it on a Surface RT or Intel machine.I’ve removed it and resubmitted the app. Here’s hoping…

To be continued….